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New x-ray scanners at airports could cause breast cancer, leading scientists warn

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Four of the world’s leading scientists are calling for an urgent review of x-ray security scanners at airports because of health risks. The scanners could even trigger breast cancer, they warn in a high-level letter to the White House.
The health risks are so real – and could affect every air passenger – that they may well outweigh any potential benefits from increased detection of terrorists, they say in a report to Dr John Holdren, President Obama’s science and technology chief of staff.
The scientists – all senior lecturers at the University of California at San Francisco, including Dr Marc Shuman, a world-renowned cancer expert, and Dr John Sedat, a professor emeritus in biochemistry and biophysics – want an impartial review of whole-body scanners that are being introduced in airports around the world.
They fear that the health risks have not been properly assessed, especially among more vulnerable passengers, such as the elderly, the very young, pregnant women and people who have compromised immune systems.
Health risks escalate if the scanner is not functioning properly. It emits an intense x-ray beam as it scans the whole body in a few seconds – but, the scientists ask, what happens if there is a slight glitch and the device delivers an intense radiation dose to a single area?
(Source: Letter to Dr John Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology).

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Article Topics: airports, breast, cause, could, scanners, x-ray
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