TSA chief says resisting airport body scanners just means delays
An airline passenger is patted down by a TSA agent at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago yesterday.
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#2 Nov 23, 2010
TSA SCANNERS: Letter of Concern Sent By Top Scientists
Monday, November 22, 2010
We are writing to call your attention to serious concerns about the potential health risks of the recently adopted whole body back scatter X-ray airport security scanners. This is an urgent situation as these X-ray scanners are rapidly being implemented as a primary screening step for all air travel passengers.
Our overriding concern is the extent to which the safety of this scanning device has been adequately demonstrated. This can only be determined by a meeting of an impartial panel of experts that would include medical physicists and radiation biologists at which all of the available relevant data is reviewed.
An important consideration is that a large fraction of the population will be subject to the new X-ray scanners and be at potential risk, as discussed below. This raises a number of ‘red flags’. Can we have an urgent second independent evaluation?
The Red Flags
The physics of these X-rays is very telling: the X-rays are Compton-Scattering off outer molecule bonding electrons and thus inelastic (likely breaking bonds).
Unlike other scanners, these new devices operate at relatively low beam energies (28keV). The majority of their energy is delivered to the skin and the underlying tissue. Thus, while the dose would be safe if it were distributed throughout the volume of the entire body, the dose to the skin may be dangerously high...
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