Are TSA Scanners Likely To Cause Cancer In Travelers?

A Columbia University radiation expert says the Transportation Security Administration’s airport body scans are “likely” to cause cancer in some passengers. The expert also said Department of Homeland Security-commissioned research, which found that the exposure to radiation is minimal, is suspect because it has not been peer reviewed.

WorldNetDaily reports the expert, from Columbia’s Center for Radiological Research harshly condemns the body scanners, citing a peer-reviewed paper that was published in October in the Oxford Journal of Radiation Protection Dosimetry:

“If most air travelers went through these X-ray scanners, then it is indeed quite likely that there would be some number of cancers produced by the radiation,” he concluded.

“Skin cancers are a particular concern, because the low-energy X-rays used in these scanners deposit a significant fraction of their total dose in the skin,” he said. “In general, children are more sensitive than adults to radiation, and that’s true for the endpoint of radiation-related skin cancer too.”

However, he does say the risk of going through the scanner once is “minuscule.”

And even the peer-reviewed study the expert cites for backup states that “calculated effective doses are well below doses associated with health effects.”

Scientists at UC-San Francisco have reportedly written the White House, saying that “There is good reason to believe that these scanners will increase the risk of cancer to children and other vulnerable populations” and “that the potential health consequences need to be rigorously studied before these scanners are adopted.”

Americans ‘likely’ to get cancer from airport scanners [WND]


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