There have been concerns over the full body scanners since their inception. Now, UCSF Professor Robert Stroud shows that the general public is right to worry.
Stroud said the low intensity radiation appears to mostly concentrate in the skin. “Skin is where a lot of this particular radiation probably will be most damaging,” he said.
He believes eyes could also be sensitive to any kind of radiation. “If you have typically 3 head X-rays for example you increase your risk of cataracts significantly,” Stroud said. “I would imagine in time we will all be presented with some type of glasses.”
But the scientists at UCSF believe what is being offered up as scientific proof of the body scanners’ safety is not convincing.
A recent study was commissioned by the feds and carried out by researchers at Johns Hopkins University. “The document is heavily redacted,” said Stroud. “Also there are no names on the document.”
Stroud also said vital information is missing. “Never in this document for example is the X-ray current for the actual machine listed.”
He also said another problem was the way the test was conducted. “The scientists from Johns Hopkins were not presented with a machine to investigate in their labs, rather they were invited to witness experiments carried out by the manufacturers in their own lab,” Stroud said.
Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman Sarah Horowitz said sections of the study were blacked out for a reason. “Obviously there are studies that contain security sensitive information,” Horowitz said.
Yes, but this isn’t one of them. If you’re going to subject me to something that could possibly harm my health, no matter how small the consequences, I want to be fully informed on the topic so that I can make an informed decision. By blacking out huge swaths of a document, the government is preventing this from happening.
Since airline flight crews are exempt from the full body scanners, it is difficult for anyone to believe that the scanners are safe. Most politicians, including Janet Napolitano, are exempt from the scanners as well. Until everyone is treated equally and we start seeing all airline passengers and personnel being scanned, the government will be hard pressed to convince people that the full body scanners are safe.