The Backlash against Backscatter

July 31, 2012
Print This Post Print This Post

TSA Backscatter ImagesThe airport x-ray machines are not safe. And for over a year, TSA has been defying a court order.

A few months ago we told you about the dangers of airport full-body scanners—that they emit low levels of ionizing radiation and can cause cancer. The x-rays skim the entire surface of your skin instead of being directed to a localized area of your body, which means that radiation levels could be 10 to 20 times higher than the manufacturer’s calculations. The cancer threat has the European Union so concerned that it has put a moratorium on the machines.

Some doctors opt out of the backscatter scan and instead go for a full-body pat-down, intrusive as it is (more on that later). Among them is Dr. Dong Kim, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ neurosurgeon and chair of the department of neurosurgery at the University of Texas Medical School. “There is really no absolutely safe dose of radiation,” he says. “Each exposure is additive, and there is no need to incur any extra radiation when there is an alternative.” Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, never goes through a scanner when he travels because he’s concerned about whether the machines are calibrated and inspected properly.

That’s a valid concern, since a report released this year from the Department of Homeland Security found inconsistencies in how the machines are calibrated to ensure radiation safety and image quality, and says that not all TSA screeners have completed required radiation safety training. Inspectors found that the TSA made more than 3,500 maintenance calls in the first year the scanners were deployed, meaning that, on average, each machine needed service more than once a month. Millions of people go through these machines—and ProPublica reports that up to 100 US passengers could get cancer from them every year.

There has been a public backlash against the backscatter machines—from citizens, from advocacy groups like ours, and from integrative health groups. ProPublica, Dr. Joseph A. Mercola, and Natural News have all run series of articles on the dangerous x-ray scanners.

Two years ago, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) filed a petition with the DC appeals court to suspend the TSA’s full-body scanner program, arguing that the Department of Homeland Security had violated the Administrative Procedures Act by implementing body scanners without inviting public comment, as well as the Privacy Act and the Fourth Amendment.

Last year the court ordered the agency to “promptly” undertake a formal rulemaking process and open up a public “notice and comment” period to discuss and justify the need for these scanners. A year later, Homeland Security has still not done so, thumbing its nose at the court order! So this month EPIC and other organizations filed another lawsuit to end the delay.

Moreover, two different congressional committees have now determined that not only are the machines extremely expensive, they’re also ineffective! In May, members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Oversight and Government Reform Committee sharply criticized the TSA (the Transportation Security Administration) for spending hundreds of millions of dollars on a technology that they said had not been properly tested and is ineffective. And John L. Mica, chair of the House Transportation Committee, found that the machines’ ability to detect actual threats was so disappointing that he asked that no more be commissioned.

Both TSA’s own procurement specifications and a subsequent report by the Government Accountability Office indicate that the machines were never designed to detect powdered explosives. This is particularly ironic since the machines’ use was initially justified after the underwear bomber incident—and he used powdered explosives!

In January, senators on the the Homeland Security Committee introduced a bill that would require the TSA to post signs about the radiation exposure at the security checkpoints, and to hire an independent laboratory for a health study of the machines. A companion bill in the House was filed in February.

We would say they have this backwards—the health studies should have to be conducted before the machines are installed! The government is pushing this technology without conducting adequate safety testing, without properly evaluating its effectiveness, and without an open and transparent public review process.

Dr. David J Brenner, director of the Center for Radiological Research at Columbia University Medical Center, notes the complete lack of independent and clinical data on the machines. The studies that are cited come largely from either the government or the scanner’s manufacturer, and as we noted last November, TSA has also reneged on earlier promises it made to conduct an independent study.

So why not just opt out of the backscatter screening, the way the doctors do? First, it routinely takes an extra two minutes per person, assuming nothing unusual is found during the pat-down. Let’s say the average plane has 200 passengers. If even half of them were to opt-out of screening, it would take over three hours and twenty minutes just to get through the screening line.

Opting out also means subjecting yourself to an invasive pat-down procedure that appears designed to embarrass the traveler. There have been many pat-down incidents that are, quite frankly, outrageous, such as the bladder cancer survivor whose pat-down left him humiliated and urine-soaked when a TSA agent broke the seal on his urostomy bag. Or the breast cancer survivor who was forced to remove her prosthetic breast from her blouse and show it to a TSA agent. Or the three-year-old who was patted town, screaming hysterically, because she didn’t want her teddy bear to go through the scanner.

An ANH-USA staff member reports that it appeared TSA deliberately tried to detain her on a recent trip. First she was subjected to an invasive pat-down, and when they didn’t find anything of concern, they rubbed a cotton swab on their gloves and put it into a machine to see if it picked up any explosive device–related powders. It set off the alarm and three TSA agents came and took her into a back room for a more thorough screening, as if she were a terrorist.

Needless to say, no explosives were found!

62 Responses to “The Backlash against Backscatter”

  1. Kenneth says:

    “Needless to say, no explosives were found!”

    What is not needless to say is where you got the idea to use that fake image.

    The image you used for the article is one of the ones that started circulating of people taking nude pictures and then editing to make them look like scans.

       0 likes

  2. Sean says:

    I’m shocked… SHOCKED… that this administration would ignore a court order and just do what it wants.

       1 likes

  3. Dave says:

    I had the palm swab happen to me again 2 week’s ago. I am randomly chosen for “additional screening” almost every other trip (I travel every week for work). This time, however, the machine came back saying that I had Nitrate (an explosive) on my hands. As the article mentioned, I too had 4 security supervisors come and escort me to a little room. They tore apart my backpack, patted me down and had me undress down to my boxers. Everything was obviously fine and I went on my way(almost missed my flight though). I am a 33 yr old Caucasian male who fly every week. Do I seriously seem like a threat?
    As far as the screeners and causing cancer, I am a bit freaked out now. The problem I see is that how would anyone be able to PROVE to the court that their cancer was directly attributed to the machine? TSA and our government would have a field day with that, claiming that perfectly healthy peopel are unfortunately diagnosed with cancer all the time. They will claim that their is no way to say that the machines are the sole or primary reason that the individual was diagnosed with the disease. Damn government. They always get their way and it’s despicable that there is nothing any of us can do to stop it. :(

       5 likes

    • Kenneth says:

      They had probably tested if their instruments reacted to nitrate just before swabbing you…

      If you miss a business flight because of their faulty procedure, doesn’t that leave them open for a law suit?

         0 likes

  4. Free Larry says:

    Our government insists on “protecting” us. When the thing we need protection from is our government. It’s so ridiculous, most people choose not to look at it. And thus the average guy does nothing about it. He just let’s the government take more and more of his freedom away. Why? Because we think, “Hey, this isn’t really affecting me. This is bad for ‘people’ but it’s not bad for me.” Silly rabbit, I say. You’re half way down the wolf’s throat and you think things are fine because you have cable TV and McDonalds. This is a false sense of security. There are people working really hard every day to take your freedoms away. They work hard!

    Freedom depends upon two things; 1)Constant alertness (you gotta spot who your enemy really is) and 2)Willingness to fight back (you actually have to do something about it. Someone else is not going to save your ass, you have to do it yourself along with like-minded people).

    I agree with the poster above… if we all refuse to go into the microwave oven, the TSA will be forced to shut down their operation. Simple. But it requires us to grow some balls and be willing to refuse.

       13 likes

    • Lou says:

      “Our government insists on “protecting” us. When the thing we need protection from is our government.”

      ALL tyranny is implemented under the guise of “protecting the subjects”. Clearly our “government’ at its highest levels has been subverted and those in control of this great land are in the process of destroying it.

         1 likes

    • Alan Inselberg, CCN says:

      I wish to say “well said” to the poster “Free Larry”

         1 likes

  5. Becky says:

    Why expose us to radiation? A better way to ensure the safety of all passengers in an enclosed area during flight, in my opinion, would be to issue a billy club to every sober adult passenger prior to boarding and collect them as they leave the plane. Would anyone be foolish enough to try to hijack an airline full of armed people? I think not. I do not wish to be violated or exposed to cancer causing radiation. I would prefer a billy club any day.

       7 likes

  6. Don says:

    I stopped flying, I got tired of having to remove my shoes while the items being placed in the baggage compartment is not scanned or even looked at.

       3 likes

  7. heidi says:

    For all you ladies who got a *pleasant* pat down, how nice for you. Not the case for me and my 16 yo daughter. We both felt violated. It was terrible. When you can tell what kind of feminine product I am wearing, it has gotten beyond the 4th amendment.

       15 likes

  8. Eustace Aglo says:

    The TSA theater of the absurd radiation experiment won’t end soon through congressional inaction, lawsuits or the like. It will promptly end when 1 in 4 travelers refuse the scan and demand the pat down. Slow the security monkey show down to a crawl and AIRLINES will see that it is changed or goes away…that’s how it works in America now.

    Forget appeals to the very government that encouraged this and continues to defy restraint. Demanding a pat down is civil disobedience that is safe to do. YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE. I guarantee the pressure on TSA would be orders of magnitude more than any mail campaign to congress could muster. Gum up everything that government does that is an infringement and others will follow you. Men, grow some and step forward. Women, time to prove you are a man’s equal–or better–any day. Let’s see some resistance out there.

       31 likes

    • Jo says:

      I’m still none the wiser as to what the radiation is or its intensity – anyone know?

         3 likes

      • Alan Inselberg, CCN says:

        I am personally not certain either. However if may quote what I read in a “Natural News” article a few months ago by a medical doctor who said that “a full body MRI was equivalent to 56 chest X-RAYS” I would most certainly be very afraid of the TSA full body scan even if it were for argument sake a 1/4 of the dose of a typical full body MRI.

           0 likes

  9. Cydney Strand says:

    I opt for the full body scan each time I fly and although it takes a few minutes extra I have found the agents to be very polite and respectful throughout the process.

       4 likes

  10. a concerned American says:

    It would seem to me that to say “either you submit to the scan, or you submit to the incest, or you don’t fly and you pay $10,000 or go to jail (that is right, this has happened to those who refused the scans/patdowns, at the airport) is

    A) Extortion
    B) No different than rape on the street at gunpoint
    C) Something for which street criminals would be jailed, yet the TSA can hold their heads high and tout what a mighty fine cause they are serving.

    Well, they are not.

    A District Attorney in San Mateo County, CA called it “sexual battery” and promised to press charges as victims stepped forward to his office. He invited people to step forward, on ABC news.

    To subject us to the equivalent of rape or incest is hardly keeping the public safe. It is committing a violent crime, again and again, while we pay for it with our taxes. It also closes the borders, something which only dictatorships do.

    Stop the insanity already! These people need to be locked up, from the top of the ladder down to the bottom. Following orders is no “excuse” to commit a crime.

    To treat people as guilty terrorists until proven innocent, violates basic Constitutional principles. Stop the treason, and stop the violence against your own people, US Government!

    I think it is time for the States to declare their independence from the Feds, break off into separate countries and thus get these crazy people off our back. This has gone just ridiculously far and if the Feds want to call us all terrorists, I say let us turn the tables. Whoever came up with this whacko scheme? They are themselves the terrorists, and so are the ones who implement the plan, from the top of the totem pole to the bottom of the pecking order. Hold them all responsible, cut the purse strings and enough already!

    Is my proposal to declare independence on the State level , a radical idea? You bet, but not nearly as radical—-or violently radicalized—-as the Feds who are raping and coercing the people. It’s time for them to go to jail.

       7 likes

    • Alex says:

      “To subject us to the equivalent of rape or incest is hardly keeping the public safe.”

      Where does the incest part come in? Do they make your family members search you?

         6 likes

      • A Concerned American says:

        You are right, incest was the wrong word to use. Still, you get my point…thanks for pointing this out. I was having brain blank at the moment, searching for the right words but using, in this case, the wrong one. Still, sexual violation is sexual violation. Period, end of story. I don’t care which words are used. The impact on a person is still the same.

           5 likes

  11. J B says:

    A bunch of sheep that is all we are. We allow our government to grope us and radiate us. TSA has never found or stopped anyone considered to be a terrorist. We give up our liberty and freedom for what.

       48 likes

    • SB says:

      Last time I was in line waiting for optional pat down..I could feel an intense heat off of the backscatter machine as I was standing nearby..the air wasn’t hot..room was cool..but skin facing the machine from outside was feeling some kind of heat…nasty.

         8 likes

    • Robin Cohen says:

      Right on!

         1 likes

    • Welcome to the Land of the Lie and the Home of the Slave. We are living in a third-rate fascist banana republic posing as a representative democracy, and with the banks and corporations’ stranglehold on the White House, Senate, House, Supremely-Bought Court, and the very election process itself, things will only get worse.

         10 likes

  12. Bruce N says:

    As a scientist, I will not pass thru these units because they will not even publish the kV of emitted radiation. If it is “low level” as implied…then publish how many kilovolts of emitted radiation comes out of the unit. If it was low level radiation, they would have those numbers published, but they are not.

    Prudence would dictate that avoiding these units is a smart thing.

       54 likes

    • Jo says:

      But kV isn’t a measure of the strength of the radiation! There will be a voltage associated with the component that generates the radiation, but that’s irrelevant – we need to know the power density of the radiation and its wavelength/frequency to know whether it is safe or not.

         4 likes

  13. Zora says:

    The TSA is primarily a psy-op of the american gov’t and needs to be loudly called out as such. This is classic psychological conditioning of the population. This is NOT about making flying safer. Just look at how many people die in car accidents every year and yet no draconian measures are being taken to prevent these deaths.

    Jenni Hul: I would recommend you investigate a “freedom camp” for you and your family. You can live behind barbed wire and enjoy invasive patdowns every single day so you can have the sense of safety you seem to need. The rest of us can deal with the burden of being truly free people.

       23 likes

    • Fol-de-Rol says:

      Zora and all readers here, I have a theory.

      If as you say (and I agree) that this is cultural conditioning, then let us ask a question and “play detective”. First, we had the shoe bomber and had to take off our shoes. Next, we had the liquids (nose juice, anybody?) last of all came the underpants bomber. Warmups, eh? If the Underpants Bomber was followed by TSA patdowns and nude body scans thereafter, then I want to know, please, who planned the deliberated scheme to get us sexually groped at the borders? Was the underpants bomber part of the scheme to culturally condition us all? that is my question.

      I don’t care what an idiot some people may think I am for asserting this question. I think it’s even more idiotic to think that sexually violating three year olds at the border and scanning people for their naked bodies, has anything whatsoever to do with catching terrorists. I also think that the sequence above is darned suspect, and if we don’t ask questions we are being idiots. Sometimes, denial is by far the most dangerous thing that there is.

         3 likes

  14. tamarque says:

    Have to question people’s concern about safety. These TSA’s don’t provide safety and the statistics prove it. The do one things and one thing only–bring the public into a state of submission via humiliating and dangerous tactics.

    The comment made about oxygen is downright silly. We need oxygen to live, but we do not need direct assault by radiation to live. Quite the contrary we need to not be subjected to it. And who is to say what the cumulative exposures amount to on any given individual over time. It is always interesting and suspect when tolerable levels of some toxic material are presented. The corporate authorities who sell these poisons always push for very short term evaluations as if they are the only ones at that single moment in time.

    Well, life doesn’t work that way. Keep abusing the body and it begins to break down. There is the reality of long term exposure and the consequences are often hard to prove 5, 10 or 20 yrs later.

    Every single thing this govt has done in the name of safety has proven to be anything but. Invading our private places, phone calls, emails, and now our body has been an assault on our liberties and more steps toward the creation of a totalitarian government with big brother watching every thing in our lives.

       14 likes

  15. Jo says:

    What radiation do they use?

       2 likes

  16. LawrenceTravers says:

    Homeland is a much a scam as Bush’s “Weapons of Mass Destruction” and “Shock and Awe”. It is a feel good attempt to cover up this governments failed efforts at security. Make sure I don’t have a “shoe bomb” while behind the scenes, undocumented workers are handling bagage and access to runways.

       13 likes

  17. Scott Segal says:

    How about some real numbers on the amount of radiation in REM’s so we know what we are talking about? Why won’t they divulge the exact dosage if it’s so safe? Then people will be able to make an educated decision after a little research. It seems so simple. Somebody should go through with a low level dosimeter and see what is really going on.

       9 likes

  18. Lisa W. says:

    I always request a pat down and the agents always oblige. I have never been mistreated, groped, belittled or touched inappropriately. I do not believe that radiation is safe and opt out whenever possible. I don’t believe that x-rays are “preventative” as in the case of mammograms so I pay for thermography, I don’t get dental x-rays if I can avoide them. Human beings patting down other human beings do not cause cancer, radiation does. And since we’re all not biologically identical, some people may be more suseptable than others. So why risk it if it’s avoidable? The only people who tout the safety of radiation are those who have a financial stake in its continued use. Radiology lobbies are huge contibutors to the cancer treatment scam that we call modern medicine. The less we radiate the less money they make and the less secure their futures are. Pretty simple really, just follow the money trail.

       22 likes

    • Robin Cohen says:

      But why pat down everyone? In Israel the “Gatekeepers’ are actually well trained to spot people likely to be a problem… and they’re accurate without hassling the majority of people in transit.

         4 likes

      • Lisa W. says:

        In this country, agents are trained to spot people who might seem ’suspicious’ but the bleeding hearts all go crazy and call it racial profiling. So TSA training gets trumped by fanaticism. Funny, no 80 year old woman or 5 year old boy has ever carried out a terrorist act yet we support scrutinizing them the same way we would anyone, likely male, who might appear nervous or behaving erratically. In fact, I don’t think women are recruited as suicide bombers.

           3 likes

        • Kari says:

          Lisa, you are sadly misinformed as to female suicide bombers: “Female involvement in terrorist groups is not a new phenomenon. Secular groups began using female suicide terrorism nearly three decades ago.

          Sana’a Youcef Mehaidli, a member of the secular Syrian Social Nationalist Party, conducted the first known female suicide attack in April 1985 when she drove a truck filled with explosives into an Israeli Defense Force convoy, killing two soldiers and injuring another two. In addition, 76 percent of attackers from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, a separatist terrorist group in Turkey, have been women.

          The successful integration of women as suicide terrorists in secular groups led terrorist groups based in religious ideology to begin including women in their operations as well. Al Qaeda and the Taliban have both formed female suicide cells in Afghanistan and Pakistan, according to reports from 2010, culminating in the first female suicide bomber attack in Pakistan on Christmas Day of that year.” source: http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2012/01/female_suicide_bombers.html

             0 likes

      • jackie says:

        Patting everyone eliminates “operator discretion” as they call it – profiling as I know it. I have been opting out of the all airport rays since being misdiagnosed medically and heavily radiated repeatedly over a period of 4 years. With mounting health problems – Dr advised avoid as much as possible. In the past, I opt out, they pat down and clear. Or – when asked why I’m opting out – I point to my large clear plastic bags of prescriptions and say health reasons – and have even been given a cursory pat down and let go.

        I know for fact, they selectively choose who to leave in the old scan line, and who to pull out of that line for the full scan. Had it out with them 2 days ago when they tried to force me and my kids through it. Made the pat down long. Many words exchanged, and basically took a little power in saying “if you dont do this you wont fly” – we were stuck off US mainland. Also seemed the psychological conditioning when the guys says “its safer now, less radiation than regular microwaves and we are all exposed to it everyday with no problems”

        I wound up getting a TSA supervisor who said she was going to address how they talked to me because I am not an idiot and basically dared question the flow of things.
        Another suggestion: if we are mandated to remove our shoes and cant get them back until the pat down and metallic detectors are done — we need paper slippers to walk in.

        Different agents coming up weighing in their thoughts and they refused me getting my pen and paper from a purse already cleared through the xray- to start taking names of the people approaching me. Glad my kids were there to witness it cause if I had been alone who knows how far it would have gone. One got it, and as I called names, she was writing.

           3 likes

  19. Shireen Parsons says:

    The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ratified in 1791:

    “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

    ‘Nuff said. Write it down and keep it with you always. Read it aloud when you refuse to be irradiated or groped.

       16 likes

    • indigo says:

      Try reading the 4th amendment to a TSA agent…….see how that works our for ya.
      If the 4th amendment were still in effect ,we would not be having searches,groping or anything else.
      The Constitution is dead.

         6 likes

  20. Jan Weisel says:

    Body scanners can cause skin cancer so we need to find a better way to detect explosives that doesn’t make people sick or die. Europe isn’t using them because they aren’t safe and we shouldn’t be either.

       20 likes

    • Sylvia Rogers says:

      I fly alot and they are all reporting they have changed the scanners to non-ioning.–a type of radio-frequency.
      What do you think of those?

      Very few airports seem to have the ioning radiation any more or so they say.

         0 likes

    • barry parks says:

      bigbrother is watching!!! i’ll walk before i’ll fly. some tsa put their hands on me there will be severe physical consequences. federal employee or not. they’re all a bunch of wimps and losers.

         1 likes

    • JJM says:

      Explosives or not – I would rather die free than enslaved by overzelous cautionary security which treats everone as a terrorist. Let us chose wether to fly a TSA secured or independent contractor secured airline.
      I refuse to fly unless there is no other transport option. I will refuse trains, planes, sporting events, concerts, etc when this invasion of privacy, dignity and health becomes more widespread.

         7 likes

    • Each and every time I must fly, I refuse any machine but a metal detector. If I then must be patted down, so be it. I am usually taken aside, by women, and I use this time to educate them about the x-ray and body-scanner technology dangers, So far I have only asked them to think before they let their children or grandchildren go through this. But I’m thinking I should tell them of the cancer-clusters now showing up in the unprotected workers using these machines at the airports. When enough people politely decline this nazi-tech, and a whole bunch of slow-downs naturally occur around our great country’s airports, maybe then these “governators” will get the message ::: : we are the citizens, therefore we are in charge. Blessings all

         5 likes

  21. Ingrid F. says:

    I fly every year, domestically or abroad. Since 2001/05 I have had hip prosthetics, and was required to undergo pat downs, which required a female TSA worker, and delay for my partner and myself. Last year, 2011, I was rquired to use the the airport x-ray machine in Houston Tx.
    My processing was the fasted I ever encountered, I did not object, but was delighted all was so efficient. Following this experience I researched the internet for ill effect from radiation and did not come up with much. For my own convenience and my family’s, I prefer the x-ray at the airport.

       0 likes

  22. fiona westby says:

    Also Dr. Rosedale refuses to go through them. I was stopped in Manchester, UK and was told if i did not go through that i could not go any further and would not be able to fly, I even said i was pregnant and they still gave no other option.

       10 likes

    • Anita Obermeier says:

      The same thing happened to me at Manchaster, UK, airport. I protested and let them have it, but they just told me that I could not fly then. I always refuse and also don’t want my family to go through it. Thank God, they don’t have any of those scanners in the Munich airport where I usually fly in. Munich also uses a little metal detecting wand, and if they have to check a traveler, there is not that intrusive groping down one’s pants.
      A month ago in Albuquerque, I told the agent that our whole family was opting out and when that meant they had to pull five agents off other lanes in the busy 7 am time slot, they offered us all to go through the metal detector. They had a pow-pow, but then decided that we all had to get patted down as well because I used the phrase “opt out.” It seemed surreal to me, and now I am not using the words “opt out” anymore, as those TSA agents seemed to imply if one said one preferred not to go through the scanner, they would let one go through the metal detector. I have not tried it out yet.

         1 likes

  23. joyce west says:

    It is dangerous to go the xray machines and demeaning to do the pat-downs. In addition some of the TSA people are unbelievably rude (as in the Vermont international airport. They treat you like a thug or terrorist for no reason. They go through everything your are carrying. My cellphone disappeared with all my contacts….which I had foolishly not put into my computer and many are lost forever.
    Fantastic experience.
    Next time I visit my Vermont family we will drive up. It’s worth the time.

       14 likes

  24. shorebird says:

    For further information regarding this technology, good comments to several ProPublica articles on this topic provide links to detailed information on ionizing radiation AND alternative technologies that are more flexible, and do not use physiologically damaging X-rays as sensors.

    Some people appear to know far more detail than the govt (the TSA in particular) and are not in favor of their latest decisions.

    Right now, the only option we have is to Opt-out, as ridiculous and invasive as that may be.

       9 likes

  25. Amanda Grace says:

    My three children, age 15 recently traveled by airplane and were told they must go through the machine. Apparently the regular metal detectors were down or something. They were scanning everyone through the backscatter machine without giving them any other option. Of course I would have insisted on all of us having a pat down, but they didn’t know to ask (nor did they want a confrontation since no options were offered). I was furious when I heard, as I don’t even allow dental x rays.

       11 likes

  26. Jack Lucero says:

    I think this is too Much!

       4 likes

  27. joyce west says:

    It is both dangerous if you go through the xray machine and demeaning if you choose a pat down.
    There has to be a better way.

       9 likes

  28. Jenni Hul says:

    I’m concerned about your portrayal of this equipment as dangerous. The reasons you cited are not based in fact. They are alarmist, inflammatory and at worst could potentially cost hundreds or even thousands of people their lives.

    They do emit low levels of radiation but cannot, and should not even be compared at all, to the kinds of xrays that are taken of localized areas of the body. That’s like saying a butcher knife can hurt you because guns are dangerous. They are two entirely different animals.

    Dr Dong Kim is partially correct in that there isn’t a totally safe level of radiation exposure, but he misleads when he neglects to mention we are bathed in it constantly. Much higher levels. Oxygen can kill you too but you would die without it.

    The statement that the machines needed 3500 maintenance calls doesn’t meaning anything unless you know exactly what the calls were for. They could have had nothing to do with calibration, output or safety. That is one hell of an accusation with viturally no info.

       1 likes

    • Jenni Hul says:

      Cont…

      The public backlash you speak of is BECAUSE OF inflammatory commentary like yours, Dr Mercola’s and other advocacy groups, who, if their articles are anything like yours, are also full of falsehoods and misinformation.

      Your commentary about them being ineffective because they don’t detect powdered exposives is ludicrous. They are designed for detecting MANY of the more common threats that face air travelers. They were invented to detect dangerous objects that COULD BE HIDDEN in clothing, shoes and superficially on the body. Powdered explosives are only one of those threats. Who wrote this article?

         1 likes

      • Jenni Hul says:

        Cont…

        I realize my comments will probably not make it past your ‘moderation’ but these issues of intentional misinformation MUST BE confronted.

        If you have serious concerns over radiation, exposure and safety, please educate yourselves BEFORE you cause irreparable damage to the reputation of technologies that may literally be the difference between life and death of hundreds of humans. I suggest you seek information from actual radiation experts. Dr Mercola is not one.

        You can’t hide from that karma…

           2 likes

        • Andy says:

          And I suppose you still believe 911 was conducted by terrorists armed with box cutters and WTC 7 fell on its own.

             8 likes

        • P.W. Combes says:

          Touche, Jenni. A little research brought this article to my browser:

          http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2010/nov/18/john-pistole/tsa-administrator-claims-new-body-scanners-emit-mu/

          Thank you for your critical thinking and voice.

             1 likes

        • Evits says:

          Jeni: You say “low level” of radiation. How low? Do you now? Does anyone know for sure? No, no one knows because they are not forced to publish it. This is a free country, more or less, so you are welcome to take a risk and go through these untested unproven machines (IF you say they are “tested”, then by whom, and where are the results published in a peer reviewed publication? ). I will opt put and so will my family. Pat downs are a bit inconvenient but harmless. Having been pat down five times during the past year my experience with the people of TSA doing the pat downs have been good so far. they did they job courteously and professionally.

             4 likes

        • Carol W. says:

          To Jenni Hul – I would be interested to know YOUR qualifications to say that all these people are wrong about their opinions regarding this technology? Do you know something that YOU aren’t telling us regards this or are you making an assumption based on all the information that everyone else has regarding this technology?
          With other governments making these same claims that the technology is dangerous and you do have qualified people that know about this technology saying the same thing, what else would anyone think? They can only go by the experts on it and if they say it is dangerous and wasn’t properly tested, then what else would they believe regards this? As I said, what are YOUR qualifications and if you have other information on it, please let us know about it. Thank You.

             0 likes

    • C. Dickerson says:

      You obviously do not understand the differences between types of radiation. The machines emit IONIZING radiation, the kind that causes cancer.
      While it is true that we are “bathed in radiation”, that is mostly UV radiation from the sun, and while we can get melanoma from sun exposure, it is increasingly because we use sunscreen which blocks the healthy UV radiation which protects against the bad UV while allowing unhealthy doses of the BAD UV radiation.
      Your comments neglect to take into account all the info provided in the article. You are illogical, irrational and deceptive.
      I have been lied to at the checkpoints-those idiot screeners don’t have have degrees in radiation technology or any accurate information. I have worked in the field for many years, and I refuse to go through the machines. The article is accurate. YOU are NOT.

         16 likes

  29. Rebecca Rens says:

    The TSA needs to stop using unsafe x-ray machines. For over a year they have been denying a court order. As I would rather be safe ,I would be willing to a full body pat down. I do not mind having my space invaded to keep my country safe from terrorist bombs.

       2 likes

  30. Gloria Foster says:

    You will receive what you put out toward others and toward the earth and all of its inhabitants. This is the natural law. Demonstrate kindness. Demonstrate reason. Show care and concern for others as you would want for yourself and that is what you will someday receive..

       3 likes

Leave a Reply

Comment Policy:
ANH-USA provides a comment forum for our readers to share their constructive thoughts and criticisms about our newsletter articles and engage in civil debate with other readers. All comments are pre-moderated regardless of author. We never censor comments based on political or ideological point of view. We only remove those comments that are abusive, off-topic, use foul language, include personal attacks, or are otherwise discourteous and uncivil. Please do not post comments in ALL CAPS; on the internet this is considered "shouting."

 characters available

Follow us on...