The radiation doses emitted by the most common walk-through airport scanners are extremely small and pose no significant health risk, according to a new report by a UC San Francisco radiology specialist.
Still, Dr. Rebecca Smith-Bindman, a professor at the university's radiology and biomedical imaging department, recommends more independent testing to ensure the scanners are operating as designed.
The report published Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine comes in response to opposition from privacy rights groups such as the Electronic Privacy Information Center to the use of full-body scanners. The devices use low levels of radiation to create what looks like nude images of passengers, which helps inspectors spot weapons or contraband hidden under clothes.
The U.S. Transportation Security Administration has installed more than 500 scanners at 78 airports. A little more than half of the units use X-rays, while the rest use radio waves to create the images.