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News2011March › New airport x-ray scanners increase cancer risk › March 2011

New airport x-ray scanners increase cancer risk

The new security whole-body scanners being installed at airports increase the risk of cancer for passengers, experts say

The new security whole-body scanners being installed at airports increase the risk of cancer for passengers, experts say.
The scanners use x-rays and expose passengers to low levels of ionizing radiation, say the experts from Columbia University Medical Center in New York. The new scanners will scan around 1 billion people a year, and this will increase the risk of cancer.
Although the risk is slight, it exists, and the scanners should not be used for routine scanning, but should be deployed only at times of raised security risks, they recommend.
Frequent flyers and airline crew are at heightened risk, although infrequent passengers should not be overly worried.
(Source: Radiology, 2011; 259: 6-10).


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