One important glaring issue posed by the TSA scanners has to do with your health and their use of controversial backscatter technology, which projects an X-ray beam onto your body.
As WeWontFly.com stated:
“Backscatter X-ray uses ionizing radiation, a known cumulative health hazard, to produce images of passengers’ bodies. Children, pregnant women, the elderly, and those with defective DNA repair mechanisms are considered to be especially susceptible to the type of DNA damage caused by ionizing radiation. Also at high risk are those who have had, or currently have, skin cancer.
Ionizing radiation’s effects are cumulative, meaning that each time you are exposed you are adding to your risk of developing cancer. Since the dosage of radiation from the backscatter X-ray machines is absorbed almost entirely by the skin and tissue directly under the skin, averaging the dose over the whole body gives an inaccurate picture of the actual harm.”
Scientists from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) sent a letter to the White House Office of Science and Technology echoing the concern that radiation from the scanners could damage skin and underlying tissue, potentially leading to skin cancer.
The White House Office responded that the technology had been tested extensively for safety, but the scientists noted numerous flaws in the response and are currently preparing a rebuttal.
Because the radiation beam from the scanners concentrates on your skin, researchers believe the dose may be up to 20 times higher than is being estimated.
As Mail Online reported, Dr. David Brenner, head of Columbia University’s center for radiological research, also noted that about one in 20 people, including children and people with gene mutations, may be at increased risk as they are less able to repair the DNA damage caused by the x-ray scan.
Even the U.S. Airline Pilots Association (USAPA) recognized the potential risks, especially from frequent exposure. As CNN reported, Capt. Mike Cleary, president of the USAPA wrote:
“Based on currently available medical information, USAPA has determined that frequent exposure to TSA-operated scanner devices may subject pilots to significant health risks.”
Scanners Use Harmful Ionizing Radiation
Some of the TSA’s full-body scanners subject your body to small doses of ionizing radiation.
Ionizing radiation creates charged ions by displacing electrons in atoms, even without heat. Examples are radiation emitted from radioactive substances in rocks and soil, cosmic rays of the sun, and radiation from man-made technology such as x-ray machines, power stations, and nuclear reactors.
A host of epidemiological studies have strongly suggested that x-rays and other ionizing radiation are a cause of most types of human cancer. X-rays may even be responsible for most of the deaths from cancer and ischemic heart disease, according to John Gofman, MD, PhD, a professor at U. C. Berkeley and one of the leading experts in the world.
Ionizing radiation is a uniquely potent mutagen due to its ability to wreak havoc upon your cells and their genetic code. Your cells are unable to repair the very complex genetic damage done by x-rays. Some of the mutated cells die, but others do not, and the cells that go on living have a proliferative advantage — giving rise to the most aggressive cancers.
Unlike some other mutagens, x-rays have access to the genetic molecules of every one of your internal organs, if the organ is within range of the x-ray beam. Even a single high-speed, high-energy electron, set into motion by an x-ray photon, can bounce around and cause you irreparable damage.
That is why there is no safe dose of x-rays.
Further, the effects of radiation are cumulative, which means that every time you walk through an airport scanner, you’re adding to your dose. If you fly frequently or you’re exposed to other forms of radiation through CT scans, mammograms and other medical procedures, you could easily be on radiation overload.
Fears of Radiation Exposure May Be Overblown…
It is important to place this radiation exposure risk in its proper perspective. Let’s look at the reported numbers.
Screening at an airport x-ray scanner produces .02 microsieverts of radiation. But REMEMBER you are only getting them because you are going on a flight. Nearly everyone forgets that when you fly there is also ionizing radiation exposure. In fact on a typical transcontinental flight at 30,000 feet you will be exposed to 20 microsieverts of radiation.
That is ONE HUNDRED times the dose you receive from the scanner.
So if you are willing to accept the risk of air travel radiation how could you possibly justify concern about these scanners?
However, having said that this past year I became aware that the way to reduce your air travel radiation by 99 percent is to fly at night. Just as it is impossible to get a suntan at night, you will avoid virtually all of the radiation when you fly at night. That is why I nearly fly exclusively at night now, or as far away from noon as practically possible.
I also take 2 mg of astaxanthin every day, which is believed to radically limit damage from ionizing radiation.
But please understand the main point of this article: the REAL health danger is from CT scans, which is FIFTY THOUSAND times the radiation dose of one of these scans. You would have to have one scan every day for 136 years to equal the radiation of one CT scan.
The issue of whether or not the alternative – being groped and potentially humiliated during an ‘enhanced’ pat-down – is warranted, or even legal, is another issue altogether…
Analysis Only Works if We Aren’t Being Lied to
Please understand that this calculation and risk proposal is based on the reported radiation levels. If we are being lied to then all bets are off and we need to reanalyze, but if the numbers are accurate you would have to have to have 100 scans to equal the radiation exposure of one daytime flight.
Radiation is NOT the Only Health Hazard of Full-Body Scanners
That said, “the radiation dose is likely the least of the problems with airport screening,” according to Dr. Jane M. Orient, M.D. In her article for the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), she details what the medical community considers to be the REAL health hazard of full-body scanners, namely the use of low-energy backscatter technology.
Dr. Orient explains:
“They use an ingenious low-energy backscatter technique, which is apparently wonderful for identifying explosives in cargo. Since the radiation doesn’t penetrate far, it wouldn’t affect an unborn baby. But it does concentrate the dose in the skin.
Some scientists warn that this effect has not been properly studied, and one nuclear medicine expert told me that he is going to opt out of the scan. I think this much is clear: if you had a deadly disease, and the scanner were an FDA-regulated device that might save your life, your doctor wouldn’t be allowed to use it, because of inadequate study.”
Likewise, two scientists who recently spoke with CNN point out the potential for backscatter technology to cause fatal skin cancer. CNN reports:
“The risk of harmful radiation exposure from backscatter scans is very small, according to David Brenner, director of the Center for Radiological Research at Columbia University and a professor of radiation biophysics.
But he said he is concerned about how widely the scanners will be used.
“If you think of the entire population of, shall we say a billion people per year going through these scanners, it’s very likely that some number of those will develop cancer from the radiation from these scanners,” Brenner said.
Skin cancer would likely be the primary concern, he said. Each time the same person receives a backscatter scan, the small risk associated with the low dose of radiation is multiplied by the number of exposures.
… The TSA says each backscatter scan emits radiation equivalent to just two minutes of cosmic radiation at altitude.
Peter Rez, a professor of physics at Arizona State University, disagrees. Rez has independently calculated the radiation doses of backscatter scanners using the images produced by the machines.
“I came to the conclusion that although low, the dose was higher than they said,” he said. Based on his analysis, Rez estimates each scan produces radiation equivalent to 10 to 20 minutes of flight. … The probability of dying from radiation from a body scanner and that of being killed in a terror attack are roughly the same, he said. About one in 30 million. “They’re both incredibly unlikely events. These are still a factor of 10 lower than the probability of dying in any one year from being struck by lightning in the United States.”
Who Stands to Gain Financially from Full-Body Scanners?
As in so many other instances, our legal and civil rights system is being willfully manipulated and trampled for the sake of private and corporate profits. In this case, the former homeland security chief and co-author of the PATRIOT act, Michael Chertoff, is now the primary promoter of full-body scanners, and is a paid consultant for the companies that sell them!
“… if your doctor had an ownership interest in the scanner, he might go to federal prison for referring you for a scan. These anti-kickback laws, however, do not apply to the influential government cronies who stand to make a fortune from the scanners.”
It’s just the latest in a very long line of blatant conflicts of interest and corporate agendas that have, and continue to, erode our personal freedoms in the name of “security.”
Source of this article: http://lecanadian.com
Url of this article: