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China bans X-ray scanners at airports

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China has ordered the removal of full-body X-ray scanners at airports and railway stations due to radiation risks.

In an urgent document sent to the Department of Environmental Protection of Sichuan Province (DEPSP) on Monday and published on Wednesday, the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) urged DEPSP to strengthen law enforcement and stop producing, selling and using full-body X-ray scanners without authorisation to ensure the safety of the people.

The document came after some travellers complained about radiation hazards and the use of full-body security scanners at airports and railways stations in Sichuan’s capital city Chengdu and other areas.

After receiving the MEP document, the DEPSP said on Wednesday that the Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport is suspected of violating environmental protection regulations by using the devices. The DEPSP has ordered the airport to remove the full-body X-ray scanners and asked Chengdu city to investigate the issue.

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The MEP found that the radiation dose that each person receives from the scanner has just a small effect on the human body, but as China has a large population and heavy travel volume, wide use of full-body X-ray scanners at airports, railways stations and ports is not appropriate. The MEP said that ionizing radiation devices should not be used to screen humans on a large scale.

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