Are There Radiation Risks from Airport Scanners?

airport.jpgBody scanners are now in place in more than 50 airports across the US and over the next few months, will be in place in more airports nationwide. There has been much controversy over these scanners, ranging from privacy concerns to the convenience factor. However, there is one issue that Indiana personal injury lawyers believe has not been addressed enough, and that’s the health impact of the scanners.

The biggest health concerns about the scanners relate to the amount of radiation that they emit. The problem is that there is very little solid information about the volumes of radiation we are talking about here. That’s because it seems to be only the manufacturers who know how much radiation the scanners are programmed to emit during a typical body scan, and the companies inform us that the amount is very low. That doesn’t really help assure us.

Another valid concern is about a possible malfunction of the scanners. An even worse situation would be a malfunction that goes unnoticed, in the same manner that faulty programming of radiation devices at several hospitals in California and around the country led to massive radiation dosages. Because there is no precedent for such widespread use of radiation scanners, except maybe in prisons, we have very little information to go with. It is a frightening scenario, and unfortunately, there aren’t too many answers forthcoming from the manufacturers of the scanners.

There’s more reason to be wary about these scanners. The Transportation Security Administration reassures Americans that the devices have been tested adequately by the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health and other federal agencies, as well as the John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. However, these tests only involve testing whether the amount of radiation that is emitted meets guidelines set by – wait for this – committees that include scanner manufacturers as their members.

It’s far too much like foxes guarding the henhouse, for us to feel comfortable about this. We wish the Transportation Security Administration had studied not just the national security impact, but also the health of Americans before they put these plans into effect.