Europe Airport Scanners
November 18, 2011 by staff
Europe Airport Scanners, The European Commission has banned further trials of full-body X-ray scanners at airports, until the health risks are properly assessed.
Full-body ‘backscatter’ scanners – which use a low dose of radiation, much like medical x-rays to scan a person – will be tested to see if the technology poses a potential risk to human health.
Manchester airport, which has been trialling backscatter scanners since 2009 – has been given permission by the EC to continue with trials until November 2012 while tests are carried out.
But any further trials at airports across the EU’s 27 member states have been halted.
The US will continue to use the technology for passenger screening at its airports.
The European Commision’s health committee is expected to report its findings in March 2012.
The debate over the health risks
The UK Health Protection Agency has assessed the risk of backscatter body scanners. They say the radiation dose is equal or less than two minutes flying on a plane and that the scanners pose a “negligible” risk to human health.
A passenger would require more than 1,000 such scans in a year to reach a dose equal to one standard chest x-ray, the American College of Radiology (ACR) said in a statement last year.
A spokesperson for Manchester airport said: “It is irresponsible to suggest that because Europe has yet to complete its own health study, our passengers should be concerned.
“European legislation issued this week has approved millimetre wave, another form of body scanner technology, for permanent use at airports.
“While its study is under way, an extension of the trial of back scatter body scanners at Manchester airport has been approved by the European commission until November 2012.
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