Body scanners have ‘mutagenic effects’

A Californian university professor of biochemistry said the Obama administration’s claim that full-body scanners pose no health risks to air travellers is in “error”.

The administration’s defence of the controversial machines, which use x-rays to perform what critics have dubbed naked strip searches, has “many misconceptions, and we will write a careful answer pointing out their errors”, said John Sedat, a University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) professor of biochemistry and biophysics and member of the National Academy of Sciences.

“Because four people are working on this, it will not be done in one day,” Sedat said.

The scanners are being mulled by Australian officials and safety assessments will be conducted by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency.

Earlier this week, the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy posted a statement saying the x-ray scans are safe because “the issue had been studied extensively for many years” by federal agencies.

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