Although some people may feel uncomfortable with it, the safer way of making sure the person isn't carrying anything illegal is to just have strip searches. That way no radiation is emitted.
These scanners do emit radiation, although in very small amounts. Frequent flyers would get this dose of radiation fairly often; however, which could cause a health issue for them. Plus, children and smaller adults may also develop health problems as the radiation is not a small amount for them. Also, every little bit of radiation adds up, which means it could potentially cause a larger issue than previously thought.
The scanners we walk through in airports do present health risks, because anything that emits radiation is broadcasting the kind of energy that causes cancers and genetic mutations. Granted, the scanners are designed and operated to keep the levels of radiation at minuscule levels, so that millions can go through them plenty of times without developing any complications. But something 99% safe is still 1% dangerous.
The types of waves used are not as strong as medical X-rays. The waves used are high frequency radio waves. So far, radiologists have not said there is any risk, yet. However, I would still be careful with pregnant women and children.
Full-body scanners provide health risks to passengers attempting to enter airports. By subjecting people to these scanners, we are putting unnecessary stress on people. The anxiety that comes with being harassed by the TSA is a real health concern. High stress and anxiety can lead to a multitude of health issues, including, but not limited to, high blood pressure, mental health issues, depression, and a host of others.
To assume, no matter what a scientist may proclaim, that they know of every side effect of this system would be ignorant. The history of science has shown many times, and even recently, most notably with drugs manufacturers, that there can be a general consensus that a product is safe, only to find out a few years later that it may cause a range of ailments, including death.
Yes, full body scanners used by airport security could represent a health risk to all passengers because, even though it is a low-level dose of x-ray, it is still absorbed by the cells in your body and, over the long term, could cause health problems. Some people travel much more than others, so they are absorbing a higher level of radiation than others.
People do not take planes every day, and so are not subject to a full body scan every day. Therefore, with the exposure being so small, it cannot possibly represent any health risk. If one did conclude that full body scans constitute such a health risk, even with minimal exposure, then doctors would have to stop referring patients to scans that explore other potential medical issues.
X-ray damages DNA, period. This doesn't mean it will cause cancer, should you really subject yourself to additional risks? And do you really think your best source of information about the health risks are from the same body of people who are deploying them at airports?
To the commentor "No research has found health risks caused by full body scans." That's because there hasn't been any research! Research involves independent long term studies, not claims by those selling the devices. I have written an entire blog article discussing this and the naked body scanners. I encourage you to read it. http://theconsumerrant.blogspot.com/2010/11/naked-body-scanners.html
Full body scanners captures naked x-ray images of human body, and the scanners machine emit terahertz photons, which are high-frequency energy particles that pass through clothing and body tissue. These particles can damage body tissues. Again, no long-term safety testing and clinical trials has been conducted by a reliable third party, which could prove that they are safe to use and doesn't represent any health risk. It has also been reported in some research studies that the radiation of these full body scanners can also damage human DNA. So, full body scanners represents health risk.
I think full body scanners are a safe method to screen passengers and I also think it is a great way to find contraband that is far less intrusive than a cavity search or even a pat-down. Vanity is really the main cause for the brouhaha surrounding this, in my opinion. As long as there is a modicum of privacy given, this should be allowed. People aren't standing there with their bodies and all their flaws exposed for the world to see.
Research has been done to check into health risks for full body scans. This research has not discovered any serious health risks. Furthermore, the health risks prevented (the potential loss of life from a terrorist act), far outweigh any undiscovered potential problems. Until scientific evidence can be presented to the contrary full body scanners should be considered safe and secure.
There is apparently a very low level of radiation involved in these scans, and even frequently using them at the apart should not negatively effect someone's health or give them a higher risk of cancer. I think that the very minimal risk that these cause is very much justified by the positive effects that they can have on airport security.
Full-body scanners use something like x-rays to essentially take a picture of the human body and see what is beneath their clothes. A full-body scanner helps airports to protect their patrons. This scan is does not go as far into the skin of the human body as an x-ray which looks at bones. If x-rays are safe then a full-body scan is safe. Typically we feel more radiation from the sun in a day than from an x-ray or full-body scan. In the end we are more than safe and these scanners help to keep us safe from terrorist dangers.
The risk of full body scanners is not a risk of the health of the passenger. The risk is that a scanned body image is an invasion of privacy and a copy of the image could get into the wrong hands. This risk depends on the type of scanner and the privacy software installed.
I am doing a debate on this for school and I have found no evidence that they increase health risk. The radiation is just as much in Wi-fi devices, and you only walk through it for 10 seconds, so there is no harm to give you cancer or anything like that.
In response to TMacias. Frequent flyers have very little to worry about with the emotion of radiation. The biggest threat would be DVT (deep vein thrombosis) which is essentially a heightened risk of blood clots due to sitting in the same position for an extended period of time. The body scanning machines hardly emit enough radiation to affect the human body.
I disagree with this statement, because I have yet to read news articles or hear about the negative health risks associated with full-body scanners. As a person who travels often, I see people with pacemakers, and all sorts of metal in their body, traveling through these scanners, and they aren't complaining about it.
Passengers flying cross country will receive a larger dose of radiation during the flight, than they will during the scanning procedure, simply by flying higher in the atmosphere. There is no reason to fear machines, assuming they function properly, because we receive far more radiation from other sources on a daily basis.