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TSA Scanners: Out of the Spotlight, But Not in the Clear


Though people aren’t really talking about it anymore, TSA full body x-ray scanners are still being used on travelers every day in airports all around the country.

There’s still no proof that they’re safe. But perhaps more importantly, evidence is starting to mount that they’re probably not safe.

Two-time Pulitzer prize winner Andrew Schneider wrote an investigative article called “No Proof TSA Scanners Are Safe.” Among other things, it points out:

The TSA ticks off a litany of groups that it says are involved with determining and ensuring the safety of the controversial devices, including:

  • · The Food and Drug Administration

  • · The U.S. Army Public Health Command

  • · Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory

  • · The Health Physics Society

However, AOL News has found that those organizations say they have no responsibility for the continuing safety of the alternative to TSA’s grope.

Further, the Homeland Security agency refuses to release exposure data to top non-TSA safety experts eager to evaluate any risk. –AOL News

If these organizations say they have no responsibility for the safety of the x-ray machines when the TSA says they do, who is ultimately responsible? It’s really scary that we can’t follow the chain of accountability for the functionality and safety of a radiation-emitting device. Particularly since the following is true:

A spike in the intensity of the scanning beam, or a slowdown or pause in the timing of that beam’s sweep across a traveler’s body, could cause significant radiation damage, AOL News was told by a radiologist and two radiological health physicists, who are trained and certified to ensure the safety of those exposed to or working with radioactive material. –AOL News

If this kind of irresponsible shoulder shrugging were going on in our hospitals with radiation equipment used for medical tests, the American people wouldn’t stand for it. Think about this the next time you travel. I’ve opted out and had the pat-down, and it’s really no big deal. Certainly nothing compared to undergoing cancer treatments down the line. Just saying.

“After the Press” interviewed two scientists who have studied radiation longer than most of us have been alive. They refuse to go through the x-ray scanners; hear what they have to say here.


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  1. Mark says:
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    We’re definitely still talking about it on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Boycott-Flying/126801010710392

  2. Peter Egan says:
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    The scanners are just plain wrong on so many levels. It’s pretty scary that those scientists won’t go through them.

    In addition to all the health/safety concerns, there remains the issue of Uncle Sam becoming a peeping Tom, which has got to be illegal in its own right.

  3. Mike Ferrara says:
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    Thanks Mark and Peter. It’s like power lines. Some say safe and some say cause leukemia. I’ll still avoid living under them. Remember, not too long ago doctors said cigarette smoking was safe. They will find these scanners cause mega problems, but by then it will be too late. urge everyone to keep opting out.