Can you feel the heat, TSA?
After Europe announced that it is banning airport “strip-search” X-rays over health concerns, calls for the TSA to follow suit have gained even more strength, the Daily Mail reports.
Officials from the European Union fear that the X-ray scanners, which emit low-radiation doses, could cause cancer in air passengers. And with millions of people going through the scanners every year, the health risks are a serious consideration. In fact, research shows that up to 100 U.S. passengers could get cancer from the scanners every year.
Although TSA has been especially enthusiastic about the advanced scanners, fears about the health risks they pose were raised as far back as 1998. Then, a panel of radiation safety experts “expressed concerns about the machine because it violated a longstanding principle that humans should not be X-rayed unless there is a medical purpose.”
But TSA has always maintained that the scanners are safe and, in terms of radiation exposure, equivalent to about two minutes of flight time. Besides, the group says, the scanners detect security threats that would otherwise go unnoticed.
Around 250 X-ray scanners and 264-milimeter-wave scanners are currently used in America’s airports, according to ProPublica.