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Effective Dose of Radiation From Airport Scanners Is Low

THURSDAY, July 4 (HealthDay News) -- The average effective dose of radiation from a single-pose, two-sided scan with an X-ray backscatter system used for screening airport passengers is about 11.1 nSv, according to a report published by the American Association of Physicists in Medicine.

Christopher H. Cagnon, Ph.D., from the University of California Los Angeles, and colleagues from AAPM Task Group 217 examined radiation exposure from the Rapiscan Secure 1000 SP X-ray backscatter system used by the Transportation Security Administration for screening airport passengers. Exposure output was measured across multiple scanners in the factory and real-time settings. Effective and organ dose calculations were conducted for passengers of different sizes.

According to the report, for each master or slave unit which together comprise a scanner, the average corrected air kerma measurement across the systems was 0.046 µGy. The effective dose from a single-pose, two-sided scan was determined as 11.1 nSv for a standard man of 178.6 cm (5'10") tall and weighing 73.2 kg (161.4 lbs).

"This report represents a wholly independent review of the X-ray scatter airport scanners and is the first we know of to look at multiple scanners including those in actual airport use," Cagnon said in a statement. "We think the most important single takeaway point for concerned passengers is to keep an appropriate perspective: 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."

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