updated 3/4/2010 11:51:04 AM ET 2010-03-04T16:51:04

Rome's main airport is trying out Italy's first body scanner at a terminal that serves U.S. airliners.

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Authorities said the scanner went into use Thursday at Leonardo da Vinci airport's Terminal 5 on an experimental basis. If there are no problems after a few weeks, more machines will be added.

Italy's civil aviation agency says that unlike other scanners using X-rays, this machine employs electromagnetism because the nation's laws permit X-ray use only for medical reasons.

During the experiment, passengers can opt for a manual body search as part of anti-terrorism procedures ahead of boarding. Scanners will become mandatory if the experiment succeeds.

Next to get a scanner will be Milan's Malpensa airport.

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