Monday, August 8, 2011

Radiation Overdose at the Airport

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Jan Van Liere
Reality Sandwich

As the rate of cancer spikes among Transportation Security Agency (TSA) officers who work near the full-body scanners at the Boston Logan Airport, union reps are alarmed at having been misinformed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and TSA regarding the safety of these machines. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, has acquired radiation studies, and radiation test results from DHS which the center says gives evidence that the government failed to appropriately test the safety of these devices at airports and disregarded concerns from airport. According to the documents, “A large number of workers have been falling victim to cancer, strokes and heart disease.”

EPIC says the relinquished documents indicate that DHS “publicly mischaracterized” safety findings by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) by intimating that the organization had “affirmed the safety” of the ominous scanners. In fact, antipodal to confirming their safety, the documents obtained by EPIC show that NIST cautioned that TSA officers should avoid standing next to the machines, as to keep exposure to caustic radiation “as low as reasonably achievable.” In contradistinction to repetitive TSA claims that Johns Hopkins had authenticated the benign nature of the scanners, the FOIA docs illustrate how the university's study actually unveiled that radiation zones around the machines could exceed the “General Public Dose Limit”. In fact, Dr. Michael Love, head of the X-ray lab at the department of biophysics and biophysical chemistry at Johns Hopkins, publicly stated that “statistically someone is going to get skin cancer from these X-rays”.


Dr. David Brenner, head of Columbia University’s center for radiological research, discovered in a study conducted last year that the machines are likely to lead to an increase in basal cell carcinoma, a common type of skin cancer affecting the head and neck. Post-study, Brenner urged medical authorities to overview his work, indicating the critical notion of mass scanning millions of people without proper oversight. February 2010 saw like concerns voiced by the prominent Inter-Agency Committee on Radiation Safety, who warned in a report that the scanners increase the risk of cancer and birth defects and should not be used on pregnant women or children. And Bloomberg reported, “Frequent exposure to low doses of radiation can lead to cancer and birth defects, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency”.

A dark pall has hung over these devices since their inception. If they are really as benign as they are claimed to be, then why did EPIC have to sue for the culpable information? This past December, TSA workers complained about the radiation peril of the scanners, declaring they were being kept in the dark by their employers, in spite of ongoing requests for information. TSA union reps at the Boston airport requested dosimeters (radiation-monitoring devices) to monitor the safety of their officers but have yet to receive them.

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34 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nobody drafts TSA agents. Let them fry, nuked to a golden perfection.

Anonymous said...

I am unable to feel ANY compassion for people that molest 4 yr olds and make 95 yr old dying women remove their undergarments.
Some call it Karma, I call it righteous justice!

Anonymous said...

Yeah screw employees in general. Get crushed in an unsafe metal press on the job? You deserved it. Die in a fire because of lack of fire code while you work at a textile mill? Your fault.

Anonymous said...

I prefer mine well done.

Anonymous said...

Hey, commenter from 10:26 - that's really not cool. TSA agents are forbidden from unionizing, have crappy pay (the lowest among federal employees), are ostensibly keeping us safe, and have become a target to almost every single mildly informed person in the country. When there's 10% unemployment, there aren't a lot of options for someone without a great education who wants to work. The TSA agents aren't the villains here, it's the politicians and lobbyists.

Anonymous said...

Wow @ 1st post, the hate is strong with you. I would not wish this on anyone. The TSA and the people running it are not fit to be doing business in America. The results of almost all of their policies and decisions prove this. Do you think that TSA employees actually abuse people's rights of their own accord, or is it an example of the Milgram experiment? Have some compassion, you now know where to direct all that anger.

Anonymous said...

Passengers should demand to be allowed to wear there own personal radiation detector when passing through naked body scanners. Maybe after a few weeks even the TSA security people standing beside the machine all day will be smart enough to figure out what the cumulative affects might be to them. Every other person wearing a detector that goes crazy when they walk through surely it would be obvious. Why wouldn't the average person want to know or at least be curious about the levels of radiation they are unnecessarily exposed to? If not the TSA person that has to work there all day?

Anonymous said...

In my opinion this article is a bit sensationalist.

It's one thing to say that “statistically someone is going to get skin cancer from these X-rays” and “A large number of workers have been falling victim to cancer, strokes and heart disease.”

There is no corellation between strokes and heart disease and radiation exposure. And I would be curious to know the proportion of the cancer reported which are skin cancer.

With the linear no-threshold approximation used in low dose radioprotection, statistically there is always someone who will get cancer from nearly every bit of radiation.

Keep in mind that cancer, strokes and heart disease are the main cause of death in the general population.

Anonymous said...

anon 12:57pm, there are a number of studies and articles pointing directly to the correlation between repeated low level radiation exposure and heart disease. Somebody is being a little hammy with the disinfo today.

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=radiation+heart+disease

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg19726463.600-radiation-exposure-linked-to-heart-disease.html
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091022202710.htm

Anonymous said...

I love that people fall for the villainization of TSA workers. They don't set policy, they do the job. If you want to point fingers, point them at the White House for maintaining the too-broad set of powers that Bush/Clinton carved... and continunig the fear mongering.

Anonymous said...

It's ridiculous that out of all the comments above, everyone wants to give hell to the TSA agents who are getting cancer from these machines. Why aren't we worried about the bigger issue here, which is that if these people are getting radiation by being next to the machine, there is clearly a legitimate danger to the general public by being subjected to the full-body scanners.

Anonymous said...

Duh! What else needs to be said ?

Anonymous said...

"Keep in mind that cancer, strokes and heart disease are the main cause of death in the general population."
Good piece of common sense. Also, you could just as easily try to attribute these medical conditions to to fukushima.

Anonymous said...

To those saying there's no link between heart disease and radiation: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/3334760/High-radiation-exposure-linked-to-heart-disease.html

Also, see the BBC documentary on Chernobyl. Most of the scientists who worked on Chernobyl didn't die of cancer from the high radiation exposure, but to heart disease.

Anonymous said...

At Tampa International Airport (TIA), the screeners informed me that their scanners use sound waves, not radiation. Apparently that fools some people...

Anonymous said...

I don't think we should be happy that the TSA workers are getting cancer, they are providing a service doing their duty. Don't kill the messengers is all I am saying

Anonymous said...

Okay, I'm in school to be a radiographer and this makes no sense. X-rays don't cause heart attacks or strokes. They can lead to cancer, but it takes 30 or so years to develop. There are no short term effects from x-rays. The most you could get is a topical skin burn from standing directly in it for a prolonged time with a really high setting while these machines supposedly use a low amount. Since these scanners have been in place for what, a year or two? there's no way it's causing cancer already. People need to learn the truth about things before they start raising alarms like this. The employees especially should take it upon themselves to do some actual research into x-rays before they work with them.

Anonymous said...

also, they're not x-rays... they're millimeter waves. its more like a radio wave than it is an x-ray wave. milllimeter waves are non-ionizing and dont penetrate the skin. the problem is that TSA never explained the process/technology well enough and people, instead of doing research on their own, listen to ill-informed and doomsaying media.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8-8 4:39pm wow, you like the kool-aid don't ya? And to everybody defending these scumbags, 'Just following orders' wasn't good enough to get Nazi's off, why the hell should it be a good enough excuse for Americans?

Yes, the TSA employees are being victimized, but they victimize us, and enjoy it, openly... anything they get short of being drug to death in the streets chained to the lawmakers that put this in place and the politicians and military that carried out the false flag attacks to get the public to accept it is well earned. If you sell your soul to tyranny, even if its the only way you can eat, you've given up all right to sympathy, mercy, or forgiveness.

On the flip side, maybe some good could come of this. Its remotely possible (but unlikely) that all of this could result in some inkling of a return of lost freedoms.. maybe an intermission in security theater... at least long enough for their masters in the halls of power to stage another false flag attack...

Anonymous said...

So there is a price to be paid for all the airport molestation, cancer.

Anonymous said...

Take some action, TSA agents! SUE CHERTOFF! He used his connections to force this harmful technology through, and they have consistently disregarded warnings about its safety! Sue the bastard for all he's worth!

Anonymous said...

What I don't understand is why the union bosses - or the employees themselves - don't spring for inexpensive dosimeters. You can buy a personal dosimeter that looks like a pen for as little as $.99 on Ebay (better ones for $20-25). A little data might go a very long way. Why aren't they protecting themselves when the price is so low? Why are they waiting for the government to do it for them, while their own healths apparently suffer?

Jon Deniro said...

If every single TSA thug dies a slow, lingering death due to exposure from the scanners, I will not shed a single tear. They are...every single one of them...traitors and criminals. Yes, politicians should share in their fate, but that in no way mitigates the simple truth that the TSA thugs make a choice, each day that they show up for work, to be criminals. They know it - they choose to do it. Let them die - then toss the bodies in the nearest dumpster, along with the other trash.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 4:59 - You lost the argument at 'Nazi', and continue to fail with every subsequent argument. @4:39 is right. The scanners DON'T use ionizing (think nuclear) radiation. Millimeter waves are part of the electromagnetic spectrum, like all radio and light itself (which has a much shorter wavelength still).

That doesn't automatically make them safe *OR* dangerous, and @4:39 never suggested that they were either. Obviously you're the type who sees facts as a personal attack.

The soviets have been using mm wave radiation in medicine to treat cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, dermatitis, gastrointestinal disorders, wound healing, pain relief, and cancer for at least a decade. It's all a matter of wavelength, power, and length of exposure. Clearly more testing should be done, and transparency is paramount.

BTW: Standing in sunlight exposes you to *ALL* wavelengths of EM radiation, including those used in cell phones and security scanners, and it always has. Guess what? Too much sun exposure is bad for you too.

Speaking of kool-aid, how about you remove that silly tinfoil hat and start taking your meds again? You sound like an idiot. As long as people like you ramp up the hyperbole, the real facts of the matter will remain obscured.

I agree that the TSA is little more than security theater. There are more effective and less costly (in both freedom and dollars) methods of keeping the flying public safe. Calling for the brutal execution of your fellow Americans just because you disagree with the policies they had no hand in creating is well, Naziesque. Fortunately for us, you're just another impotent schmuck ranting on the internet.

Anonymous said...

Funny how people gripe about how we should be better protected of our aviation so we don't have another 9-11 and yet when something gets done you wish death... That's not American of you at all.. Plus if the public did what they were told most pat downs wouldn't occurr .

apeman2502 said...

This day and age lacks class. Where did it go?

Anonymous said...

Make me a tinfoil hat!

These TSA are suffering from ailments that take out most whistle blowers...

Heart attacks out of no where, like simpson who blew the whistle on BP...

Strokes and fast spreading cancer...some say custom made for the DNA of the victum...to silence those that might talk...

You can't think that every TSA is heartless and blind.

It would be interesting to see if there was a common link...say more incidents at one location than another, among certain types of people than another, etc.

Just sayin'

Maybe they're being knocked off.

Anonymous said...

I fly....often. I have yet to go through a scanner. I refuse and always will but, politely with a smile. The TSA women (as I am a woman and they gender match) almost always apologize for the pat down. They have been professional and efficient. They tell me, prior to touching me, what they will be doing next. I've never felt violated or embarrassed. Perhaps my attitude influences theirs? I have spoken to them of my concerns to the safety of the scanners and have heard their same concerns. I've also been told by a TSA agent that the public can never be forced to go through the scanner, you may always 'opt out'.
I think all this airport security is a false sense of security, the "bad guys" will always be a few steps ahead. The ones it may hinder are the idiots, like the shoe bomber...maybe.
I can't help but feel badly though, especially if this job is what they are able to get in this economy. It may be the only way to get health insurance for a family or food on the table. Maybe someone in the household needs to work nights while the other parents the kids. You don't know, so don't judge so harshly. Good for you if your life is easier.
I also believe in karma...and yeah, there are jerks out in the world, in EVERY walk of life. Sometimes you run into them and it's just the way they are, and sometimes it's the attitude YOU put out there that may be that last straw that turns them. Working with the public is tough...really tough and they don't deserve all this hate.

Anonymous said...

What freaked me out was the story about (9) TSA workers who had to have their genitals completely removed due to strange tumors. You know, -in light of this news, -that old story about the TSA worker who was dismissed for violence after scans of his little winky got out; -- Well, it now seems that there may have been a REAL cause for the shrinkage's!

VidTruth said...

I hate to say it, but they deserve what they get!

Zyg said...

The secretary at my dentist's office is required to wear a dosimeter but the child-molesting TSA goons who spend all day next to X-ray devices are prohibited from wearing them.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the information; am saddened to read these comments wishing for somebody to be dead or suffer. I personally can't stand the TSA and think the agency should be abolished. But to wish for somebody to die/get hurt/be sick? I find that sick on so many levels.

Anonymous said...

There are two different machines out there. One machine looks like a clear phone booth and does not send out x-rays instead send out milllimeter waves which are said to be non-harmful. In my opinion they still to show too much. Then there are the big blue telephone booths that are back scatter x-ray machines. When you see the big blue ones you will know the difference. As someone said above I travel a lot and have yet to have to be scanned and the TSA agents are typically nice as long as you are nice to them. Research and find out your own information and make your own decision as to what you want opt out of personally I don't want my body scans anywhere.

Anonymous said...

For the ones that want the TSA employees to die, I will pray for you. I will pray that no TSA employees read this, lets something get on your plane and you die a horrible death in the sky.

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