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Docs Say No to Airport Scans

 By Edward Martin 

The feds claim airport scanners pose little to no risk when used properly, and a new study backs them up.

Almost.

Researchers from U.C. San Francisco say the amount of radiation delivered by the airport scanners is equivalent to the normal background radiation absorbed by the body in any given three-to-nine-minute period.

But the researchers also wrote in the Archives of Internal Medicine that they have no idea what could happen if the machines aren’t working right–and since the feds refuse to allow thorough independent testing, don’t expect any answers on that anytime soon.

And when you consider that the feds can’t even keep air traffic controllers awake, you just have to wonder how we can possibly rely on them to make sure these precision devices are calibrated and functioning properly amidst heavy daily use.

They can’t even agree on who’s responsible for scanner safety!

Last year, the TSA claimed that the Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Army Public Health Command, the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory and the Health Physics Society would all play a role in ensuring the safety of the machines.

But when AOL News contacted those agencies, they all denied responsibility.

It’s enough to make even the most trusting traveler think twice before stepping inside a full-body scanner–and if you’re one of them, you’re not alone. Some leading doctors and cancer experts say there’s no way in heck they’ll get zapped.

“USA Today did a piece on how badly TSA maintained their X-ray equipment for carryon bags, and this gave me little confidence,” Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, told CNN.com.

Dr. Brawley is hardly a radical–and the American Cancer Society is not exactly known for taking extreme positions (although I’d be thrilled if they did).

And he’s not the only one there who won’t get scanned.

“This is a total body scan–not a dental or chest X-ray,” Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, the organization’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer, told the news network. “Total body radiation is not something I find very comforting based on my medical knowledge.”

And that’s the real concern–because even if the machines are functioning properly and delivering only the “very low” levels of radiation detected in the new study, that doesn’t make them safe.

All the research in the world won’t change the fact that any radiation has the potential can increase your cancer risk–and that means the only safe levels of exposure are none at all.