Updated 02 July 2014

Low radiation risk from airport scanners

The amount of radiation you're exposed to from airport scanners is extremely low, according to a new report.


The amount of radiation you're exposed to from airport scanners is extremely low, according to a new report.

People absorb less radiation while undergoing the scan than they do while waiting in line to be scanned, according to the report by an independent task force commissioned by the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM).

The investigators took readings from two full-body scanners in active use at Los Angeles International Airport, as well as seven other scanners that were not in active use. The scanners deliver a radiation dose equivalent to what a person typically receives every 1.8 minutes on the ground or every 12 seconds during an airplane flight.

This means that a person would have to receive more than 22 500 scans in a year to reach the standard maximum safe yearly dose of radiation determined by the American National Standards Institute and the Health Physics Society, the report said.

"We think the most important single take-away point for concerned passengers is to keep an appropriate perspective," report co-lead author Christopher Cagnon, chief of radiology physics at the UCLA Medical Center, said in an AAPM news release. "The effective radiation dose received by a passenger during screening is comparable to what that same passenger will receive in 12 seconds during the flight itself or from two minutes of natural radiation exposure."

Radon in the air, cosmic radiation from space and even the decay of potassium in the human body are some natural sources of radiation. Doses of radiation are greater in aircraft because at cruising altitude, there is less atmosphere to protect passengers and crew from cosmic radiation.

More information

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has more about radiation.

Copyright © 2015 HealthDay. All rights reserved.


Get a quote


Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

Up for grabs! »

To vape or not to vape? Twisp's new range of e-cigs Discover your Twisp

Win one of the 3 new devices from Twisp!

Now you can stand a chance of winning one of the 3 new devices, as well as flavours and accessories worth R2000 each!

Love your heart »

SA dying of heart disease Natural trans fats good for heart Heart probs and sex life

How old is your heart? Take this test

What's your heart age? Use the calculator to see the real age of your heart. Post your results in the comments!