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Last Updated On: 10/24/2012

In a rare spot of good news for travelers, JFK and LaGuardia airports in New York City are getting rid of the controversial full body scanners that use X-rays and replacing them with millimeter wave machines.

Since their introduction in October 2010, full body scanners have drawn flak.

Some major U.S. airports including Boston Logan International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Chicago O'Hare and Orlando have already dumped the full body scanners.

But they're still in deployment at other airports in the U.S.

Full Body Scanners Potentially Harmful

Critics have complained that the full body scanners are harmful because they use X-rays that may cause cancer.

The Transportation Security Administration has always denied that full body scanners cause cancer because of the low dose of ionizing radiation involved. Studies have linked high doses of ionizing radiation to cancer.

The agency said it was replacing the full body scanners with millimeter wave scanners because they are faster and can speed passengers through security lines.

Millimeter wave scanners rely on low-energy radio waves that are similar to what's used in cell phones.

Privacy Concerns

Full body scanners have also attracted criticism from privacy advocates for showing naked images of travelers on the monitors of the TSA agents.

Millimeter wave scanners show a cartoon image of the body.

The disadvantage of millimeter wave machines is that they come with higher false alarm rates, of 23% to 54%.


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