Experts hit back at claims full-body airport scanners are ‘Safe’

Experts hit back at claims full-body airport scanners are 'Safe'

By Kate Schneider (

  • US Government claims scanners are safe

  • Scientists hit back at "misconceptions"

  • Concern remains about possible cancer link

EXPERTS have hit back at the US Government's claim that full-body scanners do not pose a health risk to air travellers.

Dr John Sedat, Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of California in San Francisco (UCSF), said a government statement supporting full-body x-ray safety had "many misconceptions”.

The statement from The White House’s Office of Science and Technology said the potential health risks from full-body screening “are minimal”.

Dr Sedat, and three of his UCSF colleagues, previously warned that radiation from the devices has been dangerously underestimated and could lead to an increased risk of skin cancer, particularly in children.

However Dr Sedat's claims were dismissed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Transport Security Administration (TSA).


“We are confident that full-body x-ray security products and practices do not pose a significant risk to the public health,” Dr John McCrohan, Deputy Director for Technical and Radiological Initiatives at the FDA said in response to Dr Sedat's concerns.

“An individual would have to receive more than 1000 screenings to begin to approach the annual effective dose limit for security screening of the general public.”

Mr Sedat says he is in the process of writing “a careful answer pointing out their (FDA) errors”.

Here are some of the key points of the debate between Dr Sedat and the US Government:

Scientists: “The dose of radiation delivered to the skin may be dangerously high”

Government: While it’s true that “the majority of the device’s energy is delivered to the skin and underlying tissue”, concern about dosage to the skin is not supported.

The dose to the skin from one screening “is at least 89,000 times lower than the recommended limit for annual dose to the skin for the general public”.

Scientists: “Real independent safety data do not exist”

Government: Independent measurements have been made on various versions of this product and all results are consistent with the dose specified by the manufacturer.”

Scientists: “If the key data were available it would be straightforward to accurately model the dose being deposited in the skin and adjacent tissued using available computer codes” ... continued


The full article, written by Kate Schneider ( can be read by clicking here