The radiation exposure is extremely small, and the cancer risk has been called "truly trivial. Safe is a tricky, eye-of-the-beholder word and concept. If safe means absolutely zero risk, then the answer to the "Are they safe? But if safe means a very small increase in risk — so small that a reasonable person shouldn't be seriously concerned about it — then the answer seems to be yes, they are safe, according to a persuasive article published in in Archives of Internal Medicine. The federal agency in charge of airport security, the Transportation Security Administration TSA , started moving toward full-body scans for airplane passengers after Christmas Day , when a young Nigerian man tried to blow up a plane headed for Detroit with a bomb hidden in his underwear. There are two types of full-body scanners, millimeter-wave scanners and backscatter x-ray scanners.
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and that the TSA had research proposals to: bring full-body scanners to train stations, mass. The type of body scanner found at U.S. airports—called a millimeter-wave scanner—doesn't pose much of a cancer risk, health experts say.
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Since the incident onboard Northwest Airlines flight Christmas Day , there have been more and more full body scanners used in airports around the world. In Canada particularly, only one full-body scanner had been used prior to the incident, as part of the trial phase for this new technology.
But should travelers worry about them—or is the Transportation Security Administration TSA what they should be more concerned about? Over 51 pages of these documents have just been requested by the Electronic Privacy Information Center under the Freedom of Information Act. They cover a broad swath of issues, with the main issue being lack of full disclosure by the TSA. Most full-body scans essentially use electromagnetic radiations which are capable of penetrating through clothing but which bounce off flesh.