HERCA / Statement on the justification of full body-scanners using X-rays for security purposes
HERCA, the association of the Heads of European Radiological protection Competent Authorities, approves a Statement on the justification of full body-scanners using X-rays for security purposes.
On 1 December 2010, at the 6th meeting held in Paris of the association HERCA, which brings together the Heads of European Radiological protection Competent Authorities, HERCA has approved a Statement on the justification of full body-scanners using X-rays for security purposes.
During the past months, following some failed terrorist attempts, there has been a significant increasing interest in body screening technologies, particularly for use in airports, as these technologies are now considered to increase security checking.
Within this framework, the relevant Working Group of HERCA presented a report at the 5th meeting of the association in Oslo on 30 June 2010. The report aimed at providing a factual basis to the Heads of European Radiological protection Competent Authorities for discussing key issues associated to the possible introduction of Security Scanners as a measure for screening persons including some recommendations.
HERCA agreed on the very strong need of a common approach for decision making on the use of X-rays body-scanners in Europe, and decided to produce a Statement on this issue based on the recommendations presented at the Oslo meeting. After an intense process of consultation with the objective of better understanding the national positions, a final consensus has been reached and the Statement was approved on 1 December 2010 in Paris.
Through the Statement, HERCA agrees that regardless of the level of dose of ionizing radiation per scan to the concerned individuals, the three principles of justification, optimization and dose limitation must fully apply to the use of all human imaging technologies using ionizing radiation.
Other recommendations addressed by HERCA in its Statement are:
- The examination of alternative imaging techniques that do not involve exposure to ionising, assessing and comparing the benefits and health risks of both techniques.
- The preference for those techniques with less health effects, when both techniques achieve the predefined security goals with comparable efficiency and efficacy,
- The need of a well considered and open process of justification by competent governmental authorities,
- The review of the justification decision on a regular basis,
- The education and training of operators,
- The assessment and registry of occupational exposure,
- The management of incidental scenarios,
- The technical equipment specification and quality assurance standards,
- The respect of the statutory limitation of doses for workers and the public,
- The information to workers and individuals and provision for alternative screening methods, where appropriate.
The approval of the Statement represents a new milestone for the work of the association in its aim to develop a common approach to radiation safety and regulation in particular within Europe.
HERCA will send the Statement on the justification of full body-scanners using X-rays for security purposes to the European decision makers and notably to the European Commission, for information and consideration in the drafting process of the Directive on security screening.
The Statement and related report are available at www.herca.org