London: 'Naked' body scanners, whose use has been debated world over for health and privacy concerns, may be introduced at all UK airports after an European Union study declared them to be safe.
Manchester Airport has been trialling the device, known as back scatter scanner, since 2009, but the European Commission halted new trials last year amid concerns there was a risk to passengers' health from high levels of radiation.
Now an EU study has decided that the risk from the scanners, which use X-rays to scan through clothing to produce images of passengers, is "close to zero" and no greater than other factors, the Daily Mail reported.
The report said the radiation from a single passenger scan is 'equivalent' to the natural background radiation received within an hour on the ground or during ten minutes on a
It added that the doses per scan were "well below the public dose limit", although the long-term effects, such as cancer risks, could not be dismissed entirely.
The European Commission is now expected to approve the technology and the scanners could be rolled out to other UK and European airports.
Extensive tests by the UK Health Protection Agency and US health authorities had already confirmed the scanners pose a negligible risk to human health.
But a report by Dr David Brenner, director of the Centre for Radiological Research at Columbia University Medical Centre in New York, claimed that radiation from the scanners may be causing an extra 100 cases of cancer in Americans each year.
"We've been waiting for this report which, in summary, says the scanners are safe," a Manchester Airport spokesman said.
"We knew the report would say this because the UK and US government had already carried out studies and concluded the same thing. The EU took a bit longer about it," the spokesman added.
Last November, the EU adopted new guidelines on body scanners after concerns about privacy.
It meant security scanners could not store or copy any of the images and security staff analysing the images had to be in separate room from where the actual screening was taking place. In addition, passengers were given the right to choose an alternative method of screening.


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