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Our devices were built for safety. With more than 50 years of experience in X-ray technology, AS&E follows extraordinary safety procedures. And we take safety as seriously as we take security. 

AS&E rigorously adheres to standards designed to govern X-ray scanners for security applications, including those of ANSI, EURATOM, and ICRP. AS&E also uses independent organizations to certify that its products meet the applicable radiation standards.

Independent certifications

The X-ray dose delivered by all AS&E® systems is measured according to well-established guidelines and procedures described in the standards and recommendations from ANSI1, EURATOM2, and the ICRP3. Compliance with these standards is measured and confirmed by a number of independent third-party organizations. All of AS&E’s systems that are approved to scan people fall into the category described as “trivial” by radiation experts from the Health Physics Society4.

According to Dr. Dushyant Sahani, who specializes in radiology at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, "To put things in perspective, the dosage that is delivered from these scanners, the risk is absolutely minuscule or trivial."  In addition to Sahani, the Centers for Disease Control, the FDA, and the American College of Radiology all state that airport security scans are no more risk than the radiation we’re all exposed to from natural sources, like soil or rock.  

Every-day Comparisons

It’s important to keep in mind that all of us are exposed to ionizing radiation every day, from many parts of our environment, including the food we eat, the building materials used in our homes, and even from the altitude of the cities and towns in which we live. The radiation dose received from a Z Backscatter™ scanner should be considered in this context. To compare an effective dose, let’s look at a scan from the SmartCheck® HT personnel system. It is equivalent to:

  • About half of one percent (0.5% or 1/200th) of the radiation dose received by the average person on any day of the year, much of which is from natural sources.
  • The radiation dose received from flying one minute in an airplane at 30,000 feet (due to the increased exposure from cosmic rays). A flight from Boston to Los Angeles, for example, exposes a passenger to the equivalent of 360 SmartCheck HT system scans, due to the increased exposure to cosmic rays at higher altitudes.

According to the published ANSI standard for general-use systems, at this dose level, an individual could be scanned 2,500 times per year with SmartCheck HT before  the annual limit suggested for security screening is reached. This limit, recommended by the U.S. National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP 2003), is 250 µSv (25,000 µR) of radiation, which is a quarter of NCRP’s recommended dose limit from all radiation sources for the general public. The NCRP's all-source limit is the same as that of the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP 2007), the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (10 CFR 20), and the U.S. Department of Energy (10 CFR 835).

1. [The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Radiation Safety standard was written by the Health Physics Society with input from a wide variety of industrial, military, National Laboratory, and government experts, including representatives from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST),  Department of Homeland Security (DHS),  Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).]

2. [The European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM) coordinates the European Union Member State’s nuclear energy programs and draws up safety standards for radiation protection.]

3. [The International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) Standards for Radiation Safety is an independent, international organization whose members represent the leading scientists and policy makers in the field of radiological protection. The ICRP developed and maintains the International System of Radiological Protection used worldwide as the common basis for radiological protection standards, legislation, guidelines, programs, and practice.]

4. [Strom, Daniel, 2005, Screening Individuals with Backscatter X-Ray Systems, Health Physics Society]

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