How much air travel do you do? One of the new technologies to protect the safety of air travelers includes the full-body scanners at airport security. However, this backscatter x-ray machine is getting widely divergent health safety reviews because it emits ionized radiation. Some medical sources report that the airport x-rays have enough energy to cause a DNA mutation that might trigger cancer. Airport x-ray machines were recently banned in Europe because of the potential health and safety risk for passengers. The U.S. Transportation Security Authority (TSA) maintains, however, that backscatter x-ray scanners emit such low levels of radiation (said to be equivalent to the radiation you’d get in about two minutes of flying) that any resulting increase in cancer risk would be negligible. In early November, the head of the TSA testified at a senate hearing that a new, independent study on the safety of x-ray body scanners would be done. But now there are indications that this will not be happening.
Issue: Are airport backscatter x-ray scanners safe?
Below are some web sources to assist you in researching this matter.
PRO Issue Link #1: Safety – Advanced Imaging Technology
Transportation Security Administration
PRO Issue Link #2: Airport Full-Body Screening: What Is the Risk? (6/27/11)
By Pratik Mehta, BA & Rebecca Smith-Bindman, MD
Archives of Internal Medicine
PRO Issue Link #3: Products for Security Screening of People – Risk/Benefits (12/23/10)
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
PRO Issue Link #4: Rapiscan Secure 1000® Series Safety Features (6/14/11)
CON Issue Link #1: New airport x-ray machines could pose cancer risk (11/2/11)
CON Issue Link #2: U.S. Government Glossed Over Cancer Concerns As It Rolled Out Airport X-Ray Scanners (11/1/11)
By Michael Grabell
ProPublica – Journalism in the Public Interest
CON Issue Link #3: TSA Attempts to Cover Up Cancer Threat From Its Airport X-ray Machines (11/29/11)
Alliance for Natural Health USA
CON Issue Link #4: Europe Bans Airport X-Ray Scanners. Should the U.S. Follow Suit? (11/21/11)
By Meredith Melnick
Time – Healthland
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