Full Body Scans: a Matter of National Security vs. Personal Indignities

1304 Words6 Pages
Kaitlin Dingess
Dr. Carena
English 102
Persuasive Research Paper
April 10th, 2012
Full Body Scans: A Matter of National Security vs. Personal Indignities Safety and security is important and a high priority for anyone. As a result of several events, such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the now infamous Christmas day “Underwear Bomber” transportation security has been revamped and reinvented to protect innocent people from religious/political extremists and crazies alike. In some cases, measures of heightened security have been praised such as the hiring of more security guards or the addition of more metal detectors to airport security in particular. In other cases, controversy and outrage have erupted worldwide like in the case
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Another concern that has risen from the body scan security debacle is the potential health risk that the scans may cause to the passengers, especially in cases of frequent fliers, young children, pregnant women, and the security guards that operate the machines. The scanners put out radiation much like the average X ray machines used in doctor’s offices but at much lower levels. This type of X ray scanner is called “backscatter scanners” and scans only detailed images of the outer flesh, not through the skin or showing bones like conventional X rays. Some supporters of the body scanners claim that the amount of radiation emitted by the scans is almost “insignificant” on normal adults (“Experts”). Although adequate testing has still not been completed to determine the full effects of repeated exposure, the concern still remains. Many OBGYN’s urge pregnant women to opt out of the body scans because a developing fetus is so much more sensitive to any potential harm that may be inflicted by the scanners, especially until more research has been completed (“Experts”). The last major issue with body scanners is the cost to install and operate the machinery. An estimated 1,000 scanners were to be installed by the end of 2011 across the United States in hundreds of different airports. An individual scanner costs 170,000 dollars, excluding upkeep and the cost of the training of airport security operators on the machines (“Reason”). The price seems steep, but when

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