Airport body scanners banned by EU over cancer fears

The European Union has banned the controversial airport body scanners over fears the X-ray technology could cause cancer, a media report said.

Experts have found the scanners send out low doses of radiation. A research says up to 100 American airline passengers could get cancer every year from the scanners.

The EU has told member countries not to install them until the potential risks are assessed, the Daily Mail reported.

In Britain, passengers are required to go through the scanners if asked.

Manchester airport, which has 16 machines, has been told it can continue using them for another year. If the passengers selected for scanning refuse to pass through the device, they are banned from flying. At least 10 people have been unable to board their flights after refusing the scan.

The body scanners were introduced after incidents like an attempted “underwear bombing” plot were revealed in 2009.

They were used at London’s Heathrow but discontinued amid complaints about invasion of privacy.

The scanners have also been tested in Germany, France, Italy, Finland and the Netherlands but will be completely banned in April next year.

The EU has ruled that only scanners which do not use X-ray technology are approved for use. The use is only allowed as long as the scanners do not store, copy, print or retrieve images.

In the US, the body scanners sparked a debate over security concerns versus travellers’ privacy when they were first brought in autumn 2010.

In February 2011, a trial of new “non-intrusive” body scanners began at Atlanta and Washington D.C. before they were rolled out permanently in July.

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