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Top consultant stokes body scanner cancer fears

Top consultant stokes body scanner cancer fears

A leading hospital consultant has refused to go through an X-ray scanner at Manchester Airport, claiming it could give him cancer.

Tony Aguirre thought he would be offered a traditional ‘pat-down’ search instead but was refused entry to the plane and escorted out of the airport by police.

Aguirre, an eye specialist at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, said he was treated like a criminal as he tried to board a flight to Switzerland to treat a patient.

He said: “X-rays are known to cause cancer and I think somebody will get cancer from this body scanner whether it’s me or someone else.”

It is mandatory for passengers to go through the full body scanners at Manchester,
Gatwick and Heathrow airports, and staff there have been told that anyone who refuses should not be allowed to board.


The UK’s Health Protection Agency (HPA) maintains that the technology is safe because the exposure levels are so small, and has approved scanners for all passengers including pregnant women.

However recent studies have suggested that the X-rays used in scanners could produce 20 times as much radiation as first thought.

Mr Aguirre pointed out that passengers in the U.S. may exercise their right to “opt out” of a full body scan.

Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam was the first airport to implement the scanners in 2007.

The Italian government had planned to install full body scanners at all airports and train stations but removed them from airports, calling them “slow and ineffective”.

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