View Full Version : Radioactive residues due to baggage scans?

3rd Feb 2002, 02:55
Hi y'all,

one question that came up the other day whilst we were getting our crew baggage x-rayed for the 100th time this year: . .Can there any radioactive residue be left due to the multiple scans i.e. in the laptop or cellphone batteries or whereever? <img src="confused.gif" border="0">



3rd Feb 2002, 03:40

Orca strait
3rd Feb 2002, 03:44
wong one

Good answer; you think that one up all on your own?

3rd Feb 2002, 04:09
and how did your reply answer the question?

That was the best I can do until after I catch up on some sleep.

3rd Feb 2002, 04:20
@wong one:

What makes you think it does NOT accumulate?. .Do you have any background info on that?. .It doesnt help to post a subjective impression on that matter.

Does anyone have information on the strength and type of that radiation source used in these scanners compared to medical purpose x-ray scanners?

Which would be the maximum dosis allowed of that specific radiation p.a. ?

Which materials are susceptible to the accumulation of such radiation?

questions, questions, questions ....



3rd Feb 2002, 06:14
While X-Ray's are a form of ionization radiation that is potentially hazardous,levels used to check hand baggage are relatively 'very' low. Levels in the region of (aprox) 0.05 mR(millirem) per inspection are about average. . . Put into perspective you receive 3mR in about 4 days of exposure from radiation received naturally from the sun ! and about 4 mR from background radiation when you fly coast to coast in the US !.. . The max annual dose (not STD's !!) for US & Canadian radiation workers is 5000mR !.. . So you can see that a second head growth spurt is unlikely !!.

3rd Feb 2002, 06:22
An answer from a drunk ex-chemistry current biotechnology student private pilot person....:. .Would say: NO!! From what I remember (please others correct me if incorrect!!) regarding radiation you should only be worried about emitters of ionising radiation that hang around (e.g. radioactive dust : alpha, beta and gamma emitters!...NOT X-ray machines!!). Any interaction between the radiation and the 'receiver' is short lived, and the energy is usually given out in heat...possibly light or sound etc once it hits the 'receiver'. X rays will not 'hang around' at all!!! If I were a high altitude pilot I would be much more worried about ionising radiation from other sources!!. .Do not worry about it (IMHO). .As always take my answers with a pinch of salt as I am sure someone will be able to find a large error in my reply!. .Cheers. <img src="wink.gif" border="0">

[ 03 February 2002: Message edited by: tom775257 ]</p>

3rd Feb 2002, 07:23

Ionizing radiation can strip electrons from an atom, radioactivity comes from the nucleus.. .To turn a non radioactive atom to a radioactive one with electromagnetic radiation requires enough energy in the photon to fiddle with the nucleus, far more than Xray photons.

It should be noted that virtually all substances include some radioactive isotopes even water has some tritium in it.

3rd Feb 2002, 11:47
As was just mentioned: No.

In sufficient quantities however, even x-ray photons can activate materials.

X-ray energies used in medical CT scanners, and diagnostic x-ray units are in the order of 100 keV. I suspect that baggage inspection equipment use similar radiation sources. Radiation may directly or indirectly damage tissue, or inanimate matter, but it does not generally render it radioactive. In order to do so, the energy, exposure time, and exposure rate would have to be increased significanlty (by several orders of magnitude each) and even then, this may only activate heavy metals with lot's of nuclei around. And even if that was the case, the activation, and therefore "radioactive period" would last only a few seconds.

152 . .PS. my day job = medical radiation physicist

[ 03 February 2002: Message edited by: 152captain ]</p>