Friday, December 17, 2010

More On The Health Risks Of Naked Body Scanners (Dec. 15, 2010) By Bob Livingston

More On The Health Risks Of Naked Body Scanners

December 15, 2010 by Bob Livingston 

More On The Health Risks Of Naked Body Scanners

The Government's line that the Transportation and Security Administration's naked body scanners expose travelers to harmless amounts of radiation is being revealed as a lie as more and more mainstream scientists, researchers and physicians begin to issue reports and opinions based on new research.

We covered some initial reports here. But in April, a group of researchers from the University of California, San Francisco wrote to President Barack Obama's science czar, John P. Holdren, expressing their "serious concerns about the potential health risks of the recently adopted whole body backscatter X-ray airport security scanners." It's a letter the mainstream media — which constantly parrots the TSA line on the scanners — has almost totally ignored.

The researchers were John Sedat, Ph.D., professor emeritus in biochemistry and biophysics, Marc Shuman, M.D., UCSF professor and a cancer expert and David Agard, Ph.D., and Robert Stroud, Ph.D., professors, X-ray crystallographers, imaging experts and members of the National Academy of Sciences.

The TSA claims the dose the machines emit is comparable to the amount of cosmic radiation exposure that all airline travelers receive, or about the same as a chest X-ray. But in theletter, the researchers point out that the scanners deliver low beam energy to the skin and underlying tissue. So while the dose of radiation received might be safe if distributed over the entire body, the dose to the skin and tissue may be dangerously high.

Not only that, the team points out that there is no independent safety data available on the scanners, nor has the relevant radiation quantity been characterized by the Food and Drug Administration's top radiation experts.

So the researchers raise the following concerns about the scanners:

  • Older travelers are at risk from the mutagenic effects of the X-rays due to melanocyte aging.
  • Some female travelers are especially sensitive to mutagenesis-provoking radiation leading to breast cancer.
  • White blood cells are at risk of damage.
  • Immunocompromised individuals — such as those with HIV or undergoing cancer treatment — are at increased cancer risk.
  • The risk to children and adolescents has not been properly evaluated.
  • The risk to developing fetuses in pregnant women has not been determined.
  • There is an increased risk of sperm mutations.
  • There are questions about the risk to the cornea and thymus.

Add to these the chance that the machines could malfunction and emit a higher-than-normal dose and you can see that the Government's line is, at best, made of gossamer.

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