Congressman Calls Scanner Safety Into Question

Discussion in 'Travel Security' started by Captain Oveur, Aug 31, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. Captain Oveur
    Original Member

    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    From the article:

    - 250 Backscatter machines in use
    - 3,778 reports of malfunction in the past year

    That means there are, on average, a little over 10 malfunctions a day (according to the article, only two percent of those malfunctions led to checking the radiation levels).
     
  2. VeryGoodPoints

    VeryGoodPoints Silver Member

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    Backscatter machines have been banned in Europe due to health concerns.
     
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  3. thesterlingtraveler

    thesterlingtraveler Gold Member

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    I always opt-out of going through one of those things. I don't think they were adequately tested before being used and I think that it is harmful to our health. Getting a 'TSA groping' is a lot better than cancer or (at my age) becoming sterile.
     
  4. anabolism
    Original Member

    anabolism Gold Member

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    I always opt-out. Why add risk unnecessarily? And the risk may likely not be as low as they say. Back in 2010 several University of California physicists raised serious concerns regarding how the risk was assessed, specifically, the assumptions regarding absorption. See their short letter. More recently, a number of other concerns were raised, such as how the machines are evaluated for proper functioning. See this report.
     
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  5. sellthesedownfalls

    sellthesedownfalls Silver Member

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    I am a medical physicist, and one function of my job is to ensure that our radiation-producing devices are operated by licensed operators and are giving appropriate doses to patients according to a physician's prescription. Departments and hospitals can be fined huge amounts of money (appropriately so!) for giving inappropriate doses or exposing employees to doses above a certain threshold per unit time.

    These scanning devices in airports are designed to give very low doses, but there is no independent check of output and dose by a medical physicist and there is no justification for the use of radiation-producing devices on all of the flying public. In addition, TSA agents are not licensed x-ray techs and do not wear dosimeters to monitor their own personal risk. I always opt out of backscatter x-ray scanners.
     
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  6. YULtide

    YULtide Gold Member

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    Hmmm, I'll have to revise my reasons for opting out. I really haven't been particularly worried before about the health risks, but decided when these were introduced that I would opt out for two different reasons. (1) because I just felt they crossed the line in security theatre, which only continues to escalate as compliance allows. And (2) because they are a violation of my personal dignity as a human being. I don't get naked for anyone except my doctor and my wife.
     

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