Submitted by Professor Ben-Joseph on Fri, 2015-08-21 13:29
The feds claim airport scanners pose little to no risk when used properly, and a
new study backs them up.
Researchers from U.C. San Francisco say the amount of radiation delivered by the
airport scanners is equivalent to the normal background radiation absorbed by
the body in any given three-to-nine-minute period.
But the researchers also wrote in the Archives of Internal Medicine that they
have no idea what could happen if the machines aren’t working right–and since
the feds refuse to allow thorough independent testing, don’t expect any answers
on that anytime soon.
And when you consider that the feds can’t even keep air traffic controllers
awake, you just have to wonder how we can possibly rely on them to make sure
these precision devices are calibrated and functioning properly amidst heavy
They can’t even agree on who’s responsible for scanner safety!
Last year, the TSA claimed that the Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Army
Public Health Command, the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory and the
Health Physics Society would all play a role in ensuring the safety of the
But when AOL News contacted those agencies, they all denied responsibility.
It’s enough to make even the most trusting traveler think twice before stepping
inside a full-body scanner–and if you’re one of them, you’re not alone. Some
leading doctors and cancer experts say there’s no way in heck they’ll get
“USA Today did a piece on how badly TSA maintained their X-ray equipment for
carryon bags, and this gave me little confidence,” Dr. Otis Brawley, chief
medical officer of the American Cancer Society, told CNN.com.
Dr. Brawley is hardly a radical–and the American Cancer Society is not exactly
known for taking extreme positions (although I’d be thrilled if they did).
And he’s not the only one there who won’t get scanned.
“This is a total body scan–not a dental or chest X-ray,” Dr. Len Lichtenfeld,
the organization’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer, told the news network. “Total
body radiation is not something I find very comforting based on my medical
And that’s the real concern–because even if the machines are functioning
properly and delivering only the “very low” levels of radiation detected in the
new study, that doesn’t make them safe.
All the research in the world won’t change the fact that any radiation has the
potential can increase your cancer risk–and that means the only safe levels of
exposure are none at all.