Scientist Proclaims Body Scanners and Terrorist Bombs Equally Harmful
According to the Daily Mail, the warning comes from a statistical coincidence demonstrating it is just as likely you will die from radiation allegedly emitted by the scanners.
Peter Rez from Arizona State University said the probability from dying from either source is about one in 30 million.
"The thing that worries me the most, is not what happens if the machine works as advertised, but what happens if it doesn't," he said to the Daily Mail, warming that a potential malfunction could increase the radiation dose.
Rez has extensively studied the radiation doses given off by backscatter scanners using images produced by the machines. In his studies, he discovered the radiation dosage to be much higher than the manufacturers claimed.
The scientist also suggests the statistical coincidence shows there is no reason to deploy any type of body scanning technology at airports; according to him, with or without the machines the risk is identical.
He did not, however, make any comments on the possibility of body scanners terrorist from planning attacks.
"They're both incredibly unlikely events. These are still a factor of 10 lower than the probability of dying in any one year from being struck by lightning in the United States."
Critics of the body scanners say the machines deliver a small dose of radiation to the body because the beam concentrates directly on the skin, one of the most radiation-sensitive organs of the human body.
Several other scientists have already petitioned the Food and Drug Administration, complaining the safety aspects of the body scanners had not been properly addressed before they were installed in airports nationwide.
There are currently 400 body scanners in airports nationwide. The controversial technology picks up all natural curves and bumps in the body, as well as any potential weapons that may be missed during a traditional pat down. These "naked images" are fed to a computer in a private room.
On the other hand, the Civil Aviation Authority, Department for Transport and Health Protection Agency in the United Kingdom insists the technology is safe. The agency said it would take 5,000 trips through the scanner to even equal the dose of a single chest X-ray.
"To put the issue in perspective, the radiation received from the scanning process is the equivalent to two minutes radiation received on a Transatlantic flight," the CAA told the Daily Mail.
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