Wednesday, June 30th, 2010
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The Daily Mail
June 30, 2010
Full body scanners at airports could increase your risk of skin cancer, experts warn.
The X-ray machines have been brought in at Manchester, Gatwick and Heathrow.
But scientists say radiation from the scanners has been underestimated and could be particularly risky for children.
They say that the low level beam does deliver a small dose of radiation to the body but because the beam concentrates on the skin – one of the most radiation-sensitive organs of the human body – that dose may be up to 20 times higher than first estimated.
Dr David Brenner, head of Columbia University’s centre for radiological research, said although the danger posed to the individual passenger is ‘very low’, he is urging researchers to carry out more tests on the device to look at the way it affects specific groups who could be more sensitive to radiation.
He says children and passengers with gene mutations – around one in 20 of the population – are more at risk as they are less able to repair X-ray damage to their DNA.