The author of the book The Lucky Years: How to Thrive in the Brave New World of Health, Doctor David B. Agus, warns that walking through full body scanners at airports may increase the risk of cancer.
Agus is a physician who strongly opposes the use of X-ray scanners at the airports because he believes that the radiation that they emit can leave harmful long-term effects on those who walk through them.
“In the 1960s, when everybody went to a shoe store they’d put a little box on the ground and you’d put your foot in an x-ray to see if the shoe would fit or not,” said Agus for the CBS “Well, what do you know, they all got cancer in (their) legs when they did that because they were exposed to radiation.”
He advises on requesting a full body-search to avoid the scanners.
“In those airports, they’re putting energy through you. We don’t have a lot of long-term outcome data and it’s all new. I’m not a believer in technologies like that,” Agus said. “I get a free massage. I get a pat down when I go through and I opt out. I’m not comfortable without data. It’s worth it in the long run.”
Dr. Agus is not the only one who believes that the scanners are bad for the health. In fact, in 2011 the European Union banned the use of X-ray body scanners in all European airports, citing health and safety risks as the reason.
The reason why there are such controversies concerning these scanners is because they use ionized radiation technology, and enough radiation is emitted from X-rays to change and even damage the body’s cells, which can lead to an increased risk of cancer.
According to many experts who are against X-ray scanners, between 6 and 100 airline passengers could develop cancer due to these machines every year.
In 1998, Steven W. Smith, the inventor of this machine has assured panelists who were evaluating its safety that the general public would not be exposed to X-ray technology.
“The places I think you are not going to see these in the next five years is lower-security facilities, particularly power plants, embassies, courthouses, airports and governments,” Smith told the panelists. “I would be extremely surprised in the next five to 10 years if the Secure 1000 is sold to any of these.”