Penetration capability of airport body scanners

M Boyce made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Transport

The request was partially successful.

From: M Boyce

Dear Department for Transport,

Question 24 of the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) on the Department for Transport information on airport body scanners states:
'The scan shows only the external characteristics of the body. It does not penetrate the skin'.
Many internet images of airport body scans show the bones of the body, and in a letter (Dec. 2010) to the United States House of Representatives, Steven W. Smith, the inventor of the Rapiscan Secure 1000 x-ray backscatter body scanner, the type currently used in some UK airports, shows graphically that these scanners have a image penetration of up to 2cm into the body and a dose penetration of over 10cm into the body.

(1)Do UK airport body scanners only ever show the external characteristics of the body?

(2)Do UK airport body scanners ever penetrate the skin (image and dose penetration)?

(3) If FAQ 24 is factually incorrect, will the DfT correct it? If it will not correct it, why will it not do so?

Yours faithfully,

M Boyce

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From: FOI-ADVICE-TEAM-DFT
Department for Transport

Dear Sir/Madam

I am writing to acknowledge receipt of your request for information which has been allocated the reference number P0007754. A response will be issued to you in due course.

Regards,

Department for Transport
Information Rights Unit
D/04, Ashdown House
Sedlescombe Road North
St Leonards on Sea
East Sussex
TN37 7GA

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From: Transec Surefax
Department for Transport


Attachment 110624 FOI 7754 7759 Boyce Final.DOC.doc
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Dear M Boyce

Please find attached a reply to your recent FoI request to this
Department.

Yours sincerely

Jillian Smith

DfT - Aviation Security

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From: M Boyce

Dear Department for Transport,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Department for Transport's handling of my FOI request 'Penetration capability of airport body scanners'.

The DfT believes that FAQ 24 is NOT incorrect and does NOT intend to amend it. It is obvious to anyone that either FAQ 24 is incorrect, OR what the DfT have told me in their reply to my FOI request is incorrect. FAQ 24 states that security scanners DO NOT see inside the body. The energy x-rays do NOT penetrate the skin. The DfT has told me via my FOI request that security scanners MAY see INSIDE the body. The energy x-rays DO penetrate the skin. One of these two pairs of statements are NOT true. Which is it? They cannot both be true. Why is the DfT giving out blatantly false, incorrect and confusing information? Why will it not amend FAQ 24 now to prevent further misinformation to the public, or why is it continuing to supply me with incorrect information? If FAQ 24 is correct then why have the DfT lied to me? ]

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/pe...

Yours faithfully,

M Boyce

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Jeff Buske left an annotation ()

Regarding scanner Penetration:
Backscatter x-ray (~50KVp) about 5-7% are scattered back the remaining x-rays are absorbed by the skin, testicles, breast and internal organs. Skin dose about 1/50 - 1/20th of a chest x-ray or about 15-20x the published internal organ effective dose.

http://www.rockyflatsgear.com/How-penetr...

New full transmission x-rays like used in scanners at Newcastel airport, US jails and tunnel scanners are very dangerous for general use. Radiation emissions of these powerful systems about 50-100x of the backscatter depending on resolution. Like the backscatter system children, expecting mothers, fair skinned, elderly and people with BRCA DNA repair issues should avoid exposure. Learn more:

www.rockyflatsgear.com/Total-Recall-Airp...

www.rockyflatsgear.com/County-Jails-Depl...

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From: FOI-ADVICE-TEAM-DFT
Department for Transport


Attachment 110826 F0007754 Internal Review FINAL.pdf
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Dear M Boyce

Please find attached a response to your request for an internal review.

Yours sincerely

Information Rights Unit
Department for Transport

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Jeff Buske left an annotation ()

(1) Unlike medical devices, security scanners are not designed to image the internal body, although some makes of security scanner may reveal parts of the internal body that are very close to the surface, such as shin bones.
>> This is TRUE for backscatter.
>> FALSE for powerful forward scatter or transmission x-ray systems show detailed internals. Like systems at Newcastle, Australia, and new walk through "total recal" systems Singapore. Dose 20-50x that of backscatter depending on resolution.

http://www.rockyflatsgear.com/Total-Reca...

(2) The energy X-rays will penetrate the body, although only a small proportion of the low energy x-rays used in security scanners do so, whilst the rest are backscattered.
>> FALSE only a few percent 5-7% maximum are backscattered from the skin and clothing. The balance are absorbed by the tissue damaging cells and DNA, skin/breast dose 1/50 to 1/20 of a chest x-ray.

(3) The DfT believes that the FAQ referred to is not incorrect and does not currently intend to amend it.
>> Wish you would reconsider. Thanks Jeff

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