TSA Attempts to Cover Up Cancer Threat From Its Airport X-ray Machines

November 29, 2011
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rapiscanForget the embarrassment of your private parts being seen by strangers. The scanners can cause cancer—and TSA is trying to keep you from knowing about it.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) uses two types of body scanners. The backscatter machines are of particular concern because these X-ray scanners emit low levels of radiation and can cause cancer. The European Union has even put a moratorium on the scanners in light of the cancer threats—member states have been told not to install scanners until scientific assessment of risks has been carried out, and they will be banned completely in April if experts find them dangerous—but the US has so far swept the safety issues under the carpet.

According to a ProPublica/PBS NewsHour investigation, up to 100 US airplane passengers could get cancer from the machines each year. As reported by Natural News over a year ago, some noted scientists think that the risk is actually far higher than this because of the particular way that these machines operate, and they wrote TSA with their concerns. They described how the majority of the machine’s energy is delivered to the skin and the underlying tissue—not distributed throughout the volume of the entire body—so the dose to the skin may be dangerously high. This means that the ionizing radiation from the naked body scanners may pose a much higher risk of cancer than one might be assumed from the total radiation emissions, an observation that has so far been totally ignored.

Of course, the backscatter machines violate the longstanding principle that humans shouldn’t be X-rayed at all unless there is medical benefit.

It should be noted that each exposure to radiation is additive, so frequent flyers are at significantly greater risk. According to 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…and there is no need to incur any extra radiation when there is an alternative.”

Through a regulatory loophole, airport X-ray scanners do not receive oversight because they are not used for medical purposes. In fact, the FDA decided not to hold a public comment period on the scanners and, spurred on by a heavy lobbying campaign, allowed the machines to fall under the voluntary standards set by a nonprofit group that is heavily influenced by industry. Industry was also allowed to do the testing on its own machines.

After the release of the ProPublica report, TSA Administrator John Pistole agreed to conduct a new independent study of the health effects of backscatters. But now the TSA is refusing to honor its commitment to conduct that safety study. At a recent Senate hearing, Pistole claimed that a draft report on the machines by Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general (IG) might make an independent study unnecessary.

The IG’s report has not yet been released, but based on a summary received by ProPublica there is concern that the report does not in fact independently assess the safety of the machines, but merely assesses how well the TSA is inspecting, maintaining, and operating them!

Forcing millions of people through these scanners at airports without conducting a proper safety assessment—especially in light of known cancer concerns and warnings of concerned scientists—is a violation of their rights as well as a public safety risk.

30 Responses to “TSA Attempts to Cover Up Cancer Threat From Its Airport X-ray Machines”

  1. Alan8 says:

    Yet another corporate outrage from the corruption of OUR government by the 1%.

    There are just TOO MANY of these outrages for the average citizen to fight them all! This pervasive corruption must be addressed POLITICALLY.

    There are two feasible courses of action citizens can take:

    1. Direct: The Occupy Movement is in the process of formulating a list of demands that address this corruption and other issues that our corporate-financed politicians prefer to ignore.

    2. Indirect: The Green Party doesn’t accept corporate money and represents CITIZENS’ interests. Your Green vote sends a message to the two corporate-funded parties that We The People are fed up with the corruption, and the degradation of our lives for corporate profit.

    This message is sent even if the Green you vote for doesn’t win.

       1 likes

    • Alan8 says:

      So how long is this comment going to be “awaiting moderation”? Maybe, you didn’t like putting the corporate outrages in context??

         0 likes

  2. Stan says:

    Not to give the TSA any ideas, but a terrorist could just carry a backpack bomb into a airline, train, subway or bus terminal and kill hundreds without even passing through security. Airport “security” is nothing but a dog-and-pony show that does nothing to make the public safer, but it makes someone a lot of money.

       0 likes

  3. Noxrayforme says:

    Don’t go thru them. DEMAND the human touch ONLY. EVERY.TIME.YOU.FLY. This will surely overload the TSA agents. Causing back log, long lines, frustrated passengers and those costly xray machines to sit idle. They will re-think QUICK. Or use OTHER modes of transportation to travel. Sends a message very quickly to the powers that control us.

       1 likes

  4. deenie says:

    In the USA, politics trumps science. There is no compassion at all for the people. The USA is ruled by the rogue elements of society, basically psychopaths with no conscience.

       0 likes

  5. David Pinto says:

    I am a health professional and I and many of my colleagues, male and female, are now refusing the scanners and are opting for the pat down. No one is forcing us into these machines. The pat down is a choice. Yes, it slows your passage through by a few more minutes and it’s not exactly fun. The TSA agents who I encountered were very professional and kept good boundaries, though I have heard stories where the touch was a bit rough as in “I’m going to teach you a lesson so you don’t keep asking for these.” I explain in a very non-confrontative or defensive way that the evidence is not in on these things and that there may be real long term danger down the line.

       1 likes

  6. Jean Brinkman says:

    Go early, get “frisked”! I didn’t find it too offensive and would rather do that. I found I was the ONLY one making that request and everyone else was zapped. Take a stand. Speak out. Of course it is bad for the body. We don’t need a committee for that report, just common sense.

       2 likes

  7. anami says:

    One alternative is to get the security screening that zips you through just the metal detector, the TSA Trusted Traveller Program:
    http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/defenseandsecurity/a/tsartprogram.htm

       0 likes

  8. Bobette Jane says:

    Opt-out! I fly frequently, ALWAYS opt out of the X-ray screening, and never have had an invasive pat-down. The women TSA employees have been respectful and professional.

       2 likes

  9. Diane Birmingham says:

    This is business as usual for our medical industrial complex now linked up with our military industrial complex…objective research has gone out the window. WE do not want to HEAR the TRUTH!! What can we do when our lawmakers are only looking out for corporate interests? OCCUPY WS!

       0 likes

  10. R M Flores says:

    I have read so many natural health articles describing the dangers of these scanners at our airports. What is also really annoying to me is the TSA people making remarks like, “It’s perfectly safe”. “The dosage is minimal”. “There is no harm, really”. “Most everyone goes through them”. People need to learn to be firm and refuse to be x-rayed by those machines.

       2 likes

  11. Joyce West says:

    I am becoming more convinced daily and from now on will go for the pat-down. I
    I never had a problem with it but the scanners seem ti be so “taken for granted”
    these days that I didn’t refuse them until now.

    Please keep me posted.

    Thank you.

    Joyce West

       0 likes

  12. Mary says:

    Unfortunately the American people have become too complacent about so many things and especially about their civil rights, that they won’t resort to a public outcry about the TSA. I am amazed at the numbers of people who still continue to fly in spite of the fact that information from alternative media has given plenty of warnings about these xray machines, so I don’t know what it will take to get them concerned.
    I decided I would never fly again after I learned of the dangers of those machines, plus the fact that I refuse to allow anyone to touch my body inappropriately, so that means I don’t do airports any more. I’m not playing their games and allowing them to control me, as so many people keep on doing. And many of my family and friends tell me that I’m only punishing myself by not flying overseas to visit relatives, but I believe in standing on principles. Somewhere along the line you have to take a stand, if not now, when?

       1 likes

  13. Cheryl says:

    This just needs to stop right now. The American people have already made their resentment known about this. I haven’t flown since May of 2005, and I don’t see doing this again any time soon in light of this disgusting practice. Israel (who has been under more terrorist threat than we can know) won’t even allow the use of these things. People have been expressing their fears regarding these machines and cancer and now thanks to Pro-Publica, the cat is definitely out of the bag. Time to bombard our congressmen once again regarding this. AOL has already reported that the congressman instrumental in setting up the TSA is already grieved that he had any part in it and wants to have this privatized–as if that is any kind of solution. The American people do NOT want the TSA. Get rid of it.

       2 likes

  14. Dr. Richard Edlich says:

    I am opposed to the TSA screening of consumers at the airports. A safe exam with powder-free gloves can be accomplished safely without endangering the patients life.

       2 likes

  15. Jay Booth says:

    I can’t fathom how in Europe, something like this is addressed, whereas in United States, because there’s so much egotism and arrogance nothing gets done, and the people pay in the end. There are days I’m so glad I don’t have kids.

       2 likes

  16. Gary Wade says:

    TSA personnel working around the x-ray machines for checked and carry-on luggage and passenger scanners do not even wear radiation dosimeters! Dosimeters are required in other federal agencies around any equipment that uses or produces x-ray radiation. TSA employees will never be able to show that cancers that they may develop in later years might have had an origin in workplace radiation exposure. Lack of measurement of radiation exposure also derails future studies of the health impact of TSA procedures.

       0 likes

  17. Azgirl7 says:

    Whenever somthing like this, including so-called Smart Electric Meters, GMO foods, vaccines and drugs are “safety tested” by the entities who are pushing the technology on the public, I refuse to trust it. Only when TRUE independent testing, NOT sponsored by the creators or their minions, has confirmed the safety will I have an ounce of confidence in it. Also when they have to use lawyer discovered “loopholes” in laws to snow the public, you know something is very wrong with their agenda.

    How sick that our society never does the right thing anymore. Waiving GMO environmental studies, not testing nuclear radiation levels, not labeling foods is the warning signs that there is much to hide. When they don’t want to find, they don’t look.

    Mr. Pestole can now go back on his committment to independently test the machines because ‘the DHS inspector general” did tests,( not on the radiation safety but just the operation and maintanence)? They just don’t GET IT: We no longer trust the government to act in OUR best interest!! WE THE PEOPLE need to stand up in a massive show of NON COMPLIANCE! When will we stop letting our government hurt us? When will we say NO MORE????

       1 likes

  18. AnneOnymous says:

    Fly now… Die later.

       1 likes

  19. Nora Edwards says:

    As a medical professional I have found the use of these machines highly questionable . I do not believe they provide the security claimed and have grave concerns about the training and skills used to operate them. If it takes years of training to be certified to do x-rays in the hospital setting why is it suddenly safe for a low paid person off the street to man similar machines?I suspect radiation scatter to anyone near the machines including the people operating them. I believe there will be a number of TSA agents and frequent fliers who will have skin cancer or other cancers in the very near future.

       2 likes

    • valleygirl says:

      I agree….and what about the risk of birth defects to unsuspecting moms to be? Or infertility? There is so much of this that can affect our future generations and it’s so sad that no one takes it seriously enough!

         1 likes

    • Diane Achez-Bush says:

      Thank you for your honest viewpoint as a professional in the medical world.

         1 likes

  20. Suzanne says:

    This is unbelieveable that office paid by the government are allowed to lie to the public. There needs to be oversight of all of these groups especially the TSA, the FDA, the USDA, the EPA…

       1 likes

    • C. Andrews says:

      Oversight? They need to all be abolished!

         1 likes

    • Mike88 says:

      I agree an oversight committee of Dr’s and Scientists that specialize in X-Ray equipment needs to take a good close look at these machines andd the Department of Homeland Security as well as Peneta nees to be hels legally liable for anybody that is injured by being forced throught hese machines. The department of Homeland Insecurity, the FDA, EPA, TSA, and many other agencies need to be abolished. That is why I am voting for Ron Paul in 2012.

         0 likes

    • sol says:

      I agree 200 % with Suzanne. Who let these agencies do what they are doing?.
      Everybody must adhere to the rule, no if or buts..
      This is as bad as those Smart Meters that power company is choking to us
      without telling us anything.

      What does it take to make TSA act responsibly ?

         0 likes

      • steamdwarf says:

        TSA responsibly? please – they are part of the current administrations steamroller agenda to smother individual rights and bring jackboots back into vogue.

           0 likes

    • Mushroom Mike says:

      The Terrorists are laughing………Americans in positions of power, do more harm to the American people than they ever will. After all what can sheople do to those in power?

         0 likes

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