Thursday, November 17, 2011

EUROPEAN UNION BANS TSA FULL BODY SCANNERS

Eddie Mayenschein, Transportation Security Administration, Office of Security, General Manager, narrates procedures as volunteers go through the first full body scanner installed at O'Hare International Airport , Monday, March 15, 2010, in Chicago. Federal transportation authorities demonstrated the technology to the media before starting to send passengers through the machine later today. Officials say they don't expect the body scanner which takes seconds to pass through to slow down security lines. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

PRO PUBLICA


“The European Union on Monday prohibited the use of X-ray body scanners in European airports, parting ways with the U.S. Transportation Security Administration, which has deployed hundreds of the scanners as a way to screen millions of airline passengers for explosives hidden under clothing.


The European Commission, which enforces common policies of the EU's 27 member countries, adopted the rule ‘in order not to risk jeopardizing citizens’ health and safety.’


As a ProPublica/PBS NewsHour investigation detailed earlier this month, X-ray body scanners use ionizing radiation, a form of energy that has been shown to damage DNA and cause cancer. Although the amount of radiation is extremely low, equivalent to the radiation a person would receive in a few minutes of flying, several research studies have concluded that a small number of cancer cases would result from scanning hundreds of millions of passengers a year…..”      


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U.S. Government Glossed Over Cancer Concerns As It Rolled Out Airport X-Ray Scanners


“…A ProPublica/PBS NewsHour investigation of how this decision was made shows that in post-9/11 America, security issues can trump even long-established medical conventions. The final call to deploy the X-ray machines was made not by the FDA, which regulates drugs and medical devices, but by the TSA, an agency whose primary mission is to prevent terrorist attacks.


Research suggests that anywhere from six to 100 U.S. airline passengers each year could get cancer from the machines. Still, the TSA has repeatedly defined the scanners as “safe,” glossing over the accepted scientific view that even low doses of ionizing radiation — the kind beamed directly at the body by the X-ray scanners — increase the risk of cancer.


“Even though it’s a very small risk, when you expose that number of people, there’s a potential for some of them to get cancer,” said Kathleen Kaufman, the former radiation management director in Los Angeles County, who brought the prison X-rays to the FDA panel’s attention….”     


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GOVERNMENT RESPONSES:


 

 

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