True to form, the E.U. continues down the path of hyper-caution and decided Monday to ban the use of X-ray body scanners in all European airports “in order not to risk jeopardizing citizens’ health and safety,” the European Commission stated.
Though the amount of radiation that a person in an X-ray scanner would receive is equivalent to the amount of radiation exposure from just a few minutes of flying time, the E.U. has decided that the added security such scanners provide would not be worth the small number (“likely zero,” says ACSH’s Dr. Gilbert Ross) of cancer cases that might result after scanning hundreds of millions of passengers per year. To which Dr. Bloom responds, “I’ll take my chances.”
Dr. Ross is also bewildered by the Commission’s logic — or, rather, lack thereof. “Don’t most flights take longer than just a few minutes?” he asks. ”So these scanners actually add probably one-billionth of the dose of radiation compared to the amount received from air travel.” Why, then, has the E.U. decided to ban the use of the X-ray scanners anyway? “Well, it’s for the same reason that they have a moratorium on genetically modified foods and ban the use of effective tobacco harm reduction products: to ‘protect’ the population’s health and well-being, of course,” Dr. Ross wryly observes.