Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Prepare to be Groped

Now, there's no one more air safety conscious than yours truly.  But I'm also a common sense type.  (I say any person or any cargo from ... well no, I don't think I'll go on that rant right now.)  So when I first heard that those new-fangled full-body x-ray scanners were unsafe I thought "right, more B.S. from some mis-directed do-gooder wacko consumer group", as is my usual response.  However, apparently the threat to safety is real in this case.  Dr. Michael Love, who runs the x-ray laboratory at the Department of Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said recently that, "they say the risk is minimal, but statistically someone is going to get skin cancer from these x-rays" and "people are so eager to fly that they will risk their lives in this manner".  A group of scientists at the University of California San Francisco also raised the issue of safety in a letter sent to the White House stating, " while the dose would be safe if it were distributed ... the dose to the skin may be dangerously high".  The problem, apparently, is that because the scanner's inner workings are classified the x-ray beam intensity and other details are unknown.  And, thanks to U.S. government stimulus money, there are more full-body scanners than ever in airports.  Soon you'll have the choice of a full-body scan or a manual "pat-down" or choosing some other mode of travel.  I don't know about you, but this body is a temple - I'll be groped before I'll be scoped.