Manchester airport backs body scanners tested by EU

Body scanner
Image caption The body scanners have been in use at Manchester Airport since 2009

Passenger body scanners, currently being used at Manchester Airport, are to be tested by the European Commission to assess if they pose a health risk.

Manchester has been trialling back scatter body scanners in security checks since 2009.

The airport will continue using the scanners while the European Commission tests are carried out.

The UK Health Protection Agency has already assessed that the scanners pose a "negligible" risk to health.

'Trail will continue'

The European Commission has stopped any further trials of scanners using x-rays while they are tested by its specialist health committee, which is expected to report in March 2012.

Manchester Airport has been given permission to continue trialling the scanners until November 2012.

The back scatter scanners use a low dose of x-rays to scan through clothing producing "naked" images of passengers.

The x-ray dose has been assessed as being equivalent to that received in less than two minutes of flying in an airline at cruising height.

A spokesperson for Manchester Airport said: "Extensive tests by the UK Health Protection Agency and the US health authorities have already confirmed that back scatter body scanners pose a negligible risk to human health.

"It is irresponsible to suggest that because Europe has yet to complete its own health study, our passengers should be concerned.

"European legislation issued this week has approved millimetre wave, another form of body scanner technology, for permanent use at airports.

"While its study is under way, an extension of the trial of back scatter body scanners at Manchester Airport has been approved by the European Commission until November 2012.

"Given that all of the relevant authorities support the use of back scatter body scanners, the trial will continue."

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