04 JUL 2011: A hospital consultant refused to go through an X-ray scanner at Manchester Airport, claiming it could give him cancer. Eye specialist Tony Aguirre thought he could opt for a ‘pat-down’ search but instead he was denied boarding to the plane and escorted out of the airport by police.

It is mandatory for passengers to go through the full body scanners at Manchester, Gatwick and Heathrow airports, and anyone who refuses is not permitted to fly.

Aguirre claimed he was treated like a criminal as he tried to board a flight to Switzerland to treat a patient.

He was quoted as claiming, “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.”

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.

Aguirre pointed out that passengers in the US “opt out” of a full body scan.

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

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