Johns Hopkins doctor on TSA scanners: ‘statistically someone is going to get skin cancer from these X-rays’

Despite what the TSA and Michael Chertoff say, the science is not settled on these machines.

Dr. David Brenner, head of the center for radiological research at Columbia University in New York, told the London Telegraph in a June 29 story that considering the large number of people who frequent the nation’s airports, wide-ranging exposure, even to minimal amounts of radiation, could add up to one big concern.

“If all 800 million people who use airports every year were screened with X-rays, then the very small individual risk multiplied by the large number of screened people might imply a potential public health or societal risk,” he said. “The population risk has the potential to be significant.”

Scientists with the University of California at San Francisco were so worried that they wrote a letter to the White House Office of Science and Technology in April raising “a number of red flags” on the scanners’ safety.

“While the dose would be safe if it were distributed throughout the volume of the entire body, the dose to the skin may be dangerously high,” the letter said in part, adding concerns that “independent safety data do not exist” and raising the potential for further harm if a high dosage was accidentally emitted.


An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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