Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Full Body Xray Machines

The following letter expresses concerns that some scientists at UCSF have concerning the possible harm that the use of the new full-body xray machines may cause.  If you believe the common quoted concept that the new machines are as safe as using a cell phone, that may not be true.  There may be a reason that the TSA machine operators are forbidden to wear xray dose monitors at work.

Letter here.


MAX Redline said...

Basically, there's no logical reason to deploy the scanners - unless they're one of Obama's "shovel-ready" projects. While they do expose passengers to considerably more radiation than TSA claims, health concerns are not a valid reason for removal.

At the same time, no valid reason appears to exist for deployment.

The Transportation Security Administration says the amount of radiation from scans amounts to about a thousandth of the amount a person receives from a standard chest X-ray.
Peter Rez, a physics professor at Arizona State University in Tempe, did his own calculations and found the exposure to be about one-fiftieth to one-hundredth the amount of a standard chest X-ray. He calculated the risk of getting cancer from a single scan at about 1 in 30 million, "which puts it somewhat less than being killed by being struck by lightning in any one year," he told me.
While the risk of getting a fatal cancer from the screening is minuscule, it's about equal to the probability that an airplane will get blown up by a terrorist, he added. "So my view is there is not a case to be made for deploying them to prevent such a low probability event."

Bobkatt said...

That's a good perspective but you have to remember that the TSA also claimed that the machines do not store any images and somehow 100 of them ended up on the internet.

MAX Redline said...

Machines don't store images; people store images.

As I mentioned, however, no valid reason appears to exist for deployment.

Robin said...

there are a lot of people who are starting to say "enough is enough already"

The TSA always reacts after the fact same as the analogy of locking the barn door after the horse got out.

But if we get into this in the future cavity searches which is the only thing left, then basically we are saying that the terrorists have won or at the very least, gave them a challenge like a hacker who hacks into a system solely to see if it can be done.