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Advanced Imaging Technology: "Radiation Risk Tiny"

Thursday, March 11, 2010

You may have read a recent article stating that Advanced Imaging Technology used at TSA checkpoints is not safe. Because of the discussion the article has created, I wanted to share this with you.

The American College of Radiology posted an article titled: ACR Statement on Airport Full-body Scanners and Radiation and then WebMD followed up with an article titled New Airport Scanners: Radiation Risk Tiny which quoted the ACR article.

From the ACR article: "An airline passenger flying cross-country is exposed to more radiation from the flight than from screening by one of these devices. The National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurement (NCRP) has reported that a traveler would need to experience 100 backscatter scans per year to reach what they classify as a Negligible Individual Dose. The American College of Radiology (ACR) agrees with this conclusion. By these measurements, a traveler would require more than 1,000 such scans in a year to reach the effective dose equal to one standard chest x-ray."

"The ACR is not aware of any evidence that either of the scanning technologies that the TSA is considering would present significant biological effects for passengers screened."

We also asked the Johns Hopkins University of Applied Physics Laboratory to perform an independent radiation safety engineering assessment of our Advanced Imaging Backscatter Technology and they determined that the radiation dose to scanned individuals from this general use system is within the requirements of ANSI N43.17 2002 and 2009 .

In the coming weeks, the FDA will be posting similar information on their web page.

For your reference:

Backscatter technology projects an ionizing X-ray beam over the body surface at high speed. The reflection, or "backscatter," of the beam is detected, digitized and displayed on a monitor. Each full body scan produces less than 10 microrem of emission, the equivalent to the exposure each person receives in about 2 minutes of airplane flight at altitude. It produces an image that resembles a chalk-etching.

Millimeter wave technology bounces harmless electromagnetic waves off of the human body to create a black and white image (not a photograph). It is safe, and the energy emitted by millimeter wave technology is the energy projected by the system is thousands of times less intense than a cell phone transmission. This technology is not new. TSA is not the first to use this technology. It's currently being used in Canadian airports and U.S. courthouses in Colorado and Texas as well as international locations.

This Standard limits the reference effective dose2 delivered to the subject to 0.25 microsieverts (25 microrem) per screening.

For your reading pleasure, here are some documents relevant to security screening of humans using ionizing radiation:

ANSI/HPS N43.17-2009 Radiation Safety for Personnel Security Screening Systems Using X-Ray or Gamma Radiation

NCRP commentary 16, Screening of humans for security purposes using ionizing radiation scanning systems

NCRP Statement 10, Recent Applications of the NCRP Public Dose Limit Recommendation for Ionizing Radiation (2004)

NCRP report no. 116 Limitation of Exposure to Ionizing Radiation (1993) ISBN 0-929600-30-4 recommends annual limits on radiation dose for the general public. Report 116 also introduces the concept of a negligible individual dose.

NCRP report no. 160, Ionizing Radiation Exposure of the Population of the United States (2009)

Screening Individuals with Backscatter X-Ray Systems by Daniel Strom

HPS Position Statement Use of Ionizing Radiation for Security Screening Individuals

HPS Public Information Radiation Exposure During Commercial Airline Flights

American College of Radiology (ACR) Statement on Airport Full-body Scanners and Radiation

EPA.gov Ionizing Radiation

Information on laws and regulations applicable to manufacturers of people screening security systems that use x-rays is on FDA's X-Ray & Particulate Products other than Medical Diagnostic or Cabinet page.

ANSI/HPS N43.17 is not a mandatory standard. More information on the ANSI standards setting process is available on the ANSI website.

The concept of justification based on a societal benefit appears in the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) report 60 (see paragraph S14).

Random Facts:

For comparison, the energy projected by millimeter wave technology is 10,000 times less than a cell phone transmission.

We, and all objects around us, generate millimeter wave energy - and we are exposed to it every single day.

Backscatter technology uses low level X-ray and a single scan is the equivalent of two minutes of flying on an airplane.

Full Body Scanners at Security Okay by Travelers - When it comes to the newest addition to airport security, 79 percent of travelers said they are comfortable with U.S. airports using full body scanners that can see through clothes.

We've written many posts on Advanced Imaging Technology and you can read them all HERE.

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Comments

Submitted by Anonymous on

Sorry, Bob, but your agency has lied to the traveling public so much and for so long that we've lost trust in them to tell us the truth.

Submitted by RB on

Backscatter + flight = greater accumiltive radiation dose.

What long term studies have been completed to backup these claims?

Oh, you can keep on calling these Strip Search Machines "AIT" be we all know they are no less than "Kiddie Porn" Machines.

Submitted by Sandra on

"When it comes to the newest addition to airport security, 79 percent of travelers said they are comfortable with U.S. airports using full body scanners that can see through clothes."

That survey was done almost immediately after the underwear bomber tried to strike.

Dollars to donuts a new survey, done properly, would show a much lower acceptance rate.

Didn't the TSA try to tell us that the acceptance rate was about 95% at one time - before people learned what WBI really does. Can you explain the difference in the figures?

Bob, why was WBI renamed AIT?

What's being done by TSA to assure air travelers that perverts aren't looking at their naked scans or patting them down?

Has TSA instituted psychological assessments yet in its hiring practices?

Submitted by Bill on

Anonymous said...
Sorry, Bob, but your agency has lied to the traveling public so much and for so long that we've lost trust in them to tell us the truth.

Imperturbable Point Man Bob is undoubtedly overwhelmed by your sagacity. (sarcasm)

The post was up all of 25 minutes before you graced it with your wisdom--certainly not enough time to have read the 20+ links from scientific and medical experts. In fact, only the first paragraph (two sentences) are Bob's. The rest of the post are properly attributed quotations.

I'm not Bob.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Even the smallest bit of radiation should be avoided if there is no need for it. Radiation damage is accumulated. Should we all be hysteric? Probably not. But why sink millions of USD into a technology that doesn't provide additional security for passengers?

There are western countries that prohibited the use of these scanners for the reason that they don't detect WEI.

As a frequent flyer I'm relying on airport security. But I don't want the voodoo scurity the TSA does. It takes too long, it is not effective and it is an invasion into our privacy. So why does the TSA do it?

Submitted by Winstonsmith on

Even if I were going to stipulate to your safety data (I have no reason to believe you, but I have no evidence to counter you either), I certainly take issue with your citing an unsubstantiated 79% acceptance claim of your unconstitutional strip search technology based on a 2-line filler item on a travelers' news blog that cites nothing about who commissioned the study, when the study was done, who was asked, and how well the survey respondents understood exactly what the technology could do vis à vis their rights to be free from unreasonable search and seizure versus your permissible blanket "administrative search" are. Further that with the dimunition already cited above from your once touted 95% acceptance and you have the beginning of a public awakening of TSA's continuing and ineffective overreach.

I renew my call for the TSA budget to be slashed, for the funds to be redirected to constitutionally permissible off-airport investigation and surveillance of actual suspect persons, and to go back to the simple screening procedures we had pre-9/11 with the addition of a smarter flying public and hardened cockpit doors.

Submitted by Anonymous on

What steps is TSA taking to ensure every passenger asked to be strip-searched knows he or she can decline the strip-search?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Bill spewed:

Imperturbable Point Man Bob is undoubtedly overwhelmed by your sagacity. (sarcasm)

The post was up all of 25 minutes before you graced it with your wisdom--certainly not enough time to have read the 20+ links from scientific and medical experts. In fact, only the first paragraph (two sentences) are Bob's. The rest of the post are properly attributed quotations.

That's the problem with lying. TSA destroyed its credibility with many frequent travelers years ago and recently has done next to nothing to rebuild that same credibility. If a member of TSA management told me that the sky was blue I would check it out before believing them.

Submitted by Anonymous on

So the TSA admits that the devices are harmful but belittles the public by condescendingly telling us the flight is even worse for us.

I'm so not surprised by this behavior.

I choose to accept the risks associated with flight but choose to NOT accept the risks - health and otherwise - of these invasive machines.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Are you completely oblivious to the irony of the words "risk tiny" in the title of your post? How would you characterize the risk of dying in a terrorist attack targeting commercial aviation? Significant?

Submitted by WRoberts on

As a qualified expert, within the meaning of 10 CFR 35, there are two sides of this issue. Side one is what is the minimum acceptable "safe" radiation dose? Our knowledge of radiobiology seems to demonstrate that a low level radiation is apparently harmless. However, the current regulatory agencies and the NCRP (National Commission on Radiation Protection) all base their regulatory activities on the assumption that risk of harm from radiation is a linear function with no lower dose limit threshold.

The FDA commissioner is probably correct in that an individual will likely not experience any direct adverse effects.

However, this must be contrasted against the BEIR VII report (Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation 7th Committee). As did its predecessor committees, this group looked at Atomic Bomb survivors, dosimetry from the Radiation Effects Research Foundation, UNSCEAR and others.

They looked at the various models of risk of radiation injury:
Linear No safe Threshold dose model
Safe threshold of radiation;
exposure and linear increase in risk above that threshold;
Linear quadratic model;

These three models have been debated for decades.

The conclusion of the BEIR VII:
They state that their goal was not to prove or disprove any of the models, but rather develop a model that best fits the physical, biological and epidemiological data.

They looked at cellular radiobiology, genetic effects, and epidemiological effects. After studying the scientific evidence, including laboratory studies,and populations exposed (radiation workers, Chernobyl, Semipolitinsk, Urals, A-Bomb survivor data.

They conclude as follows:
For solid cancers the LNT (Risk of cancer increases in a straight line with any exposure above zero) model best fits the data. IE any radiation will increase the risk of developing a cancer, and the more exposure over a lifetime the greater that risk. They state that cancer risk is clearly greater at exposure above 100 mSv.

For genetics, the doubling dose of risk to genetic (heritable damage) is estimated at 1 Sv (1000 mSv).

The final conclusion in the summary report is the Linear No Threshold model is a best fit with the current scientific evidence, but also notes that at very low doses the risk is also very small.

The problem is this: we are using radiation increasingly in society for medical testing, non-destructive testing, treatment of disease, and now proposed and actual travel inspection.

All of this increases the population doses and individual doses. If the BEIR VII and the National Academy of Science concludes that these doses add up and increase the risk of radiation injury, eventually as we keep adding radiation exposure in our ordinary environment, then we increase the risk of having a less healthy population.

Backscatter technology per the BEIR VII report which affirms its predecessor committee reports, adds population exposures and individual exposures and thus increases risk, albeit small. But this risk is avoidable as other technology is available.

In keeping with the principle of ALARA (as low as reasonably achievable radiation exposures) we should probably not deploy these machines.

Submitted by Ayn R Key on

The real question is this: When you have completely safe mmw, why do you use backscatter at all?

Seriously, no matter how tiny the risk, there is an equivalent technology that is still safer.

Is it lower cost? Does backscatter cost less than mmw?

Submitted by Anonymous on
Posh! Why is everyone so hot and bothered about being stripped, exposed to radiation and treated as an inmate? It's a new world. If the government wants to inconvenance you they have that right. You gave it to them through your elected representatives.

You might show how brilliant you are on this blog, but do you really believe anyone that can change anything is parked in front of a keyboard waiting for your thoughts?

The change makers are at the $2,500/plate fundraisers getting ready for the next campaign.bri
Submitted by Ayn R Key on

Very funny, Bob. Many of those links are to sites that request you pay to receive the information. Some of the links don't work very well.

But here's from one of the free sites, HPS Position Statement Use of Ionizing Radiation for Security Screening Individuals.

"In radiation protection, no exposure is justified unless it produces a positive net benefit"

Since you have a valid alternative, then according to one of your supportive links, backscatter is NOT JUSTIFIED! You can claim that the benefit is increased security, but did you mention to HPS that you have a valid workable alternative? Did you? Or did you simply tell them "this is the technology we have, is it safe?"

In other words, did you lie to them by omission?

Did you tell your friendly sources that there is a safe alternative?

Bob, answer the question. Do I have to file a FOIA just to get the answer to that one question, because in this case I am quite willing to.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Thanks but I will continue to decline the AIT devices. If I don't have to expose myself to that extra radiation why should I?

Did these research studies also test to see if radiation used in these devices only exposes those being scanned? What about the poor TSOs who work around the devices all day. Will they be suing the Feds in years to come for radiation exposure related disorders?

Submitted by RB on

Ayn R. Key said...
The real question is this: When you have completely safe mmw, why do you use backscatter at all?

Seriously, no matter how tiny the risk, there is an equivalent technology that is still safer.

Is it lower cost? Does backscatter cost less than mmw?

March 11, 2010 5:58 PM
......................
TSA greasing the right pockets?

Submitted by Anonymous on
Anonymous said...

Thanks but I will continue to decline the AIT devices. If I don't have to expose myself to that extra radiation why should I?

Did these research studies also test to see if radiation used in these devices only exposes those being scanned? What about the poor TSOs who work around the devices all day. Will they be suing the Feds in years to come for radiation exposure related disorders?

Workman's comp claims here we go. FWIW, they really don't care about the front line TSOs as they are replaceable. They develope cancer/cataracts? Too bad, so sad. Fire them before they go on long term disability.
Submitted by Anonymous on

What about increased cataract risk?

What about the studies that suggest destruction of DNA in outer and middle layer skin cells for wavelengths near the MMW frequencies and for ionizing radiation like backscatter? Particularly for those of us with history of melanoma in first-degree relatives?

How often will these machines be calibrated to make sure they haven't gone out of spec and started overdosing passengers? Will the controls be as strict as those on my physician's and dentist's x-ray machine? Who at TSA will be held accountable when passengers are overdosed? Who will lose their job? Who will guarantee the passengers receive appropriate compensation?

Submitted by Avxo on

I'll ask here again, since my post on the other thread hasn't been approved yet:

Can the resolving power of the XRB and MMW machines be increased while they are deployed? If so, who can make the changes and under what conditions? Does that operation require modifications to the machine itself, or it is a software option?

More specifically, about the X-ray machines:

How often are the units tested to ensure that they remain in safe operational conditions? Who conducts these tests?

Do the machines employ fail-safe protocols and automatically shut down if they detect internals faults? Are these machines certified by any independent authority?

Do the machines employ any sort of flattening filters, collimators, waveguides, or other devices used to attenuate the generated X-ray beam? If so, are those components fixed, or can they be removed? Will the machine operate if those components are removed?

Is the TSA personnel that operates the machines trained in the principles behind the XRB machine and general radiological safety, or will they only be trained to look at the picture and click oversized "Good" or "Bad" buttons?

Submitted by Avxo on

Ayn R. Key wrote: "The real question is this: When you have completely safe mmw, why do you use backscatter at all?

Seriously, no matter how tiny the risk, there is an equivalent technology that is still safer."

That's an awesome question. Given the fact that MMW has none of the nasty side-effects of XRB (no matter how insignificant those side-effects may be) why not just go with MMW, which has no such side-effects?

Submitted by Anonymous on

I definitely prefer the body scan to being "patted down" by some agent who seems to think she is the most important person in the world and claims she doesn't enjoy the process of patting down. The safety of the body scanner is a consideration but IMHO a better choice for security.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Okay. Let's just mess with some numbers here.

A TSO is on the line for 8 hrs. At 25 seconds or so a person, that is (60/25*60*8)scans occuring per shift. Considering the radiation delivered by these scans falls of at according to RMS rules (doubling the distance quarters the power exposed), that means that a TSO standing 8 feet away will recieve a 1/16th reflected scan. Let's be generous with the assumption that the scattered radiation reflected from the person in the scanner is 1/4th the original exposure. So, now that we have the problem set up... what's the answer?

A TSO standing 8 feet away from one of these will recieve, in an eight hour shift, will be exposed to 1152 scans, each of 1/64 the original power emitted. Now, this works out to works to the same as 18 passes through one of these machines a day in an 8hr shift.

Given that there won't be just one of these machines at each checkpoint, and that your average TSO is going to be standing a little bit closer, I'd say a nice round number of 20-25 scans a day equivelancy for secondary exposure is more accurate. Now, at this rate, it would take a horribly long 10 weeks for a TSO to achieve the same radiation exposure as 1 chest X-ray. Hrm.. 5 chest X-rays a year at 8 feet starts looking a little bit on the glow-in-the-dark side of radiation safety on the job, doesn't it? At six feet (roughly where the female TSO is standing) your looking at 32 scans a day equivelant exposure, 6 weeks to reach the magic chest X-ray, and 9 chest X-rays a year. I really hope she has a lead-lined corset on under that uniform, cause if she wants to have children, she's going to need it!

So, what is the safe distance for the TSO to be standing from the scanner for 8hrs a day? Does the TSA intend to comply with OSHA's placarding requirements for low level radiation in the workplace?

Submitted by Ayn R Key on

RB wrote:
TSA greasing the right pockets?

That's a good point. I notice the change from mmw to xrb occurred about one year ago.

Did the manufacturer of mmw donate to McCain while the manufacturer of xrb donate to Obama?

Submitted by Gunner on

OK, simple question:

Will the person who is ogin gto be viewing the images have to go through to scanner to ensure they do not have any USB or hidden recoding devices planted on their body?

If not, why not?

Submitted by Ayn R Key on

Thanks, avxo. But given that I am the one who asked it, it is certain Bobbo won't answer it.

He's waiting for a very snarky comment from me so he can respond to that instead.

Submitted by RB on

Ayn R. Key said...
RB wrote:
TSA greasing the right pockets?

That's a good point. I notice the change from mmw to xrb occurred about one year ago.

Did the manufacturer of mmw donate to McCain while the manufacturer of xrb donate to Obama?

March 12, 2010 12:11 PM
......
Find out who Chertoff is working for and I think you will have your answer.

Submitted by Avxo on

Anonymous wrote: "Considering the radiation delivered by these scans falls of at according to RMS rules (doubling the distance quarters the power exposed), that means that a TSO standing 8 feet away will recieve a 1/16th reflected scan."

RMS? You're thinking of inverse-square law, not root-mean-square. Regardless, your math is wrong there -- and fundamentally flawed. On top of that you make assumptions that may not necessarily hold true.

I'm no fan of x-ray backscatter devices, and there are plenty of legitimate points to be made about them.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Chertoff's got both of his hands up to his elbows involved with the backscatter technology. No surprise.

Leave DHS/TSA and become an influential lobbyist making big $$$$$ shilling for equipment that may or may not be useful in the WOT.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Bob, tiny does not equal nonexistent especially for cancer survivors.

Submitted by Ayn R Key on

These are some pretty serious allegations, RB. Accusing the TSA of putting our health at risk when there is a safe alternative, because the manufacturer of the unsafe equipment has better political connections ... that's a pretty big accusation of corruption.

So do you think Bob is going to address this?

Submitted by Dave Nelson on

For WRoberts:

Thanks very much for your discussion. I would like to see exactly how the questions were put to the FDA and others and the specific ground rules and assumptions the other evaluations used as well.

The TSA has no interest in a scientific debate on the subject. As a matter of fact, they fear a public debate. I read a white paper written by someone in the TSA or DHS about their concerns about introducing strip search machines. The primary concern was that public opposition could derail the entire program and that the TSA needed to engage in an intense campaign to "sell" this to the public to win their consent and acceptance.

When I think about it for a few minutes, you can determine all of the sell-job tactics the TSA has been trying:

1. It's not really intrusive. They go to great lengths to explain the operator set up and, trust us, we don't keep images.

2. It will go a whole lot faster if you people roll over.

3. We have to stay one step ahead of the bad guys -- the good old fear-mongering approach

4. Forcing us to choose between two equally invasive and needlessly intrusive alternatives -- strip search or (call it what it really is) a police-type frisking.

5. Nobody is forcing you to fly.

6. It's safe; trust us.

7. I have no problem with my wife & kids going through it. (... still waiting for those pictures, Nico.)

8. 90% of people like it! Of course, there is no supporting data to back this statement up.

The TSA and their agents on this blog are selling this like a bunch of drug dealers. The truly sad thing is that the American people don't care.

Submitted by Anonymous on

To be honest I am afraid as a TSA employee to be exposed to these machines on a daily basis. What kind of radiation would I be getting standing next to one 40 hours a week. They can't be that safe. Same thing with our xray machines with led curtains that are constantly opening up while we run the machine, but we won't go there!

Submitted by 8675309 on

Most of the detractors have no real argument and have to resort to name calling: "Strip Search Machines" "Child Porn Viewers" "Radiation Portholes" and what have you, but why do you continue to complain over and over and over again?

IN THE USA, GOING THROUGH THESE MACHINES IS OPTIONAL.

If you don't like it, don't do it.

I don't care if the machines cost more money. I'd rather go through the machine than have some stranger run their hands all over my body.

Why don't you read the news about all the teachers that have slept with their students and then go blog about how we should stop spending money on education?

Submitted by Anonymous on

I asked this question multiple times on multiple posts and still have not gotten an answer. so here goes again:

What date or year are the TSA provided AIT sample images from? Were they taken with the newest generation machines or earlier generation ones?

Submitted by TSOWilliamReed on

I do wonder why the deployment of backscatter machines over the MMW machines. I prefer the MMW machines and the commenters statement of the TSO's exposure does worry me. Passengers will be recieving a minimal dose honestly, maybe the average passenger flys around 3-5 times a year. The TSO is going to scan hundreds of people a day. Bob, I was wondering what safety protocols will be in place for TSO's that will be exposed to hundreds of scans every day all year long? Not to mention doing test runs in their own airport and getting scanned directly.

Submitted by Anonymous on

People have the right to not go through the AIT and guess what if you dislike TSA this much people you can also drive or take a bus! please do! :)

Submitted by RB on

RB said...
Ayn R. Key said...
RB wrote:
TSA greasing the right pockets?

That's a good point. I notice the change from mmw to xrb occurred about one year ago.

Did the manufacturer of mmw donate to McCain while the manufacturer of xrb donate to Obama?

March 12, 2010 12:11 PM
......
Find out who Chertoff is working for and I think you will have your answer.

March 12, 2010 1:40 PM
...............................

Chertoff is a former homeland security secretary and the founder of the Chertoff Group, a security consulting firm whose clients include manufacturers of full-body scanners.
.....................
Available information seems to say that Chertoff will not disclose who he represents but he actively presses for deployment of Strip Search Machines all while not disclosing the fact that he does represent manufacturers of these devices.

How's that for honesty?

Now you know where DHS/TSA get it from.

Submitted by Anonymous on

So, you're saying that the risk is tiny but acceptable. Is that tiny risk larger or smaller than the risk that someone's flip-flop is a disguised weapon, incendiary, or explosive? Bear in mind that there has never been a successful attack on aviation with a shoe, regardless of whether or how passengers' shoes are screened when you answer, Bob.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Now Bob,

While the radiation and images do not bother me, what happens when I am wearing a medical device? Although the TSA has not changed its rules, as of late people wearing insulin pumps and declaring them (as instructed by the TSA website) have been subject to complete carry-on bag assaults by TSA agents (although no written statements tell you that because you are diabetic, your luggage will be taken apart and not just scanned normally. I understand an extra pat-down, but this power trip must stop).

I digress, since an insulin pump must clearly be declared for use in these machines, does this now mean that every flight I take, my carefully packed bag will be emptied and inspected instead of passing through the normal belt for inspection? Or is this another made up rule by TSA agents? Is this machine even safe for those wearing insulin pumps? I can find no answers on this.

Please answer.

Allison

Submitted by Protex on

I'm completely okay with the use of biometric or full body scanners. As a paranoid traveler there is nothing better than to feel safe when traveling.

Why do we need to wait for another tragedy to get people to support these types of full body scanners. I will gladly volunteer to be scanned first!

Submitted by Eric on

Another blow to the 4th Amendment of the Constitution. And the reactionaries in Congress accuse Obama of wanting to turn the US into a socialist state. Next we'll be required to have internal passports like the USSR, Nazi Germany and Israel.

Submitted by Lynne Foster on

Many of us are not happy with this scanners.There is really no other way to avoid this scanning?

Submitted by RB on

Ayn R. Key said...
These are some pretty serious allegations, RB. Accusing the TSA of putting our health at risk when there is a safe alternative, because the manufacturer of the unsafe equipment has better political connections ... that's a pretty big accusation of corruption.

So do you think Bob is going to address this?

March 12, 2010 4:05 PM
...........
You explain then why TSA would install a device that may cause harm when they have perfectly usable non-radiating alternatives.

Submitted by Anonymous on
TSOWilliamReed said...

I do wonder why the deployment of backscatter machines over the MMW machines. I prefer the MMW machines and the commenters statement of the TSO's exposure does worry me. Passengers will be recieving a minimal dose honestly, maybe the average passenger flys around 3-5 times a year. The TSO is going to scan hundreds of people a day. Bob, I was wondering what safety protocols will be in place for TSO's that will be exposed to hundreds of scans every day all year long? Not to mention doing test runs in their own airport and getting scanned directly.

Purchase a pocket dosimeter and wear it around waist level. Read and record the daily/weekly/monthly levels as this might be critical when you wind up with radiation exposure induced cancer and want to file a workman's compensation claim against the government.
Submitted by Anonymous on

Allison, you stand a better chance of getting an invitation to a White House state dinner (transportation included) than you do getting an answer from TSA.

Submitted by Al Ames on

Protex, there is a big difference betweein FEELING safe and BEING safe.

Experts have already said that there was no guarantee these machines would have detected the underwear bomber. In fact, it cited at best a 60% chance of detection.

60% chance for the invasion of privacy, no enhancement to safety, and potential health risks? No thanks.

I should have to have my privacy compromised for your paranoia, especially when the measure is just to assuage your paranoia.

I fly 100k miles per year and I'm not paranoid, despite TSA's lack of security.

As others say for those who disagree with TSA, if you're that afraid of flying, don't fly. Despite TSA's miserable performance rate, your chance of dying in plane crash over the last 10 years (including 9/11) is 20 times LESSM than getting struck by lightning.

Are you that paranoid about getting struck by lightning as you are about getting on a plane?

Al

Submitted by Blogger Bob on

Allison Said: Now Bob, While the radiation and images do not bother me, what happens when I am wearing a medical device? Although the TSA has not changed its rules, as of late people wearing insulin pumps and declaring them (as instructed by the TSA website) have been subject to complete carry-on bag assaults by TSA agents (although no written statements tell you that because you are diabetic, your luggage will be taken apart and not just scanned normally. I understand an extra pat-down, but this power trip must stop). I digress, since an insulin pump must clearly be declared for use in these machines, does this now mean that every flight I take, my carefully packed bag will be emptied and inspected instead of passing through the normal belt for inspection? Or is this another made up rule by TSA agents? Is this machine even safe for those wearing insulin pumps? I can find no answers on this. Please answer. Allison March 14, 2010 6:21 PM

--------------------

Hi Allison. Per the TSA web page, you do not have to tell us you have an insulin pump. It’s an option if you’re not comfortable going through the metal detector with it. If you are concerned or uncomfortable about going through the walk-through metal detector (WTMD) with your insulin pump, notify the Security Officer that you are wearing an insulin pump and would like a full-body pat-down and a visual inspection of your pump instead. As far as your bags being searched, this could be triggered by a number of things. Without being there, it’s hard for me to speculate. As far as the safety of your device going through the WTMD, I would contact the manufacturer of your pump, but I have heard of no safety issues regarding pumps and WTMDs. I just checked a web page from a manufacturer and it said there are no safety concerns. But I'll let you research that on your own.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Submitted by Anonymous on

I wonder if a unionized TSA would refuse to work near the backscatter machines because of safety concerns?

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