Europe bans airport X-Ray scanners. Should the U.S.?

November 23, 2011


Europe Bans Airport X-Ray Scanners. Should the U.S. Follow Suit?

By Meredith Melnick
As millions of American travelers take to the airways this Thanksgiving, they will increasingly face the new generation of full-body scanners at airport security — including the kind that Europe just banned for reasons of “health and safety.”
In its new airport security policy, the European Commission announced on Nov. 14 that it would ban the controversial “backscatter” X-ray machines, which emit ionized radiation, from all airports in the European Union’s 27 member nations “in order not to risk jeopardizing citizens’ health and safety.”

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA), meanwhile, has rolled out about 250 backscatter X-ray machines across the country. It has also installed some 260 millimeter-wave scanners, which do the same job but use low-energy radio waves instead of X-rays. Millimeter-wave scanners are allowed at European airports.

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