The Truth About Backscatter X-Rays And Airport Security

Nearly a year ago I wrote an article about the dangerous and invasive TSA backscatter x-ray machines being used at a few major airports.  I warned of the risks these machines pose to both our health and our dignity.  The issue has obviously escalated.  There are now 350 full-body, backscatter x-ray scanners being utilized in 70 American airports, with an expected 650 more projected to be in operation by the end of 2011.  I encouraged people to opt out of the machine line and undergo a physical pat-down, but it would appear that TSA’s disregard for human sovereignty extends into this line as well, where many are reporting sexual assault by the security personnel.

People are becoming very angry around this issue.  This is good, as it may well lead to a change in the situation.  The basic rights of sovereignty say we shouldn’t have to choose between being zapped with radiation or being sexually humiliated by security to board an airplane for a flight we’ve purchased.  According to Marc Rotenberg (president of the Electronic Privacy Information Center), who has sought a court order to stop the use of the scanners, “The digital X-ray cameras called “body scanners” and the genital-groping searches called “pat-downs” — have never been reviewed by a court.”  He argues that the radiation, with genital groping alternative, are unreasonable measures.  Pilots unions are objecting, and grassroots organizations such as are fighting the obvious invasion of privacy by encouraging a boycott of air travel until the machines are shut down.

It is suspected, by and large, that the invasiveness of the “enhanced” pat-downs is intended to humiliate and intimidate people to go through the backscatter scanner in spite of the threat of radiation.  Furthermore, once you’ve arrived at a security checkpoint, TSA policy dictates that you must submit to the naked body scanner or the enhanced pat-down.  Refusal to undergo radiation or sexual assault makes you immediately suspect.  You will then be detained on the premises by the TSA and local law enforcement, and be subject to up to $11,000 in fines and possible arrest.  Unknown to most, any airport can opt out of TSA’s security programs, and hire private security contractors, whom studies show are actually more efficient, though the TSA bureaucracy still sets standards regulating all airport security.

As a matter of health, the late John Gofman, MD, PhD, author of Radiation from Medical Procedures in the Pathogenesis of Cancer and Ischemic Heart Disease: Dose-Response Studies with Physicians per 100,000 Population, and the leading expert in the field of health and radiation, stated clearly that, “There is no safe dosage of ionized radiation”; a conclusion that he draws, in part, from the number of epidemiological studies strongly suggesting that x-rays and other ionizing radiation are a cause of most types of human cancer, as well as ischemic heart disease. Dr. Gofman’s studies indicate that radiation from medical diagnostics and treatment is a causal co-factor in 50% of America’s cancers and 60% of our ischemic (blood flow blockage) heart disease. He stresses that the frequency with which Americans are medically X-rayed “makes for a significant radiological impact.”  The more people are exposed to these higher doses of radiation the greater their risk of real life-threatening cancer and heart disease.  The effects of radiation are cumulative.  These little doses add up, and if you travel frequently you are “at risk”.

Flying, in general, exposes you to large amounts of ionized radiation.  A transcontinental flight at 30,000 feet exposes you to 1,000 times the amount of radiation you receive from the backscatter device.  As has been long known, flying at night reduces that exposure by 99%.

The unique nature of the backscatter technology may present a risk of skin cancer, according to Jane Orient, MD, because it concentrates all the radiation in the skin, rather than spreading it throughout the body.  She wrote in an article for the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons that the radiation dose is concentrated in the skin.  The effects of these devices have not been properly studied and the American public is essentially an unwilling guinea pig for this aberrant technology.  Although it generally increases everyone’s exposure, those with any pre-cancer condition or DNA mutation susceptibility are particularly at risk.

At the heart of the controversy is a conflict of interest between our sovereign right to privacy and to our bodies’ health and wellbeing verses the excessive fear of terrorism based “security” approaches.  On a grosser level, the public safety is a conflict with the economic interests behind these back “stabbers”.  Former homeland security chief and co-author of the Patriot Act, Michael Chertoff, promotes the scanners and is a paid consultant for the companies who sell them.  Our institutions and agencies are rife with this type of manipulative exploitation of the American public.  We must all do our parts to expose this behavior and establish boundaries to protect our rights, which are clearly being violated at an alarming increase.

To minimize damage from the necessary flying we do and the unnecessary backscatter x-ray machines, I recommend trying to fly at night, and consuming antioxidants such as (1)HealthForce’s Antioxidant Extreme (6 capsules every 2-4 hours while flying, in addition to (2)Patrick Flannigan’s Mega Hydrate (1/8 teaspoon every 2-4 hours while flying.  I also recommend ongoing consumption of (3) astaxanthin (2 mg every day).  We carry all of these at the Tree of Life.

I also urge you to contact your state senators and congress(wo)men and let them know your position on the TSA’s reckless and degrading policies and techniques for “protecting” us. We must strongly protest to convince authorities that this is a dangerous, thoughtless, and genocidal approach, which will increase the risk of cancer, atherosclerosis, heart disease, and brain damage to our population. The risk/benefit analysis does not justify these measures, which are at best foolish and genocidal.  We, as U.S. citizens and our children should not be treated as terrorists and certainly should not be exposed to x-rays and sexual groping.

This crazy scenario started with the “underwear” bomber, who somehow was escorted through the line by a smartly-dressed man and managed to board a plane without a passport and/or visa.  This cycle of created fear and terror from the culture of death can no longer be allowed to dominate and undermine our lives.  These attempts by the culture of death to undermine our birth into the Culture of Life need to be seen for what they are.  By no longer playing into this fear and terror, we create fertile ground to grow the seeds of health, wellbeing, and love of the Culture of Life.