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Editor's Correspondence
June 27, 2011

Uncertainties in the Dose From Full-Body Airport Screening—Reply

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley (Mr Mehta); and Departments of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, University of California, San Francisco (Dr Smith-Bindman).

Arch Intern Med. 2011;171(12):1129-1130. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.259

In reply

We agree with Dr Rez that there is considerable uncertainty involved in quantifying the doses emitted and absorbed when passengers are imaged with the backscatter scanners. This uncertainty could be reduced if the TSA allowed greater access to the scanners so that additional independent testing and direct measurements could be made. Ideally, every scanner in operation should be checked to ensure its proper functioning. However, it is not clear that estimating doses by reviewing images, or estimating the exposures based on the reported scattered dose, provides greater precision than using estimates that were derived from direct measurements reported by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory1 and the NIST,2 who were given access to the scanners.

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