Full Body Scanners Do Not Lead to Safer Travel Essay

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Why should anyone including my 3-year-old daughter unnecessarily be exposed to cancer causing X-ray beams in a full body scanner? Or have a total stranger run his or her hands up and down my daughter's body for a full pat-down upon refusing the scan? Most enraging is that the scan can be done without my knowledge. Full body scanners should not be used in United States airports. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), on November 20, 2010 implemented the use of 385 scanners, otherwise know as advanced imaging technology in 68 airports to include Denver International Airport. The TSA is using these machines supposedly to ensure safer travel and be steps ahead of security threats. According to the TSA, as a preventive measure,…show more content…
The two types of scanners currently being used by the TSA are backscatter imaging technology and millimeter wave imaging. The backscatter imaging is an X-ray beam bounced off the skin. Millimeter wave imaging bounces of electromagnetic waves off the skin as well. Being that both technologies do not penetrate the body, explosives hidden in body cavities or surgically implanted, go completely undetected (Heasley 1). Since the technologies being used only bounce waves of the body surface, this leaves then skin highly exposed to concentrated amounts of radiation. Health side effect studies of full body scanners have been labeled classified and inaccessible to the general public. Four professors from the University of California- San Francisco, whom are well respected cancer, X-ray crystallographers and imaging experts stated in a letter to the Obama administration that, “The low-energy rays do a “Compton scatter” off tissue layers just under the skin, possibly exposing some vital areas and leaving the tissues at risk of mutation. When an X-ray Compton scatters, it doesn’t shift an electron to a higher energy level; instead, it hits the electron hard enough to dislodge it from its atom.” The authors note that this process is “likely breaking bonds,” which could cause mutations in cells and raise the risk of cancer (Johnston). Furthermore, the UCSF researchers write in their letter, “older passengers are more susceptible to mutagenic effects of X-rays, and “the risk of
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