Unfortunately, airport scanners are a real threat to your health. The back-scatter airport scanners use x-rays also called ionizing radiation. And no amount of ionizing radiation is safe. None. You do not want to expose yourself to radiation unless it is medically necessary. Every bit of exposure you get in your lifetime is cumulative, and the more you get the more likely you will suffer consequences from this exposure.
What are the Potential Problems?
We know ionizing radiation causes damage that can lead to cancer. Preliminary research suggests that the low dose radiation from these back scatter ionizing radiation machines concentrates on the skin, and could put you at particular risk for skin cancer. However, adequate research has not been done. If there are increases in cancer, they will most likely occur decades in the future. Will an association even be made at that point? Are you willing to take the risk?
Who is Most at Risk?
Children and pregnant women are particularly at risk, and should never be asked to go through these scanners. The chronically ill and immune suppressed are also at higher risk as well as people with gene mutations (around 1 in 20 people in the population) because they are less able to repair x-ray damage to their DNA.
What Should You Do?
You should ALWAYS refuse to be scanned. Although the system is set up to discourage people from making this choice, it is still within your rights to refuse to be scanned. All you have to do is simply ask to â€œopt outâ€.Â You will be given a pat down type screening instead.Â It takes very little extra time, and is quite simple.
There is no other technology that exposes such an enormous number of individuals to x-rays. This is unprecedented in the radiation world.Â We know for fact that radiation increases the risk of cancer. Why even take a chance?