by: Steve Watson
August 7, 2012
More scientists flag up health risks from x-ray scanners
An article in the New York Times health and science section today carries several revealing details indicating that doctors and scientists are extremely wary of the TSA’s use of full-body “backscatter” X-ray scanners.
The article details an account from pregnant Yolanda Marin-Czachor, a 34-year-old mother and teacher from Green Bay, Wis., who says:
“one of the first things my doctor said was: ‘Do not go through one of those machines. There have not been any long-term studies. I would prefer you stay away from it.’ ”
Explaining that the machines operate a narrowly focused beam of high-intensity radiation very quickly across the body, the article also notes:
David Brenner, director of the Center for Radiological Research at Columbia University Medical Center, says he worries about mechanical malfunctions that could cause the beam to stop in one place for even a few seconds, resulting in greater radiation exposure.
John Sedat, emeritus professor of biochemistry and biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco, believes that the effective dose could be 45 times as high as the T.S.A. has estimated, equivalent to about 10 percent of a single chest X-ray.
Scrutiny over radiation exposure was heightened recently following apparent efforts by the TSA to cover-up a “cluster” of cancer cases amongst scanner operators at Boston-Logan airport. According to FOIA documents obtained by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), when Union representatives in Boston discovered a “cancer cluster” amongst TSA workers linked with radiation from the body scanners, the TSA sought to downplay the matter and refused to issue employees with dosimeters to measure levels of exposure.
The documents indicated how, “A large number of workers have been falling victim to cancer, strokes and heart disease.”