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Safety of Full Body Airport Scanners

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  • Safety of Full Body Airport Scanners

    The jury is still out in the medical community, with various people siding either for or against these new machines. Here's some relevant information about radiation doses associated with the x ray backscatter machines:

    To quell concerns about the safety of scanners, the FDA has created a Web page dedicated to providing information to the public about body scanners. In a statement, Daniel Kassiday, an engineer at the FDA, pointed out that the "dose from 1 screening with a general-use x-ray security screening system is so low that it presents an extremely small risk to any individual."

    A person receives more radiation from naturally occurring sources . . . than from 1 screening.

    "A person receives more radiation from naturally occurring sources in less than an hour of ordinary living than from 1 screening with any general-use x-ray security system," he explained.

    Mahadevappa Mahesh, MS, PhD, associate professor of radiology and medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, agrees. "The radiation dose from a single backscatter system is very low," he said in an interview. "A single backscatter scan is equivalent to about 30 minutes of natural background radiation or about 4 to 5 minutes of air travel."

    "A person would need to undergo 1000 to 2000 backscatter scans to receive the radiation dose equivalent to a single medical chest x-ray dose," he added.

    Dr. Mahesh pointed out that along with other regulatory agencies, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission recommends an annual limit to the public of 1000 microsieverts (ÁSv) of radiation from all sources. In addition, it recommends an annual limit of 250 ÁSv from any single source. The dose from backscatter scans might be as low as 0.05 ÁSv.

    Thus, at a range of 0.05 to 0.10 ÁSv, the 250 limit would be reached only if a person undergoes 2500 to 5000 scans per year. That is highly improbable for any traveler, Dr. Mahesh noted.

    Dr. Mahesh also does not believe that there is an increased risk for skin cancer, which was one of the points raised by the UCSF experts in their letter to the White House. "The actual time of the beam on the person's skin surface is a fraction of a second, because the entire scanning pattern is completed in 8 to 15 seconds," he said. "The letter introduced unnecessary fear to the general public."

    Current calculations indicate that backscatter scans are safe for the public at large, even infants and children, pregnant woman, and those with genetically based hypersensitivity to radiation, he said.

    Dr. Mahesh emphasized that in medical imaging, radiation delivery systems must be tested and the radiation dose verified after any maintenance or upgrade. "The same is true for these systems," he said. It is essential to establish routine maintenance and quality-assurance programs that involve trained professionals to verify the radiation dose delivered by the backscatter systems, he added.
    The millimeter wave technology, which is currently being advanced but is not yet prevalent, is not associated with any radiation dangers.

    One concern about these backscatter machines, is cancer of the skin and testes, as the skin absorbs most of the radiation, and the testes are covered in a thin skin layer.

    There have been no cases of cancer attributed as of yet, to these machines, but some statisticians say that it is inevitable, given the frequent and overwhelming use of this technology.
    Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

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  • #2
    i went through one at jfk no problem i thought there would be abig deal cause shit i read on the internet andw hatnot and they took some guys pants off in front of me i was like here we go lolo. but at jfk it was easy as breathing for me i went through i look at them and put my hands up like getting ready for a search or something lol and they were just like your all set.

    same thing in istanbul went through it fine, if i get cancer oh well i dont wanna live forever anyway
    "did you ask me to consider dick with you??" blooming tianshi lotus


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