X-ray risk associated with security equipment

Paul Thornton made this Freedom of Information request to Public Health England

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Public Health England,

I note announcements that X ray imaging is to be used to search for drugs hidden within people entering prisons.


It appears that this equipment is to be used for the screening of prison staff. Albeit probably a very small radiation dose at each scan, this means, unusually, that staff will be multiply exposed. So too will other visitors who enter prisons frequently.

Does PHE, as successor to the Radiological Protection Board, hold any recent independent evaluation of the cancer risks associated with x-ray exposure from security equipment? If so, I would be grateful if you would send me a copy of the evaluation(s). Please also provide a copy of any information held about X ray exposure and this particular proposed use of security equipment that has been exchanged between PHE and 1. the prison service and 2. the Home Office and 3. prison contracting companies.

Please note that this request falls under the provision of the environmental information regulations and relates directly to radiation emissions such that EIR12(9) is engaged.

Yours faithfully,

Dr Paul Thornton

FOI, Public Health England

Dear Dr Thornton,

We acknowledge receipt of your email and request for information, which will be treated as a request for information under statutory access legislation.

Please note that requests under the Freedom of Information Act and the Environmental Information Regulations (EIRs) will receive a response within 20 working days from the day following the date of receipt of your request.

If the request is for your personal data (i.e. a Subject Access Request) under the Data Protection Act, then we will respond  within one month of the receipt of the request.

Public Accountability Unit
Public Health England
[Public Health England request email]
Tel: 020 8327 6920 
www.gov.uk/phe   Follow us on Twitter @PHE uk

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FOI, Public Health England

4 Attachments

Dear Dr Thornton,

Please find attached Public Health England's response to your request.

Kind regards,

FOI Team

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