The University of California study appearing in the “Archives of Internal Medicine” found that a traveler would have to go through a body scanner 50 times to receive the same amount of radiation as from a dental X-ray.
The researchers also said a lung X-ray was equivalent to 1,000 trips through an airport scanner, while a mammogram delivers as much radiation as passing through such a scanner 4,000 times.
The study focused on x-ray machines dubbed “backscatter” which use low-dose x-rays, similar to those used in medical imaging. So far there are some 486 full-body scanners in place in 78 US airports.
“The radiation doses emitted by the scans are extremely small; the scans deliver an amount of radiation equivalent to 3 to 9 minutes of the radiation received through normal daily living,” the authors wrote.