New Documents Prove TSA “Mischaracterized” Safety Aspects Of Full Body Scanners

Discussion in 'Aviation Passenger Security in the USA' started by Fisher1949, Jun 27, 2011.

  1. Fisher1949

    Fisher1949 Original Member Coach

  2. lkkinetic

    lkkinetic Original Member

  3. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Thanks, was just about to put this here myself. The Infowars article also links to a number of original source documents.
  4. N965VJ

    N965VJ Original Member

  5. lkkinetic

    lkkinetic Original Member

  6. mikemey

    mikemey Original Member

    Can't say I'm surprised, and I hope EPIC takes them to the cleaners.
  7. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    One of the two will magically move. :)
  8. l'etoile

    l'etoile Original Member

    That companion part was fascinating, saying there are cancer clusters that have appeared among BOS TSA screeners, many who've since left the TSA.
  9. barbell

    barbell Coach Coach


    I'd like to explore, in a little more detail, the presence of an apparent "cancer cluster" among the BOS TSA workforce.

    For reference, this information came to light as part of EPIC's FOIA request, and an email from BOS's AFGE union representatives to Heather Callahan. The original source documents may be found here (.pdf).

    Reading through the emails, I do not see, as has been claimed, that AFGE is claiming the Rapiscan backscatter whole body imaging scanners are causing cancer among passenger-screening A.S.S. However, the claim is made that cancer diagnoses are on the rise among the entire A.S.S. population at BOS.

    Here, let's explore some possible outcomes and ramifications of the situation at BOS.

    To the best of my recollection, the first whole body imaging unit to be deployed in the field was of the backscatter variety at PHX T4 in 2007. It was hailed as an alternative to secondary pat downs should an individual alarm the WTMD. TSA did receive some positive feedback in that who wouldn't rather be passively scanned than patted down? Of course it would appear that they took this feedback to mean that people prefer nude imaging to WTMD as primary. Well, that's not exactly the feedback they were given. It's a classic example of groupthink where they interpreted the feedback as fit their organizational goals.

    The technology was rolled out to a few more airports and used as secondary resolution screening. Sometime in 2010, reports began surfacing that BOS and LAS were test sites for use of whole body imaging as primary screening with a concomitant, punitive groping pat down as the alternative. BOS, as already noted uses ionizing backscatter radiology for this screening technique, LAS uses a different technology. We should correctly expect different outcomes out of LAS, though the end results may still be the same, timelines may be different than what we see coming out of BOS.

    It is unlikely that whole body imaging units alone are causing cancer in individual A.S.S. However, this apparent rise in cases may be attributed to this recent introduction of such technology, and that we are hearing of reports first from BOS should be no surprise considering the above timeline.

    Ionizing radiation has a cumulative effect on the human body. One exposure may not cause a mutation. Indeed a thousand exposures may not cause a mutation. However, the susceptibility of an individual to cancerous mutation is dependent on a number of cascading factors. Considering the stress under which the average A.S.S. population works certainly makes those with genetic predisposition to cancer even more likely to be susceptible now that these machines are deployed and are being used on a broad scale.

    The average A.S.S. has several risk factors, consider:
    • morbid obesity
    • poor diet
    • unethical work environment
    • chaotic work environment
    • continuous unmonitored exposure to industrial chemicals
    • smoking
    • discord amongst peers
    • discord against management
    • discord with "customer" base
    • unhealthy work schedule that promotes sleep deficiency
  10. barbell

    barbell Coach Coach


    Add to this list continuous, unmonitored exposure to industrial-level radiation from baggage screening equipment, either carry-on or checked luggage scanners. These machines likely do not have appropriate lead shielding that would prevent radiation leakage to the A.S.S. population sitting/standing next to this equipment for entire shifts.

    Any combination of these factors puts the entire body system at increased risk for disease and dysfunction of the human body. When all of it is present simultaneously it is a recipe for disaster. The BOS A.S.S. population is likely the proverbial canary in a TSA cancer mine.

    To this toxic brew add whole body imaging technology that uses ionizing radiation, and run it continuously over an entire shift. Consider:
    • No shielding around this equipment exists whatsoever
    • Unlike similar equipment used in a medical setting, the x-ray particles released from these machines are far less predictable and are "uncontrollable"
    • Unlike similar equipment, these particles are released at a much lower energy. They, therefore, do not "shoot" through the body, but rather "hit" the skin and likely stay embedded there
    • Unlike similar equipment, a much larger area of particulate matter is released. It is done so from multiple machines in a confined area over an entire day
    • The dosing likely is the same over the entire body, for all body types, shapes, and sizes, putting smaller (children, thinner, etc.) individuals at much greater risk
    • The 3-4 A.S.S. assigned to operating each machine stands next to, in, and around these machines all day long
    • Each of these factors assumes a properly calibrated and functioning machine. What we know is that this technology must be calibrated by a trained technician daily to ensure safe and optimal operation. Based on TSA's track record alone I doubt such a situation exists.
    So, to understand a little better how the immediate 7 bullets affect this situation directly, let's get a quick and dirty understanding of how such equipment functions in a medical setting. As background, here are my brief credentials. I am a doctor, recently graduated. I therefore have the most recent and advanced training in my area of study, of which Roentology (the study of radiology) is a major component. My training consists of nearly 400 classroom and practical hours in radiation physics, safety, theory, and diagnostics. While the end-result product is different, the underlying theory and principles are the same. Following is a very brief, 30,000 ft view of how this technology operates, and it's effects on humans.
    • The standard x-rays you encounter, whether at the hospital, dentist, chiropractor, or medical office use a very focused beam. In the standard office, the largest available film is typically 14" x 17". There are larger sizes, though they are less commonly used, and certainly not on an entire population. Very roughly this dimension is a foot by a foot and a half. IOW, your exposure is limited to a specific, well-defined area of your body.
    • These x-rays shoot as a high speed beam through your body. By structuring the speed of these particles in this matter, they "zoom" past the most vulnerable tissue. These include eyes, intestines, gonads, and skin. It is therefore unlikely that they will interact with these structures. The primary use of x-ray in the medical setting is to visualize bone. Bone is extremely slow growing, and is therefore much less susceptible to deleterious effects of ionizing radiation.
    • When viewing x-ray, the display is manifest in gray-scale. Generally speaking, areas of black are those areas of film that have been "hit" by an x-ray particle. During the development process these particles are "fixed" to the film, which appears "black". Those areas that are not "hit" by a particle simply wash away from the film and appear white.
  11. barbell

    barbell Coach Coach


    So consider then while analyzing the sample images provided by TSA:
    • The image created shows a clear image of a human body. The x-ray particles, therefore, have hit the entire body surface, and except for a few places (shin, knees, eyes) have only gone to the surface, not penetrating it. There is, therefore, a very high probability that these structures (namely the entire skin) have absorbed these x-ray particles. They are, by design, not going through structures. They are designed to actually "hit" them as evidenced by the description that they "bounce" off. I don't think this is an accurate representation of what these particles are doing (more on that in a little bit).
    • The area around the body is mostly black, indicating that the digital film here has taken a hit from the x-ray particles. The white areas that make up the human image did not get "hit" by x-ray particles.
    • The description of these particles "bouncing" off of the body, as supplied by TSA, is a gross mischaracterization. One of 2 things is happening here:
    These particles are subject to the most basic laws of physics. Most notably, Newton's law that an item in motion will remain in motion. The x-ray particle is traveling through space until it comes into contact with human skin.
    1. One possibility is that once in contact with the molecules of the skin, chemical interaction causes the x-ray particle to change course. However, this chemical interaction must also affect the molecules of the skin. One or two at a time, no big deal. These machines are bombarding the entire skin surface with particles at the same time. In this scenario, a large number of skin cells are likely to be affected. One or two and the body can clean up a mutation. If several hundred thousand skin cells are mutating simultaneously the body's system to clean it up will simply be overwhelmed.
    2. The second possibility is that the beam is at such a low speed, by design so that it doesn't go through the body, the chemical interaction isn't strong enough to "bounce" the particle and it instead becomes embedded in the skin. Again, several hundred thousand skin cells that are now mutated with an implant will simply overwhelm the body's correction mechanism.
    I think TSA is naive enough to believe that the image is actually the particles that are bounced back to the digital film. Not true. The image is the particles that don't get through to the digital film. That is how x-ray imaging has functioned for over 100 years. Not even TSA can change the laws of physics.
  12. barbell

    barbell Coach Coach


    So, back to this conundrum of the BOS A.S.S. cancer cluster. Let's say a particular A.S.S. is stationed to work near this machine for even a portion of the shift. Below is the likely scenario of what they are bombarded with, daily:
    • At a rate of 15 sec. per scan, a machine could process 240 scans an hour (my math is rusty, so maybe someone could correct this number. Assuming continuous operation, there are 3600 seconds in an hour {60*60}, divided by 15 sec. per scan = 240).
    • The beam emitted by these machines is approximately 6 ft high by 5 ft wide, considerably larger than the beam used in a medical setting, and it is emitted twice per scan, by design, since it is operation front and back continuously.
    • All of those extra particles have to go somewhere, and they likely are bouncing around the immediate environment, precisely where the A.S.S. workfarce is standing during the entire operation of these machines.
    • Since entropy dictates these particles will move with less energy, again by design, the further away from the source the slower they will move. Therefore, by the time a particle from these machines reaches an A.S.S. it is likely in a prime energy to embed, rather than interact and bounce.
    Typically, cancer in a population will take approximately 10 years to be identified. However, considering the additional stress these bodies are under, and the continuous, unrelenting operation of these machines that may or may not be calibrated and functioning correctly, they are literally bombarded with ionizing radiation daily. Furthermore, it is radiation that, by design, is affecting, in one of 2 ways, the skin, one of the body's most susceptible organs to mutation and defect.

    Furthermore, squamous cell carcinoma is one of the most aggressive and painful cancers around. This type of exposure is not going to be pleasant. For instance, we had a family friend who stood behind the lead panel while taking patients' x-rays. However, he got in the habit of resting his hand on top of the shield while he did so. Keep in mind that he was behind the beam, and so the particles would have slowed by the time they had bounced off of inorganic substances and headed back his direction. He lost his hand.

    In summary, I am not surprised in the least that the A.S.S. population has seen an increase in skin cancer. That TSA has obfuscated the data only indicates to me that, like almost everything else, they do not understand the technology that they are using. This data tells me that we will see wide-spread spikes in cancer rates in those frequent flyers who decided to go along and get scanned instead of taking the grope. The A.S.S. population, particularly at airports using backscatter whole body imagining equipment, will likely show this spike much sooner. Children are particularly vulnerable to these mutations. Exposing the population at large to these measures is, frankly, criminal.

    The true measure of this development will be to discover what kind of cancer these TSA employees have developed. If it is some form of skin cancer, then it is most certainly due to whole body imaging equipment.
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  13. nachtnebel

    nachtnebel Original Member

    nice post barbell. if I were an A.S.S., this would give me pause, assuming I had the IQ to follow the argument.
    Btw, did anyone involved in the Tuskagee syphilis experimentation ever go to prison? No? No.
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  14. RB

    RB Founding Member

    Should try posting that to PV.

    The real shame about this is if these machines are exposing people to dangerous radiation by the time TSA wakes up Nappy and Pissy will be long gone and I think they should be held personally liable for any damage caused. I know it won't happen but it should!
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  15. Elizabeth Conley

    Elizabeth Conley Original Member

    So when are parents going to figure out that the "change" Herr Pistole has in mind for their kiddies is almost certainly repeated irradiations?

    My prediction is folks are gonna freak.

    Not that I'm ever right. I have no idea why the entire nation hasn't taken to the streets in protest over this yet.
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  16. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Freaking, when it happens, will work to our advantage. We want people to freak out over what's happening. In the meantime, a lot of people have their heads stuck in paper bags thinking it can't happen to them or their family. Eventually, it will come around to everyone. Hopefully, that won't happen too late.
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  17. TXagogo

    TXagogo Original Member

    I wish I could answer that question. I really do.

    And great job barbell. Can you get this out there somehow?
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  18. KrazyKat

    KrazyKat Original Member

    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  19. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  20. Fisher1949

    Fisher1949 Original Member Coach

    Interestingly, I've had four coworkers in the last month change their vacation plans from ones that had been planned as flying trips to other forms of transportation or outright cancellations. They have all made allusions to TSA, one being the most vocal by making a statement about the "naked scanners" , but have generally they have avoided direct reference to TSA. Since we're in the DC area, this is could be due to the large number of our coworkers who have family working for the Feds so some could be at TSA.

    One person cancelled two trips, one to Texas and one to Aruba and spent the money on a car, another opted to take a cruise out of Baltimore instead flying to Florida and cruising from there, another is driving from DC to Florida and yet another cancelled a family trip to Cancun and is driving to Cape Hatteras instead. This could be due to a variety of elements but all have expressed frustration at the hassles of traveling.

    They know my disdain for TSA and the airlines alike and I never miss an opportunity to remind them that they are being preyed upon from the time they book a non-refundable ticket to the time they get home. The travel sites steer users to the providers that pay them the most , the airlines border on open hostility toward customers and TSA gets paid regardless of customer satisfaction or performance. With leisure dollars becoming increasingly sparse these factors could combine to severely impact the airline and travel industry. Personally, I'd be happy to see the industry brought to its knees.
    Lisa Simeone likes this.

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