After reports as far back as 1998 surfaced and revealed that the TSA’s X-ray scanners could be causing around 100 cases of cancer per year conservatively, the TSA announced that it would be launching an ‘independent’ study over the safety of the machines.
During a senate hearing following the explosive nature of the report, TSA administrator John Pistole agreed to a request by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine to examine the health effects of the TSA x-ray scanners by commissioning an independent study.
Of course Pistole would retract his statements in a later Senate hearing earlier this week. Pistole stated that such a study might be unnecessary due to a draft he received on the machines by the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general.
Interestingly, the report by the inspector general is not to be released for a few weeks, by which time the media backlash over the negative effects of the scanners will have died down. Even more interesting is the fact that the report mainly focuses on how the TSA monitors and maintains the machines. It seems quite apparent that the TSA is doing anything possible to avoid a truly independent study over the dangers of their machines.
This becomes even more apparent when TSA administrator Pistole denies the need for the study citing his personal belief in the machines. In fact, he goes on to discuss his “belief” in the safety of the machines:
‘My strong belief is those types of machines are still completely safe,’ Pistole said. ‘If the determination is that this IG study is not sufficient, then I will look at still yet another additional study.’
Previous reports confirm X-ray scanners cause cancer
The government has known for over a decade that TSA X-ray scanners, also known as naked body scanners, are causing cancer. Even more shocking than the cover-up of the negative health effects associated with X-ray scanners is the complete lack of action taken on behalf of the government that is supposed to ‘protect’ you from harm. Despite knowing since 1998, they have done absolutely nothing about it. Furthermore, John Pistole stating that further research is “unnecessary” highlights the blatant disregard these officials have for our health.
A panel of radiation safety experts gathered in 1998 to analyze a security device called the Secure 1000, an X-ray scanner model. Designed specifically to beam you with X-rays in order to see under your clothing, the experts had concerns over the safety of the machine. The experts pointed out in their evaluation of the machine that it violated a basic principal of radiation safety: humans should not be X-rayed unless there is a specific medical benefit. Of course there is no medical benefit surrounding the TSA’s naked body scanners. In fact, it has been found that the X-ray scanners do not even offer a significantly increased security benefit, despite government officials blowing out the budget to install them at major airports nationwide.
There is a reason the TSA is going back on their promise for an independent study on the safety of their X-ray scanners — a truly independent study would simply find conclusions similar to the 1998 expert panel. It is no surprise that the TSA is falling back on a Department of Homeland Security ‘draft’ that isn’t even focused on X-ray scanner safety. Fortunately, the 1998 study and the warnings of leading experts are evidence enough to avoid these scanners on the grounds of ruining our health and our privacy.
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