– DHS’ X-ray scanners could be cancer risk to border crossers (CNET News, Jan. 12, 2012):
Even though a public outcry has prompted Homeland Security to move away from adding X-ray machines to airports–it purchased 300 body scanners last year that used alternative technology instead–it appears to be embracing them at U.S.-Mexico land border crossings as an efficient way to detect drugs, currency, and explosives.
A 63-page set of specifications (PDF), heavily redacted, obtained by the Electronic Privacy Information Center through the Freedom of Information Act, says the scanners must “be based on X-Ray or gamma technology,” which use potentially dangerous ionizing radiation at high energies, and “shall be capable of scanning cars, SUVs, motorcycles and busses.”
“Society will pay a huge price in cancer because of this,” John Sedat, professor of biochemistry and biophysics at the University of California at San Francisco, told CNET. Sedat has raised concerns about the health risks of X-ray scanners, and the European Commission in November prohibited their use in European airports.