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Airport body scanners


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#46 Sharklover

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Posted 26 January 2012 - 06:04 PM

I maintain that the issue is one of absence of appropriate safety data, and would prefer not to depend on the TSA's safety statements of their own procedures. The authors of the letter addressing concerns regarding the safety studies done on the scanners currently in use include a Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry and Biophysics at UCSF, with expertise in imaging; an internationally known cancer expert from UCSF; and two other professors with expertise in imaging and Xray Crystallography.

While it is agreed that the total dose of radiation is not high, I draw your attention to the following paragraph of the letter I provided a link to above to explain why the current safety studies on these cancer is not adequate and many people would be well advised to avoid them until the studies are done in proper fashion:

We are still greatly concerned that not all tissues are equally exposed to the X-ray
doses. We all now agree (see HHS letter) that the skin and adjacent (critical) tissues
are especially exposed. Indeed, a recent paper (Kaufman, L. & Carlson, J.W., J.
Transp. Secur. vol. 4, pp. 73-94, 2011, Fig. 5), as well as our Figure 1 below (taken
from Peter Rez) show quantitatively how dramatic this is for this energy of X-rays.
There are several potential consequences: First ocular (corneal) lens cells never
regenerate in one's lifetime, thus are at risk for cataract and other problems. Second,
there are now data that, contrary to past medical belief, X-rays will induce skin
localized melanomas (Fink et al., Radiat. Res. Vol. 164, pp 701-710, 2005; (Eliason et
al. Arch. Dermatol. Vol. 143, pp. 1409-1412, 2007). These are typically not counted
under the criteria used of 'lethal cancers induced', under the criteria that skin cancers
are rarely lethal cancers, simply because they can be seen, and if detected in time can
be surgically removed. Third, the recent paper by Brenner (Brenner, D.J., Radiology,
vol. 259, pp. 6-10, 2011) again emphasizes that a significant fraction of the population
(~5%) is potentially at risk for increased sensitivity to X-rays. This fraction includes
people undergoing chemotherapy, previous history of cancer, germ line mutations in
DNA repair genes and people who are immunosuppressed. Fourth, there is likewise the
issue of rescanning a subject after removing a belt, or an absorptive pad which would
double, treble, or quadruple the dose received by the subject.

-----------------------------------------

When it comes to my health, absence of data is not a place which gives me comfort when the theory is scientifically sound.

Edited by Sharklover, 26 January 2012 - 06:07 PM.

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#47 Scubatooth

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Posted 27 January 2012 - 07:20 AM

Any "facts" coming from TSA are questionable at best, lies more then likely. They won't allow independent testing of the machines. John Hopkins "study"doesn't count as that wasn't a production scanner but one pieced together from parts laying around. Till there is independent peer reviewed testing I won't go anywhere near them.

Then consider tsa bans it's own employees from wearing dosimeters raises enough red flag by itself to make me avoid them.

The radiation is focused on the skin so the dose is much higher. Again there is no Safe level of radiation exposure. Then in my observations of the scanners more then 2/3rds of people who went through the scanner were patted down so defeats the purpose in the first place.

The pat downs are a whole other debate that would violate the TOS in a flash.
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#48 Scubatooth

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Posted 27 January 2012 - 07:26 AM

Also the argument of if you don't like tsa take a bus, doesn't hold any water. Google VIPR as there on buses, boats, trains, ferries, etc as well and doing searches without warrant or reasonable cause / suspicion.
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#49 fairfield59

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Posted 27 January 2012 - 09:18 AM

Well, how about some more perspective?

"Rebecca Smith-Bindman, a radiologist at the University of California, San Francisco, estimated that the backscatters would lead to only six cancers over the course of a lifetime among the approximately 100 million people who fly every year. David Brenner, director of Columbia University’s Center for Radiological Research, reached a higher number — potentially 100 additional cancers every year. But even without the machines, Smith-Bindman said, the same 100 million people would develop 40 million cancers over the course of their lifetimes. In this sea of cancer cases, it would be impossible to identify the patients whose cancer is linked to the backscatter machines."

Correct me if I'm wrong, but 100 cancers out of 40 million cancers could be caused by these machines? Statistically insignificant.

I'm not saying anyone is wrong with their personal opinion of the risk/reward of having these machines in airports. My opinion is that they are worth having, and present a significant reward for an insignificant risk.

BTW, I have worked in nuclear power plants since 1980, and continue to do so. I have helped build them, run them, and take them apart. Being around radiation every day gives you a healthy respect for it and the damage it can do if you aren't cautious. The only problem I'm having from a career in nuclear poweris finding a pair of eyeglasses with a third lens.

I'm not concerned at all with using these scanners on myself or family.

#50 peterbj7

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Posted 27 January 2012 - 10:03 AM

Just wanted to try and confuse you with some facts


Are these "facts" given by the same people who said that film, whether exposed or unexposed", is unaffected by the X-ray machines they use? Because that latter statement is very far from the truth.

#51 WreckWench

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Posted 27 January 2012 - 11:02 AM

A few more comments from WW's peanut gallery...

First off I think Gerry was being funny with his comment and I took it as such.

It has however prompted people to dig a bit further and find more relevant information aka facts if you will. That has increased the value of this discussion. :thankyou:

And the best part is after everyone's awareness has been elevated and people decide for themselves what they believe...WE ALL HAVE A CHOICE...simply avoid the machine and do the physical pat down or save time and go thru the machine!

I am NOW choosing the pat down and will probably continue to do so as I am at risk for skin cancer so need to avoid all unnecessary exposure since we all know I'm not giving up diving any time soon! However before this thread I was using the machine and tuned the whole topic out due to the TSA rants until some real info started being posted about the health concerns.

So keep up the GOOD discussion and we'll all learn. Pls CONTINUE to refrain from acting as if people are stupid if they do not agree with you (even if you are right) the issue lies in being unkind and not in being 'right or wrong'.

Of nuff said...

We now return you to this discussion already in progress from where I just interrupted it... ;)

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#52 Mermaid Lady

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Posted 27 January 2012 - 06:11 PM

No worries girl...you are not the only person that is uncomfortable with that aspect...I guess I don't care as much about that as I do the health aspects. Then again I don't look as trim and hot as you do my dear! ;)


Thanks Kamala!:thankyou:
(I have to work at it but it is worth it!)
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#53 Mermaid Lady

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Posted 27 January 2012 - 06:36 PM

BTW, I have worked in nuclear power plants since 1980, and continue to do so.


What plant or plants? Do you do outage work?

I do risk analysis at STP myself.
Cheers,
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#54 fairfield59

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 10:54 AM


BTW, I have worked in nuclear power plants since 1980, and continue to do so.


What plant or plants? Do you do outage work?

I do risk analysis at STP myself.


Started at Naval Prototypes in the early 80's, Ballston Spa, NY. Nuclear powered aircraft carrier for the rest of my enlistment. Started up Shoreham Nuclear Power Station in the late 80's, and shut it down just as fast. Obtained my Reactor Operator License late 90's, moved to training in 2002 to get off shift work. Simulator Instructor at Salem Generating Station.
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#55 Mermaid Lady

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 11:38 AM

BTW, I have worked in nuclear power plants since 1980, and continue to do so.


What plant or plants? Do you do outage work?

I do risk analysis at STP myself.


Started at Naval Prototypes in the early 80's, Ballston Spa, NY. Nuclear powered aircraft carrier for the rest of my enlistment. Started up Shoreham Nuclear Power Station in the late 80's, and shut it down just as fast. Obtained my Reactor Operator License late 90's, moved to training in 2002 to get off shift work. Simulator Instructor at Salem Generating Station.


Shoreham, that a sad story that was!

Edited by Mermaid Lady, 30 January 2012 - 11:42 AM.

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#56 PlatypusMan

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 01:53 PM

New, TSA-friendly device to scan bodies at the airport has beeen announced.

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