Answer to Question #10084 Submitted to "Ask the Experts"
Category: Security Screening
The following question was answered by an expert in the appropriate field:
Many x-ray scanning systems for passenger-occupied vehicles and cars are in use. What is the average radiation dose per scan from these scanners? What is the risk of cancer due to these scans? Is it justified to use these scanners to secure high-profile buildings?
The average radiation dose per scan to a person sitting in a vehicle that passes through one of the vehicle scanners would be about 0.05 µSv per scan. This is far below the level of radiation exposure that is known to cause cancer or any other health effect. The 0.05 µSv per scan is about 1/100,000th of the radiation dose that individuals receive each year from background radiation exposure.
As for the justification for this use, the Health Physics Society (HPS) has a position statement on the topic of using ionizing radiation on humans for security screening and believes that it is a justified practice if certain criteria are met. You can read that position statement on the HPS website.
Certified Medical Health Physicist