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(NaturalNews) The news about the potential health dangers of the TSA’s naked body scanners just keeps getting worse. An increasing number of doctors and scientists are going public with their warnings about the health implications of subjecting yourself to naked body scanners. These include Dr Russell Blaylock (see below) as well as several professors from the University of California who are experts in X-ray imaging.
At the same time, some internet bloggers are insisting that the TSA’s naked body scanners pose no health risks because air travelers are subjected to higher levels of radiation by simply enduring high-altitude flights where cosmic radiation isn’t filtered out by the full thickness of the Earth’s atmosphere. This comparison, however, is inaccurate: The TSA’s body scanners focus radiation on the skin and organs near the skin whereas cosmic radiation during high-altitude flights is distributed across the entire mass of your body.
Comparing the total radiation exposure across your entire body to machine-emitted radiation exposure that focuses its ionizing radiation primarily on your skin is like comparing apples and oranges. You’ll see this explained further, below, in the words of these scientists.
As Dr Russell Blaylock (www.BlaylockReport.com) recently reported:
The growing outrage over the Transportation Security Administration’s new policy of backscatter scanning of airline passengers and enhanced pat-downs brings to mind these wise words from President Ronald Reagan: The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help you. So, what is all the concern really about – will these radiation scanners increase your risk of cancer or other diseases? A group of scientists and professors from the University of California at San Francisco voiced their concern to Obama’s science and technology adviser John Holdren in a well-stated letter back in April.
The letter Dr Blaylock is referring to is from the Faculty of the University of California, San Francisco and is signed by Doctors John Sedat Ph.D., David Agard, Ph.D., Marc Shuman, M.D., Robert Stroud, Ph.D.
You can download or view the full letter from NaturalNews here (PDF):
Even though it was written in April of this year, this letter has received increased publicity lately due to the TSA’s sudden expansion of naked body scanners in airports as well as the agency’s arrogant insistence that such machines will soon be used at bus stations, railway stations and other entrance points for mass transportation.
In this NaturalNews article, I highlight the most important warnings from this letter and explain, in plain language, what these scientists are trying to say.
The letter that the TSA doesn’t want you to read
Once again, this letter was written by Drs John Sedat Ph.D., David Agard, Ph.D., Marc Shuman, M.D., Robert Stroud, Ph.D., all from the University of California.
Here is their background as described in the letter:
Dr. Sedat is a Professor Emeritus in Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco, with expertise in imaging. He is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences. The other cosigners include Dr Marc Shuman, and internationally well known and respected cancer expert and UCSF professor, as well as Drs David Agard and Robert Stroud, who are UCSF Professors, X-ray crystallographers, imaging experts and NAS members.
Here are the highlights of the letter along with my comments and explanations:
“We are writing to call your attention to serious concerns about the potential health risks of the recently adopted whole body backscatter X-ray airport security scanners. This is an urgent situation as these X-ray scanners are rapidly being implemented as a primary
screening step for all air travel passengers.”
Translation: The naked body scanners may be dangerous to your health.
“Our overriding concern is the extent to which the safety of this scanning device has
been adequately demonstrated. This can only be determined by a meeting of an impartial panel of experts that would include medical physicists and radiation biologists at which all of the available relevant data is reviewed.”
Translation: The safety of these naked body scanners has never been demonstrated, and especially not by an independent panel of qualified scientists.
“The physics of these X-rays is very telling: the X-rays are Compton-Scattering off outer molecule bonding electrons and thus inelastic (likely breaking bonds).”
Translation: The ionizing radiation emitted by these devices can alter your DNA.
“Unlike other scanners, these new devices operate at relatively low beam energies (28keV). The majority of their energy is delivered to the skin and the underlying tissue. Thus, while the dose would be safe if it were distributed throughout the volume of the entire body, the dose to the skin may be dangerously high.”
Translation: The danger of these devices is significantly higher than what might be assumed from the TOTAL radiation emissions. This is why those who claim “you get more radiation just from flying” are flat-out wrong in their conclusions.
“This comparison is very misleading: both the air travel cosmic ray exposure and chest X-rays have much higher X-ray energies and the health consequences are appropriately understood in terms of the whole body volume dose. In contrast, these new airport scanners are largely depositing their energy into the skin and immediately adjacent
tissue, and since this is such a small fraction of body weight / volume, possibly by one to two orders of magnitude, the real dose to the skin is now high.”
Translation: This is a further explanation of why the ionizing radiation from the naked body scanners may pose a much higher risk of cancer (two orders of magnitude higher!) than what might be assumed from the total radiation emissions.
“In addition, it appears that real independent safety data do not exist. A search,
ultimately finding top FDA radiation physics staff, suggests that the relevant radiation
quantity, the Flux [photons per unit area and time (because this is a scanning device)]
has not been characterized. Instead an indirect test (Air Kerma) was made that
emphasized the whole body exposure value, and thus it appears that the danger is low
when compared to cosmic rays during airplane travel and a chest X-ray dose.
In summary, if the key data (flux-integrated photons per unit values) were available, it
would be straightforward to accurately model the dose being deposited in the skin and adjacent tissues using available computer codes, which would resolve the potential
concerns over radiation damage.”
Translation: The FDA screwed up the safety testing (gee, really?) by assuming the emitted radiation was distributed across the entire body rather than focused on the skin.
It brings up the question: When and how were these devices ever approved by the FDA anyway? Naked body scanners are clearly “medical devices” as they emit X-rays that penetrate body tissue. Did the FDA ever conduct long-term clinical trials demonstrating the safety of these devices? (Of course not.)
Did they ever test the safety of naked body scanners on pregnant women? What about senior citizens? How about people who have already undergone radiation treatments for conditions like thyroid cancer?
Ten big concerns voiced by the scientists
Here are ten additional concerns raised by these scientists in their letter: (the bolded titles are my subheads, the subsequent explanation test is quoted straight out the scientists’ letter)
#1) Cancer in senior citizens – The large population of older travelers, greater than 65 years of age, is particularly at risk from the mutagenic effects of the X-rays based on the known biology of melanocyte aging.
#2) Breast cancer – A fraction of the female population is especially sensitive to mutagenesis-provoking radiation leading to breast cancer. Notably, because these women, who have defects in DNA repair mechanisms, are particularly prone to cancer, X-ray mammograms are not performed on them. The dose to breast tissue beneath the skin represents a similar risk.
#3) White blood cells being irradiated – Blood (white blood cells) perfusing the skin is also at risk.
#4) HIV and cancer patients – The population of immunocompromised individuals — HIV and cancer patients (see above) is likely to be at risk for cancer induction by the high skin dose.
#5) Radiation risk to children – The risk of radiation emission to children and adolescents does not appear to have been fully evaluated.
#6) Pregnant women – The policy towards pregnant women needs to be defined once the theoretical risks to the fetus are determined.
#7 Sperm mutations – Because of the proximity of the testicles to skin, this tissue is at risk for sperm mutagenesis.
#8 Radiation effects on cornea and thymus – Have the effects of the radiation on the cornea and thymus been determined?
#9 Problems with the machine – There are a number of ‘red flags’ related to the hardware itself. Because this device can scan a human in a few seconds, the X-ray beam is very intense. Any glitch in power at any point in the hardware (or more importantly in software) that stops the device could cause an intense radiation dose to a single spot on the skin.
Translation: This machine does not emit a “flood light” of radiation like you might get from a dental X-ray machine. Rather, this machine emits a thin, narrow beam of radiation that is quickly “scanned” across your body, back and forth, in much the same way that an inkjet printer prints a page (but a lot faster). Because the angle of the X-ray beam is controlled by the scanner software, a glitch in the software could turn the naked body scanner into a high-energy weapon if the beam gets “stuck” in one location for more than a fraction of a second.
#10 Higher radiation for the groin? – Given the recent incident (on December 25th, 2009), how do we know whether the manufacturer or TSA, seeking higher resolution, will scan the groin area more slowly leading to a much higher total dose?
None of these ten concerns are being answered by the TSA and its head John Pistole. The attitude from the TSA on these scanners, in fact, is downright belligerent, treating Americans as terrorists and threatening to arrest and detain individuals who refuse to be scanned and groped.
The TSA, it seems, believes it can do no wrong. Such is the inevitable outcome of granting too much power to any government department, as it will always seek to expand its power to the point of tyranny over the People.
Dangerous errors are possible
In this letter, these scientists go on to explain why they continue to hold such concerns: (my emphasis added)
We would like to put our current concerns into perspective. As longstanding UCSF
scientists and physicians, we have witnessed critical errors in decisions that have seriously affected the health of thousands of people in the United States. These unfortunate errors were made because of the failure to recognize potential adverse outcomes of decisions made at the federal level.
Crises create a sense of urgency that frequently leads to hasty decisions where unintended consequences are not recognized. Examples include the failure of the CDC to recognize the risk of blood transfusions in the early stages of the AIDS epidemic, approval of drugs and devices by the FDA without sufficient review, and improper standards set by the EPA, to name a few.
Similarly, there has not been sufficient review of the intermediate and long-term effects of radiation exposure associated with airport scanners. There is good reason to believe that these scanners will increase the risk of cancer to children and other vulnerable populations.
We are unanimous in believing that the potential health consequences need to be rigorously studied before these scanners are adopted. Modifications that reduce radiation exposure need to be explored as soon as possible.
In summary we urge you to empower an impartial panel of experts to reevaluate the potential health issues we have raised before there are irrevocable long-term consequences to the health of our country. These negative effects may on balance far outweigh the potential benefit of increased detection of terrorists.
Translation: These scientists believe that the TSA’s naked body scanners pose a risk of promoting cancer across the population and that a real, scientific evaluation by trained, independent scientists must be conducted before these scanners are put to further use.
Again, you can read this letter for yourself here:
Big Government says: What cancer?
The TSA, of course, refuses to hold any serious discussion about the science behind its use of naked body scanners… primarily because there is no legitimate science backing the use of its naked body scanners.
This whole scam was orchestrated by Chertoff and his Washington buddies to scare the population into accepting X-ray scans at airports so that a few rich white guys could cash in on the sale of these machines to the federal government.
The whole thing is a massive con job that, as usual, benefits the bank accounts of a few well-connected power pushers while compromising both the freedoms and the health of the American people.
No legitimate safety testing has ever been conducted on these naked body scanners, and yet the FDA and TSA just allow them to be rolled out on the ASSUMPTION that they must somehow be perfectly safe. (The same is true with seasonal flu vaccines, by the way, which are never tested in randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials.)
Isn’t this how aspartame got legalized, come to think of it? Except in that case it was Rumsfeld, not Chertoff, calling the shots.
You can’t have nutrition, but we’ll feed you X-rays!
Think about what’s happening here for a minute: The FDA is an agency that has gone out and threatened, raided and persecuted manufacturers of walnuts, cherries and green tea products who made scientifically validated health claims about the benefits of those products. And yet, when it comes to rolling out naked body scanners that pose a cancer risk to the population, the FDA requires no legitimate scientific testing whatsoever and simply rubber stamps the whole project, thereby subjecting virtually the entire population to radiation-emitting devices with an unknown level of health risk.
But then again, what do they care if a few thousand people get cancer anyway? More cancer just means more profits for the cancer industry which, not coincidentally, just happens to treat its patients with yet more radiation as some sort of “therapy” for cancer. (I know, this just gets more bizarre the further you go).
Big Pharma must love the fact that millions of Americans are now being subjected to yet another form of ionizing radiation, as that means more cancer patients to buy chemotherapy in the years ahead, too. Pile ‘em in, Chief! We’ve got more cattle to brand!
The craziest part of all
But the really crazy part about this whole story is not that the scientists are concerned about the health risks of these naked body scanners. It’s not that the TSA is, itself, a terrorist organization now generating more fear and terror than the international terrorists could ever hope to accomplish. It’s not even the fact that the FDA allows these radiation machines to be widely used across the country despite the fact that they’ve never been honestly and scientifically tested for use on humans.
No, the real shocker in all this is the startling fact that people are lining up like cattle to go along with this. Your average American citizen, it seems, just can’t wait to bow down to authority and subject their private body parts to a federal search in complete violation of their Constitutional rights.
The American education system, it seems, has successfully produced a race of wage slaves who utterly fail to ask intelligent questions or stand up for their own rights. I guess that’s the result of all the revisionist history being taught in public schools these days, where children are taught that Christopher Columbus is a national hero and that the government always tells the truth.
By the way, this reminds me to mention one of the most eye-opening books you will ever read. It’s called Lies the Government Told You: Myth, Power, and Deception in American History by Judge Andrew Napolitano (http://www.amazon.com/Lies-Government-Told-You-Deception/dp/159555266…)
If you’re not one of the Sheeple, and you think for yourself, and you have come to the realization that practically everything you were taught about history in the public schools was a complete fabrication, then you will definitely enjoy this book. It’s written by one of the most knowledgeable and intelligent Constitutional scholars you’ll ever encounter, and its sections on the Fourth Amendment are especially relevant to what’s happening today with the TSA.
In fact, come to think of it, Judge Napolitano recently appeared on the Alex Jones Show to talk about the freedom issues with the naked body scanners and obscene gropes. You can watch those videos at: http://www.prisonplanet.com/the-alex-jones-show-judge-napolitano-on-t…
It’s a very educational interview.
Naked body scanners pose a cancer risk
But getting back to the health issue in particular, it is clear to anyone who understands the laws of physics that the TSA’s naked body scanners create an increased risk of cancer to the population.
That’s why I had the sense to refuse to go through one of these when directed to do so at a California airport. I opted out and went through the “easy” pat down (the easy version, before they upgraded to their “enhanced” pat downs). (http://www.naturalnews.com/030100_naked_body_scanners_airport.html)
As of right now, I refuse to fly until the TSA backs off its naked body scanner madness. Not only do I refuse to subject my biology to ionizing radiation that carries an unknown cancer risk, but I also strongly object to the U.S. government violating my Constitutional rights by viewing the shape of my naked body on their electronic viewing screens.
Who are the real terrorists? The TSA
Another thing that has become abundantly clear in all this is that the real terror threat is the TSA itself. “Terrorism” is defined as using fear to achieve a political purpose. I can’t think of a better example of that than the TSA and its fear-mongering campaign engineered to justify its huge power-grabbing expansion of personnel and authority. This is a government agency that had fewer than 200 employees a few years ago but now directs over 60,000 agents (it’s like a whole new army of domestic secret police).
Another obvious “a-ha” moment in all this comes when you realize that air travelers are far more afraid of the TSA than any terror threat. Your chances of being killed by a terrorist on an air flight in America are so low that you probably have a greater chance of being struck by lightning right smack in the center of your butt crack while doing a yoga pose in a thunderstorm. And yet, your chances of being molested by the TSA are orders of magnitude higher, and everyone who stands in line at a security checkpoint is thinking, in the back of their minds, “Oh God, I hope they don’t single me out for an obscene pat down.”
The fact that this thought appears in your head (and admit it, it does) should be a huge red flag that you now live in a police state. People who live in truly free societies do not fret over being molested by their own government security agents.
Think about it: The way you and I feel in a TSA security line in many way reflects a small part of the way a Jewish citizen must have felt in Germany, in the 1930′s, when a Nazi party member knocked on their door and demanded to see their papers. You never know: Am I going to be arrested? Molested? Detained? Deported? Or even killed?
Remember: Terrorism hinges on the ability of those in power to leverage fear in order to achieve their political goals. And right now, that seems to be a word-for-word blueprint for what the TSA is doing to the American people.
“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” – Thomas Jefferson.
And Winston Churchill famously said:
“If you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a small chance of survival. There may even be a worse case: you may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.”
Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/030607_naked_body_scanners_radiation.html#ixzz1sgAuN3ve
IT’S OKAY TO X-RAY PREGNANT WOMEN AND BABIES IN THE WOMB (TSA) We Don’t Care What Science Says!
Just when you started to think it might be safe to fly again…
Remember those whole-body, X-ray scanners the government installed in airports across the country and kept insisting were so safe? It turns out that they’re not so safe, after all. According to an investigative report by “ProPublica/PBS NewsHour,” anywhere from six to 100 U.S. airline passengers each year could get cancer from the machines.
Many Americans initially objected to the invasive nature of the scans, which have been likened to “virtual strip searches” because of the degree to which intimate details of the body are revealed. In response, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) attempted to alter the devices to make the X-ray images less graphic. Unfortunately, the TSA has done little to nothing about the concerns increasingly being raised about the risk of cancer from the scanners.
Yet as far back as 1998, radiation experts were warning against using X-ray scanners to peer beneath people’s clothing in the search for weapons and contraband, insisting that the machines violate a longstanding principle in radiation safety — that humans shouldn’t be X-rayed unless there is a medical benefit. More recently, in April 2010, four members of the University of California faculty relayed to Dr. John P. Holdren, President Obama’s Science and Technology czar, their concerns about the serious health risks posed to travelers by the whole body backscatter X-ray scanners, which concentrate radiation on the skin. Refuting the TSA’s insistence that the scanners are safe, the scientists believe that the scanners could cause mutations and skin cancer. Other scientists have also voiced their concerns over the devices, such as Dr. David Brenner, who heads Columbia University’s Center for Radiological Research. He states that radiation produced by the scanners is 20 times higher than the official estimate.
Incredibly, the government has continued to dismiss the medical and scientific community’s concerns about these X-ray machines, relying instead on safety assurances from profit-driven corporations such as Rapiscan. As a result, notes investigative reporter Michael Grabell, “the United States has begun marching millions of airline passengers through the X-ray body scanners, parting ways with countries in Europe and elsewhere that have concluded that such widespread use of even low-level radiation poses an unacceptable health risk. The government is rolling out the X-ray scanners despite having a safer alternative that the Transportation Security Administration says is also highly effective.” (Grabell is referring to millimeter-wave scanners, which rely on low-energy radio waves and perform the exact same function as X-ray scanners without the potential harm to health.)
The “ProPublica/PBS NewsHour” report, which is available here, traces the history of the scanners, details exactly how the decision to deploy these scanners came about, and documents the gaps in regulation that allowed them to avoid rigorous safety evaluation. This report is a damning indictment of the extent to which the American people have been sold to the highest corporate bidder by government leaders.
As Grabell points out, even the TSA’s argument that the scanners are essential to preventing attacks on airplanes starts to fall apart once you realize that they waited nine years after 9/11 to start deploying them, and only after being lobbied heavily by Rapiscan, which wanted to get their machines in airports throughout the country. Their lobbying paid off to the tune of $300 million in revenue in 2011: While there are other manufacturers of these machines, Rapiscan is the only one supplying them to American airports.
Currently, there are roughly 250 X-ray scanners and 264 millimeter-wave scanners in U.S. airports, largely funded by Obama’s stimulus plan. By the end of 2012, the TSA intends to have 1,275 backscatter and millimeter-wave scanners covering more than half its security lanes, with 1,800 covering nearly all the lanes by 2014. As Grabell reports, “The TSA has designated the scanners for ‘primary’ screening: Officers will direct every passenger, including children, to go through either a metal detector or a body scanner, and the passenger’s only alternative will be to request a physical pat-down.”
Of course, the retributive, harsh treatment and excessive full-body searches being meted out to those who decline a full-body scan may not be a very comforting alternative to the TSA’s virtual strip searches. While having a full-body frisk may not pose any direct health risks, it has becoming increasingly apparent that TSA agents carry out the physical searches in so invasive and humiliating a manner as to discourage travelers from opting out of the scans.
It’s bad enough having to shell out exorbitant amounts of money in order to travel, but there’s no reason any individual should be forced to choose between a certified health risk or a humiliating, invasive search of their person by ill-trained government agents.
To say that “we the people” have done a sorry job of holding our representatives accountable or standing up for our rights is putting it mildly, but there must be a limit to our temerity. At a minimum, the X-ray scanners need to be replaced with radio-frequency millimeter-wave scanners, which, unlike their counterparts, have not been shown to cause cancer in humans. And the DHS and TSA need to go back to the drawing board and find a better way to protect national security without sacrificing our health and our freedoms.
We’ve suffered countless abuses since 9/11. In the name of national security, we’ve been subjected to government agents wiretapping our phones, reading our mail, monitoring our emails and carrying out warrantless “black bag” searches of our homes. Then we had to deal with surveillance cameras mounted on street corners and in traffic lights, weather satellites co-opted for use as spy cameras from space, and thermal sensory imaging devices that can detect heat and movement through walls. Now we find ourselves subjected to cancer-causing full-body scanners in airports, and all the government can say is that it’s “a really, really small amount relative to the security benefit you’re going to get.”
What will it take for Americans to finally say enough is enough?