FDA says airport body scanners pose no health risks

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Soon enough, ‘twill be the season to be traveling, and though we may continue to worry about whether or not we remembered to pack a toothbrush, there’s one thing that we absolutely don’t have to fret over: bodily harm from “backscatter X-ray” body scanners at airports. According to a consumer update released by the FDA yesterday, this new technology meets federal safety standards and delivers an amount of radiation equivalent to four minutes of flight time.

FDA engineer Daniel Kassiday reassures commuters and says, “The dose from one screening with a general-use X-ray security-screening system is so low that it presents an extremely small risk to any individual.”

On its website, the FDA further notes that “a person would have to be screened more than a thousand times in one year in order to exceed the annual radiation dose limit for people-screening that has been set by expert radiation-safety organizations.”

“And those dose limits are extraordinarily conservative anyway,” adds ACSH's Dr. Elizabeth Whelan.