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In light of some inquiries regarding the safety of radiation exposure resulting from airport scanners, we are sending some information that you may want to share with your patient constituency.


Generally, there are two types of scanners currently used in the United States:

1.     Millimeter radio wave scanners (appears like a glass booth) – do not use x-rays

2.     Backscatter x-ray scanners (appears like two refrigerators) – use x-rays


The radiation dose from a single backscatter system is very low.  A single backscatter scan is equivalent to about 30 minutes of natural background radiation or about 4-5 minutes of air-travel. One needs to undergo 1,000 – 2,000 backscatter scans to receive the radiation dose equivalent to a single chest x-ray dose.


Thank you.


Keith Kerneklian

Legislative & Advocacy Manager

Academy of Radiology Research

Coalition for Imaging and Bioengineering Research

1029 Vermont Avenue NW, Suite 505

Washington, DC 20005

P: 202-347-5872

F: 202-347-5876