TSA X-Ray Airport Scanner Radiation Exposure

How much radiation exposure do you get from a TSA X-Ray Airport Scanner?  That a big question on the minds of business travelers now days.

The Department of Homeland Security and the Health Physics Today Society is the source of the following information:

Americans typically are exposed to 300 millirem of radiation each year from natural sources.  How airport security devices compare –

  • One full-body airport X-ray scan is less than 0.001 millirem
  • Regulatory limit for emissions from airport baggage X-ray machine is less than 0.5 millirem per hour
  • Panoramic dental X-ray is 1 millirem
  • Flying time from New York to LA is 4 millirems
  • Chest X-ray is 10 millirem
  • Mammogram is 36 millirem
  • CT Chest Scan is 700 millirem

The problem is, sometimes the TSA X-ray machines aren’t set correctly or they malfunction and emit a lot more radiation then they’re supposed to.

Some members of Congress have requested the TSA to release inspection reports to verify if airport X-ray machines meet the requirements to emit only low levels of radiation.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah said he’ll go after the records when his party takes over in January.  “It should send some flashing red lights when they won’t allow the public to review that data,” Chaffetz said.

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Discount Dog Supplies
December 15, 2010 at 5:11 pm

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Denis Drew December 18, 2010 at 6:35 pm

How can TSA administrative regs — composed with delegated Congressional legislative power – overwrite an explicit Congressional prohibition of naked child imaging: a legislative house divided against itself? Said prohibition passed First Amendment muster due to the harm done the imaged child. Viewing of (especially opposite-sex*) naked child images by either TSA or non-airport security personnel constitute the same legal offense.

(An artist’s rendering of what a child’s naked scan image would look like could not be shown legally on TV — yet real female children are being viewed by male TSA viewers all over our landscape, all day and all night, with incalculable damage to many. Stop it right now!)

Without TSA regs for legal cover (the government made me do it) male TSA agents (one viewer per scanner) viewing the kind of naked images of adult females which scanners transmit could be prosecuted under the same federal and/or state laws that would make such viewing illegal at any high school or skating rink entrance.

Ditto — most especially! — for TSA males physically “meeting the resistance” of female genitalia or brushing hands over their private (all!) areas, every bit as much as at any department store entrance. How can mere airport regs authorize — nay, mandate! — male stranger upon female stranger attractive part-touching just because, for example, TSA may short handed on female employees (many small airports?) — instead of merely refusing boarding of same (crackpot but not criminal)?
Both same-sex naked viewing and same-sex private part touching conflict with the justification previously cited by courts for okaying so-called administrative (warrant-less) searches: relatively limited invasion of privacy (sobriety checkpoints as far as it’s been stretched). 17 out of 17 TSA employees out of the 20 who answered a query from a travel site survey proclaimed their disgust with being forced to perform overly personal pat-downs (at last count drawing 824 mostly disgruntled comments).

Courts require a balancing justification for supposed-to-be not too intrusive administrative searches. If 1 in 10 million yearly US airline flights were going down to terrorism taking 300 souls with them, would saving them supply justification to subject the other 9,999,999 plane loads to (even same-sex, adult-only) naked imaging and and random private groping (scanner saw a hanky in your pocket; you can’t just take it out and go through again — you’re wearing a sanitary napkin; you may choose a private room for your ordeal) — even assuming $5 per passenger security actually worked? Not until we begin breathalyzing every driver at every checkpoint — which would be a lot less intrusive and save a lot more lives — than nationwide X-rated security theater.

A Cornell University study claimed 242 more driving fatalities per month occurred post 9/11, attributing those to travelers driving instead of flying (commenter #770 says he will fly to Mexico and drive to the U.S. if necessary to avoid the TSA).

[*Same Child (p.3); Exact Same Scanner; Software Detection Only (p.2)]

Denis Drew

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