AW: [ RadSafe ] Airport X-ray body scanners

Rainer.Facius at Rainer.Facius at
Thu Jul 10 09:31:25 CDT 2008


assuming that the quoted 30 nSv is an equivalent organ dose to the skin and given the reported range of X-rays less than one cm its contribution to effective dose and hence total effective dose would be 300 pSv.

Regards, Rainer 

-----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
Von: Facius, Rainer 
Gesendet: Donnerstag, 10. Juli 2008 15:58
An: 'Bjorn Cedervall'; radsafe at
Betreff: AW: [ RadSafe ] Airport X-ray body scanners


in a radsafe thread 

"RE: [ RadSafe ] airport scanners at Heathrow" , sent Do 11.05.2006 19:59,

dealing with "new airport body scanners", Kim McMAHAN, ORNL External Dosimetry, (mcmahankl at, quoted a manufacturer with a dose to an individual of 30 nSv per scan which might be compared to the variability of the natural background dose rate between 70 and 100 nSv/h in our area.

Notwithstanding your plea, I cannot refrain from noting that your argument depends on the premise that there is a risk associated with such an exposure. Otherwise it would be pointless. If you know reasons to assume this, please share them. 

Your condition "This risk must reasonably be so low that it would be far below any statistical detection level" is surely met in any case.

Kind regards, Rainer 

Dr. Rainer Facius
German Aerospace Center
Institute of Aerospace Medicine
Linder Hoehe
51147 Koeln
Voice: +49 2203 601 3147 or 3150
FAX:   +49 2203 61970

-----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
Von: radsafe-bounces at [mailto:radsafe-bounces at] Im Auftrag von Bjorn Cedervall
Gesendet: Donnerstag, 10. Juli 2008 07:41
An: radsafe at
Betreff: [ RadSafe ] Airport X-ray body scanners

I wonder if anyone could comment the dose to skin as well as effective dose from the new airport scanners.
I understand that the doses are low but I reflect over the exposure of a large number of people (each one receiving a very small risk) to a dose they didn't ask for - in particular children and pregnant women. I see a parallel with being passively exposed to smoking - the extra risk is very low but it is an ethical issue -what right does someone have to expose someone else to a small extra cancer risk?
This risk must reasonably be so low that it would be far below any statistical detection level and we could of course never even know how small that risk can be expected to be (I do not mean to start up another LNT debate which we already had dozens of at Radsafers so please save us from another one of those).
Another side of the issue is of course the much larger risk of some statistical terrorist action but this is my topic above is not about that which is a separate discussion.
My personal reflection only,
Bjorn Cedervall        bcradsafers at
The major attention seems to be about "revealing body parts" etc (one of our Swedish sensational newspapers recently had a headline saying something like "the nudity scanner" which is along with their general entertainment agenda).
It's a talkathon - but it's not just talk.
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