Airport Full-Body Scanners May Cause Skin Cancer

by: cancercompass

The TSA recently placed full-body scanners in many of the nation's airports. Privacy concerns aside, many people are worried about the health risks associated with these scanners.

"They say the risk is minimal, but statistically someone is going to get skin cancer from these X-rays," said Dr. Michael Love, who runs an X-ray lab at the department of biophysics and biophysical chemistry at Johns Hopkins University school of medicine, according to an Agence France Presse story.

Dr. David Brenner, head of the center for radiological research at Columbia University in New York, agrees with him.

"If all 800 million people who use airports every year were screened with X-rays, then the very small individual risk multiplied by the large number of screened people might imply a potential public health or societal risk. The population risk has the potential to be significant," Dr. Brenner told the London Telegraph.

Nicole Brochu of the Sun Sentinal reports that scientists at the University of California at San Francisco were so concerned about the potential health risks, they wrote a letter to the White House Office of Science and Technology raising their concerns.

"While the dose would be safe if it were distributed throughout the volume of the entire body, the dose to the skin may be dangerously high," the letter said.

The Office of Science and Technology responded, assuring them that the scanners met all the necessary safety standards and had been adequately tested.

What do you think? Will you skip the scanner and opt for a body search instead?

To learn more about the cancer featured in this post, please visit our skin cancer information page.