Thursday, 2 September 2010

Do we really need the new airport scanners?

Gradually more and more airports around the world are introducing the new full-body scanners. To their credit, most governments and airports maintain the scan as a non-compulsory option. Manchester (UK) airport being a notable exception – if you are selected for a scan and refuse, you can't board your flight; let's hope whoever sells you an air ticket that goes through Manchester airport makes that very clear to you.

My concerns are not so much the fact that the scans reveal each person's anatomy to a great extent, though those are valid concerns – can you really trust any of the operators to not ogle at the scanned images, no matter how much training they have had? And if operators of scanners at a US courthouse in Orlando, Florida were able to save 35,000 images, who is to say that images will not be stored in the future in the US or in another country. The real worry for me is the hidden effects of the radiation used for the scans.

I am not a radiation expert, but when it comes to exposing my body to extra radiation I would rather opt out. Air travel, mobile phones, UV rays, dental X-rays, UV lights, fluorescent lights…I have enough on my mind to worry and would rather not add another radiation source to my list. Let's not forget pesticides, herbicides, cleaning products, pollution, and a myriad of other nasties that we are exposed to on an everyday basis. The above are a fact of modern life and I accept them because they are my choice to accept. I could go and live in a far away place, grow my own food, stay indoors during the day and use home-made candles at night while my teeth do whatever they please...but I choose to live in our modern world with all its modern conveniences (and perils).

I wonder what will happen if 20 years from now we have a surge in cancer among frequent fliers and airport scanner operators (is standing near those things safe?). Or worse, what if these scans have immediate detrimental effects on sperm quality in men or pregnant women unaware that they are pregnant? What do we do with these unseen and unfelt damages to DNA? Do you feel the initial damage from UV rays that give you skin cancer? Do you feel your liver scarring little by little from drinking too much or the nascent cancer in your lungs from smoking or inhaling nasty pollution?

From some news reports, the option of a pat-down can be quite handsy…perhaps we should make air travel clothing-optional.

Image credit: Filomena Scalise / Sphere: Related Content


  1. I every time spent my half an hour to read this website's articles or reviews daily along with a mug of coffee.

    Feel free to visit my homepage: expensive

  2. Hello would you mind stating which blog platform you're working with? I'm planning to start my own blog
    in the near future but I'm having a difficult time selecting between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design seems different then most blogs and I'm
    looking for something completely unique. P.
    S Sorry for being off-topic but I had to ask!

    Look at my blog post - 95585

  3. Whoa! This blog looks exactly like my old one!
    It's on a entirely different topic but it has pretty much the same page layout and design. Superb choice of colors!

    My web blog ::

  4. Hello outstanding website! Does running a blog like this take a great
    deal of work? I have virtually no expertise in programming but I was hoping to start my
    own blog soon. Anyways, should you have any suggestions or
    tips for new blog owners please share. I know
    this is off subject however I simply needed to ask.
    Thanks a lot!

    Here is my web blog ... "weirdo"

  5. Ι dіscοvereԁ your blog οn http://currentglobalperceptions.
    blogspot.сom/ and I'm very happy I have. It's as if you read my mind.
    Yοu come acroѕѕ as knowіng so much concernіng this,
    аs if you authоred the booκ on it or sоmething.

    While Ӏ thinκ somе extra mеdia likе ѕome pics or a couple of videos, this will be a fantastiс rеsource.
    I will сertainly return.

    Feel free to visit my ωeblog :: oftentimes