New airport x-ray machines could pose cancer risk

Thirteen years ago, a panel of radiation safety experts convened by the Food and Drug Administration gathered at a hotel in Maryland to test a new device – the Secure 1000 – that could detect hidden weapons and contraband by beaming X-rays at people to see beneath their clothing.

The experts agreed this device shouldn’t be in general use as it violated the longstanding principle in radiation safety that humans shouldn’t be X-rayed unless there is a medical benefit. The machine’s inventor assured the group that since only 20 machines were currently in use, it probably wouldn’t see widespread use anytime soon.

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