I believe in playing it safe when it come to possibly exposing myself to toxins that may cause cancer. Why I ask … take the risk! Ask for a physical inspection and avoid the scanners.
Where’s the Evidence Showing TSA’s Backscatter Scanners are Safe?
The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) initially started using innovative imaging innovation in airports across the country in 2007. But just how “tested,” and how safe, are the TSA’s backscatter machines?
The TSA1 and Department of Homeland Security will tell you they’ve been thoroughly tested which these devices are very safe. However if that’s real, why did both houses of Congress file expenses this year requiring that the TSA and DHS produce evidence of their safety declares with an independent laboratory research study? 2,3.
Could it be that Congressmen– who typically fly as part of their tasks– are stressed that perhaps those security claims are not as recorded as the TSA claims?
The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has been making comparable demands of the TSA through claims and Freedom of Information Act demands for several years. The group has actually even filed a suit to suspend the deployment of body scanners at US airports, pending an independent review:.
“On July 2, 2010, EPIC petitioned5 the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to suspend the body scanner program, stressing its core assertion that “the TSA has actually acted beyond its regulatory authority and with extensive disregard for the statutory and constitutional rights of air tourists.
IMPRESSIVE asserted that the federal company’s controversial program violated the Administrative Procedures Act, the Privacy Act, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Video Voyeurism Prevention Act, and the Fourth Amendment.
On July 15, 2011, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled6 that the firm had actually broken the Administrative Procedures Act by executing body scanners as a main screening technique without first undertaking public notice and remark rulemaking.
The Court ordered the agency to ‘promptly’ undertake the proper rulemaking procedures and permit the public to comment on the body scanner program. To date, the agency has actually made no visible development towards adhering to the Court’s order.”.
So far, this is what EPIC has discovered through an FOIA demand:.
TSA employees have actually identified cancer clusters supposedly connected to radiation direct exposure while running body scanners and other screening innovation. Nevertheless, the firm failed to issue staff members dosimeters– security devices that would warn of radiation direct exposure.
The DHS has actually publicly mischaracterized the findings of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), mentioning that NIST “affirmed the safety” of complete body scanners. NIST has actually stated that the Institute did not, in fact, test full body scanners for safety, which the Institute does refrain from doing product screening.
A Johns Hopkins University research exposed that radiation zones around body scanners could exceed the “General Public Dose Limit.”.
A NIST research study alerts airport screeners to avoid standing next to complete body scanners.
Rogue Federal Agency Refuses to Comply with the Law
On July 18, The Washington Times ran an editorial7 about the TSA’s defiance of the courts. Remember, it’s been over a year since the D.C. Circuit court ruled the TSA needed to “without delay” adhere to the Administrative Procedure Act, which requires public hearings and a 90-day public comment duration. In a November 9, 2011 affidavit, TSA acting general manager James Clarkson reacted that “While TSA has actually focused on the rulemaking directed by the Opinion, TSA has numerous vital rulemakings in development, numerous of them needed by statute,” essentially telling the court and the rest of us that they’re too busy to resolve it.
On July 17, 2012, EPIC once again asked the D.C. Circuit court of appeals to oblige the company to comply with the law, and the court has actually now demanded the TSA respond by August 30.
“It’s a commonly held belief that the firm’s rash embrace of expensive, X-rated x-ray machines has more to do with closed-door lobbying efforts of manufacturers than an intentional factor to consider of the devices’ benefits,” The Washington Times states.
The last thing TSA desires is the public-relations catastrophe of having to gather and release the horror tales from Americans subjected to embarrassment from the nude photography and invasive ‘pat-down’ searching sessions. Scanner maker Rapidscan Systems, which has actually invested $2.2 million in wining and dining administration authorities and lawmakers since 2007, most likely isn’t really keen on wider public conversation either.”.
The Security Implications of Nude Body Scanners
On March 6, 2012 engineer Jonathan Corbett published a video on YouTube, showing how easily the “naked body scanners” can be beat, and why these devices actually make air travel LESS safe, if we’re in fact stressed over terrorists boarding airplanes with guns and other lethal things on their individual.
In addition, as explained by Miles O’Brien in the video in the next section below, these devices are also unlikely to discover specific explosives, and likely would NOT have actually captured the infamous “underclothing bomber”– the case that presaged the rapid release of these backscatter scanners in the first location.
Corbett was among the first to take legal action against the United States when the scanners were at first rolled out, charging that the devices were a violation of the 4th modification of the US constitution. In July, he filed a petition to have his case heard by the Supreme Court. Corbett likewise claims he was falsely jailed by TSA agents at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport last year.
The last thing TSA desires is the public-relations disaster of needing to gather and release the scary tales from Americans subjected to humiliation from the nude photography and intrusive ‘pat-down’ searching sessions. Scanner maker Rapidscan Systems, which has invested $2.2 million in wining and dining administration authorities and lawmakers considering that 2007, probably isn’t really keen on wider public discussion either.”.
Could Backscatter Scanners Cause Cancer?
As summarized by WeWontFly.com:.
“Backscatter X-ray uses ionizing radiation, a known advancing health hazard, to produce images of passengers’ bodies. Children, pregnant women, the elderly, and those with faulty DNA repair mechanisms are considered to be particularly prone to the type of DNA damage triggered by ionizing radiation.
Also at high risk are those who have had, or presently have, skin cancer.
Ionizing radiation’s results are cumulative, suggesting that each time you are exposed you are including to your risk of developing cancer. Considering that the dosage of radiation from the backscatter X-ray machines is soaked up virtually totally by the skin and tissue straight under the skin, averaging the dosage over the entire body provides an inaccurate photo of the real damage.”.
In 2014, ProPublica published a letter to John Holdren, senior consultant to President Barack Obama on science and technology, written by 5 professors who expose that there has actually not in fact been any proven clinical screening of the safety of airport scanners– and that the levels of radiation being utilized are most likely much higher than the public has been led to believe. These scientists believe the high quality images produced can not possibly be obtained with the low levels of radiation explained, and that the real level may be 45 times higher than what the manufacture is asserting.
The supposed “screening” of the Rapiscan Secure 1000, the most widely deployed X-ray scanner, was in fact carried out on a mock-up of spare parts “stated to be similar to those that are parts of the Rapiscan system.” In addition, none of these tests have ever been peer examined– the information as well as the names of the researchers who performed the tests have actually been kept secret from the public.
According to the letter, as printed by ProPublica:12.
“The problem stays that the safety of the X-ray airport scanners has not been independently validated … the Johns Hopkins report,13 which is the more detailed and considerable because it refers to the widely deployed Single Pose system, does not hold to crucial principles of scientific reporting … [T] here is no chance to repeat any of these measurements … The tests were performed by the maker using the producer’s questionable test procedures … [T] he independent testing of the security of these certain scanners has actually not been strenuous nor has it been held to the requirements normally associated with brand-new gadgets”.
… It is still uncertain how much damage to cells occur with low dose x-rays. One of the most crucial points in the ‘Red Flags’ section of our letter of April 2010 was that prospective x-ray damage, mostly to skin cells and surrounding tissues, would result in a ‘damage response’ by the cells.
Thus, destroyed cells would show DNA damage of numerous kinds and/or a boost in concentration of numerous proteins that attempt to repair the damage. Having the ability to show that the x-irradiation does not cause the ‘damage response’ as compared with a control sample simply exposed to background radiation would develop that the machines at least do not have a high (possibly harmful) x-ray intensity.
Surprisingly, the 8-page HHS letter response did not even talk about this crucial point.
The research study community has the method to unambiguously determine in an extremely delicate method whether there is damage to cells after x-irradiation from the airport scanners. For example, a current research making use of tissue culture cells … has revealed that with low dosage x-rays (1 mSv, a dose coming within 100 to 1,000 times that of the potential x-ray scanner dosage), the cells have unrepaired DNA double-strand breaks that are noticeable for numerous days …
Because … the entire body is exposed to the x-ray scanning … and therefore many cells could, summed up in toto, be destroyed … Where are the studies using mutant mice … trying to find enhanced mutations/cancer? This does not have to be an extensive search, but a little pilot study trying to find mutations/cancer to confirm that the beam strength is really small would suffice. In summary, this kind of research study has not been finished with the x-ray scanners.
An additional point concerning biological damage from x-ray sources is that normally radiation biology deals with the integrated radiation dosage. Nevertheless, there is a phenomenon referred to as dose rate … which might significantly influence damage. Dosage rate, however, is poorly studied. In the couple of documented studies … it was shown that for the very same overall dosage, a 2-5 fold increase in damage can arise from a high dosage rate (for the short direct exposure) compared with a minimized dosage rate (at a longer direct exposure time). The x-ray airport scanners can be identified by a high dose rate … which includes additional unknowns for the prospective damage by this radiation …”.
History Tells Us to Beware of Ionizing Radiation Technology Safety Claims.
How can we be specific that errors will not take place with the X-ray scanners when malfunctions are practically always a danger of using technology? For instance, even CT scans were as soon as deemed to have far lower levels of radiation than we understand they have today.
As Dr. Russell Blaylock says:.
“As for the guarantees we have been offered by such company as the American College of Radiology, we should bear in mind that they assured us that the CT scans were safe which the radiation amounted to one chest X-ray. Forty years later on we discover that the dosage is extremely high; it is believed to have triggered cancer in a significant variety of people, and the dose is actually equal to 1,000 chest X-rays.”.
A 2007 study released in The New England Journal of Medicine14 estimated that 0.4 percent of all cancers in the US may be attributable to the radiation from CT research studies– validating how exceptionally inaccurate original security evaluations of this innovation were, in addition to how unsafe X-ray-based diagnostic technologies actually are. These mistakes of the past should indeed work as cautionary tales when making safety claims for brand brand-new innovations.
How numerous times will a belated “oops!” suffice prior to we demand the return of the precautionary principle, as is already being followed in Europe?
Ideally, the TSA will adhere to the court’s needs for a response by August 30. We have to have public hearings about the numerous concerns, running the range from prospective health threats to offenses of privacy and good-old-fashioned decency, posed by these invasive scanners.
Who Stands to Gain Financially from Full-Body Scanners?
As in numerous other instances, our legal and civil rights system is being willfully controlled and squashed, and our health is jeopardized, all for the sake of personal and business profits. In this case, the previous homeland security chief and co-author of the PATRIOT act, Michael Chertoff, is a primary marketer of full-body scanners, and is a paid expert for the companies that sell them!
The mandate to use these scanners is yet another blatant conflict of interest that deteriorates individual freedom in the name of “security” and puts business earnings ahead of public health.
Ideas for Reducing Your Cumulative Radiation Load While Flying.
Europe has already taken a strong stance against using these scanners, and in the United States if we have enough individuals objecting to this brand-new innovation we can get them to stop using it entirely. It is far too man-power extensive for representatives to by hand examine everybody with the boosted pat down. In 2010, when large numbers of people were planning on pulling out in demonstration, they shut all the X-ray scanners off that day and ran people through the older ones. If 10 percent people select to pull out regularly, my guess is that they will shut the machines off completely.
Personally, as a really frequent air tourist, I ALWAYS opt-out of the x-ray scanner. Even if the radiation dose is minute (which’s a big IF), I’m not prepared to risk my health by exposing my entire body to any avoidable dosage regularly. Luckily, I fly regularly enough that in Chicago I am TSA PRE, which means I get to make use of an unique security line and do not have to remove my shoes or belt, or take the computer from my bag, and there is no overall body scan or pat down done.
A fascinating point you will desire to consider is that in order to make use of the body scanner you need to have the ability to raise your arms above your head. If you cannot, then TSA needs to send you through the FAR safer magnetic scanner and they normally do NOT pat you down.
If you’re exposed to other types of radiation through CT scans, mammograms and other medical treatments, your exposure might quickly reach dangerous levels, and this is why it makes good sense to prevent unnecessary radiation direct exposures as much as possible. Among the techniques I make use of is to take 8-10 mg of astaxanthin routinely as it has actually been revealed to lessen ionizing radiation damage.
If you pull out of the scanner and choose the pat-down, I likewise suggest you keep hygiene in mind. Make specific that TSA representatives put on a fresh pair of gloves prior to touching you and your kid.
As for the embarrassment aspect that these enhanced TSA security checks present, I would motivate you to call your regional federal government authorities and state representatives, or join the “We Won’t Fly” campaign, which likewise notes 24 extra ways you can make your voice heard on this concern.