If you see this, choose another line.
While many of us, myself included, are following the status on the nuclear reactors in Japan, the TSA has dodged major media criticism for reassessing the testing of this stateside radiation hazard:
The Transportation Security Administration on Friday ordered re-testing of all radiation-emitting full-body scanners after an internal review showed calculation errors, missing data and other discrepancies on paperwork by contractors who routinely check the machines’ radiation levels…
…Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said the TSA found problems with more than one-quarter of the reports it reviewed, “including gross errors about radiation emissions.”
“That is completely unacceptable when it comes to monitoring radiation,” Collins said. “If TSA contractors reporting on the radiation levels have done such a poor job, how can airline passengers and crew have confidence in the data used by the TSA to reassure the public?” (Source CNN.com: Here)
Flying, and now security checks, could be potentially more dangerous to those in the U.S. than a partial meltdown of the nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant because of frequent exposure for travelers and misrepresented safety risks.
(For those in Japan and surrounding areas, I will have more information in the next week or so about keeping “relatively” safe.)
The TSA and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano are assuring us that everything is OK, but keep in mind, the levels will almost always be reported as “safe,” no matter how unsafe they really are.
What these groups fail to recognize is that we don’t need safe levels of radiation, we need no detectable levels of unnatural radiation at all.
Now some people may say, “why are you making a big deal about this? The levels are lower than the natural radiation we receive throughout a year’s time, why worry about this extra amount?”
The reason why I care, is because there is no need to push the threshold. What’s more dangerous, one cigarette or two? In this case, what’s more dangerous and risky – radiation on the plane or radiation on the plane, in the x-ray scanner, and from everything else that you drive by on your way to the airport?
It’s the compounding risk that we need to be very careful about.
While scientists and law makers are running around attempting to determine levels that are acceptable, they’re missing the point that we’re playing around with technologies that could change our DNA even at very low levels of exposure.
In research from last year, David Brenner – head of Columbia University’s Center for Radiological Research – says that about 5 percent of the population (1 out of 20) is sensitive to radiation. These people have gene mutations that make them less able to repair X-ray damage to their DNA. (Source: Here)
Are you the one in twenty? We don’t know because testing is expensive. The bottom line is that there’s no need to take the chance.
If you’ve flown recently, you’ve likely seen people trying out these new x-ray scanners with smiles on their faces – as if they were taking a spin in a new custom Mercedes.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say, “this is so cool” when they’re walking into them as well – maybe half a dozen I’ve overheard in the same amount of times we’ve flown.
The good news is, that for now, there are two ways you can avoid going through the x-ray scanners.
First, after you get your ID checked, you can scan all the security lines and determine which ones have the machine and which ones don’t. When you see one without, get in that line.
NOTE: If you don’t know what one looks like, just look for people in between two 8 foot high boxes – holding their arms up with giant smiles on their faces. That’s the line you want to avoid.
Second, if you do happen to be placed in that line, ask to be placed in a different one.
If you have kids, please make sure they do not go through these machines at all, since the concerns are greater for smaller children.
Every time we’ve seen these scanners, we’ve (to date) managed to find another security check with just a metal detector and been able to avoid going through the scanner.
You will be able to as well.
As for radiation protection while you’re on a plane or if you’re living in Japan, I’ll be writing a full report (not a shoot from the hip, buy-my-seaweed-or-supplement kind of deal) in the next week and a half.
Until then, next time you’re believing what you see on TV, the computer or what trusted officials say is safe, check out this fancy ad from 1949…
I want to know your thoughts: What do you think of airport x-ray scanners – totally toxic or no big deal?
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