Body Scanners: Health Hazards vs. Security Threats
CNN reported on New Year's Eve that some 450 body scanning machines are to be installed at international airports across the country. This developed even as civil rights organizations have protested against their use for privacy concerns. According to them, the body scanners would expose private parts of individuals while the scanning is administered to all passengers. Besides, the body scanners are suspected of causing radiation which could lead to cancer.
Against these concerns, the TSA defended its stance by saying that radiation level is something that airline passengers should not worry about. But health experts said that ionizing radiation has no safe dose levels.
PrisonPlanet.com cited Dr. John Gofman, professor emeritus of molecular and cell biology at University of California, Berkeley, who indicated in his study that "radiation from medical diagnostic and treatment is a causal co-factor in 50 percent of America's cancers and 60 percent of our blood flow blockage (heart disease)."
There is extreme danger that pregnant women who undergo body scanning at airports before boarding may disfigure unborn babies in their mothers' wombs.
Gofman added: "Heavily x-rayed persons of childbearing age can sustain chromosomal damage, endangering offspring."
Now the issue on health hazards against security concerns needs a balancing act. While President Obama had strongly took the blame for the failed terror plot to blow up the Northwest Airline on Christmas day at Detroit, by an al-qaeda operative using a PENT sewed in his underpants, security lapses at major airports across America is something that needs attention. Pat-downs and the use of sniffing dogs to detect illegal drugs and bombs are not enough guarantee to make America safe. In the words of the president, while the intelligence community is doing all it could to secure planes and airports, the terrorists are thinking otherwise to succeed in their violent missions.
Though late, it was a welcome move that most European governments had heard the echoes of President Obama's security concerns by tightening security controls at their international airports in the aftermath of the failed terrorist bombing of an American airline in Detroit. It is public knowledge that the
installation of the 300 body scanning machines at the airports all over America was a costly proposition. But it could most likely save innocent lives from being harmed because any terrorist threat for that matter would now be curtailed and detected with the use of these machines.