Sunday, June 19, 2011

Just Say "No" to Airport X-ray Scanners

I just returned from lecturing in Florida. As I was going through the security line at the airport, I was watching my fellow passengers to see if they would opt out of going through the x-ray scanner. Almost nobody did. When it was my turn, I told the TSA agent that I did not want to go through the x-ray machine. I was taken aside and given a pat-down.

When all of this was going on, I saw many people going through the regular metal detectors. I asked the agent if I could go through that instead and he said, “No. Those are for airport personnel only. Since they come and go frequently, they do not have to go through the x-ray machines.”

I would not recommend going through the x-ray machine. All ionizing radiation is damaging. These machines have not been properly tested and we do not know the long-term effects of being exposed to the radiation given off by them. And, if the TSA thinks the pilots and stewardesses need to be protected, well, so do the rest of us.

How much radiation are you exposed to from these machines? I have not been able to find a reliable source for this. In fact, I have seen information that the TSA is not doing the proper studies and is not releasing the information that would help us determine how much radiation is used by these machines.

So, when you are at the airport, remember to just say “no” to the x-ray scanner. It isn’t worth the risk.


  • At September 15, 2011 at 9:19 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    When most people line up at Security, they put their bags on the conveyor and then walk through something to get their bags on the other side. Are they walking through a metal detector or is that an x-ray machine as well?

  • At September 25, 2011 at 5:26 PM , Anonymous David Brownstein said...

    The airport scanner you want to avoid is the one where you have to put up your hands and stand there while the machine takes a radiographic picture of you. The metal dectector machines do not emit any radiation. They are the machiners that you simply walk through.


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