Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Health fear over radiation from new airport scanners

Health fear over new airport scanners
London Evening Standard

New X-Ray scanners at British airports could be exposing passengers to potentially dangerous levels of radiation, according to one senior radiologist.

The machines are designed to "strip search" passengers by using low-level X-Rays, which produce an image of their bodies, revealing whether they are secretly carrying weapons, explosives or illegal drugs.

But the scanners may not be safe for certain people, particularly children and women in the early stages of pregnancy, according to Dr Sarah Burnett, who works as an independent radiologist in London.

"It is illegal to expose people to any level of radiation without medical justification," said Dr Burnett, who raised her concerns after being asked to undergo a full-body scan at Luton Airport.

"So how is it that the Government is allowed to irradiate us willy-nilly at airports?

"I am particularly concerned about the potential effects on women in their first trimester of pregnancy.

"That is when the risks of the baby developing genetic abnormalities are highest because radiation exposure can damage the body's reproductive DNA."

Called the Rapiscan Secure 1000, the device looks like a big filing cabinet and fires a low-energy X-Ray beam over the body...

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