It is bad enough that the invasion of privacy and police state security measures continue to proliferate in this country. The newer airport scanner technologies are a perfect example. Aside from the fact that they have not been proven effective and detecting dangerous items, they have already been abused, with misuse of the almost pornographic quality images of the body they produce by those in charge of the images.
The worst aspect of this is that there is that it has been demonstrated that the radiation levels produced by these machines, and projected into the human body as it passes through them, simply are not regulated, and have not been shown to be functioning reliably at safe levels.
But don’t take my word for it. Read what leading cancer doctors have to say about this.
Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, takes a pat-down instead of going through a scanner when he travels. He says he’s concerned about whether the machines are calibrated and inspected properly.
“USA Today did a piece on how badly TSA maintained their X-ray equipment for carryon bags, and this gave me little confidence,” he wrote to me in an e-mail.
Brawley’s deputy concurs.
“I do whatever I can to avoid the scanner,” Dr. Len Lichtenfeld wrote to me in an e-mail.
He says as a frequent flier, he’s concerned about the cumulative effect of the radiation.
“This is a total body scan — not a dental or chest X-ray,” he wrote to me. “Total body radiation is not something I find very comforting based on my medical knowledge.”
Lichtenfeld says it doesn’t necessarily give him great comfort that the TSA says the scans are safe.
“I can still remember getting my feet radiated as a child when I went to the shoe store and they had a machine which could see how my foot fit in the new shoes,” he says. “We were told then that they were safe, and they were not.”
Of course the companies making money off these outrageously expensive, dangerous, and intrusive devices have members of Congress in their pockets. Always follow the money trail. That is why Congress won’t back off. It is paying them too well.