TSA Full-Body Scans Can Cause Insulin Pump, CGM Malfunctions

Discussion in 'Aviation Passenger Security in the USA' started by Mike, Nov 10, 2012.

  1. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Diabetes Health: TSA Full-Body Scans Can Cause Insulin Pump, CGM Malfunctions

    A report in the October 2012 issue of Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics says that airport full-body scans can cause malfunctions in insulin pumps or continuous glucose monitors. Other devices, such as CGM transmitters and Medtronic’s iPro recorder, can also be affected by airport body scanners. Those scanners join CAT (computer-assisted tomography), X-rays, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), and PET (positron emission tomography) as devices that insulin pump and CGM device wearers are advised to avoid. Regular airport metal detectors, which have been in use in U.S. airports since the 1970s, have no effect on pumps or CGMs.

    To avoid body scanner-caused electromagnetic malfunctions, the report recommends that wearers decline full-body scans and ask for pat-downs or metal detector checks instead.

    In cases where security personnel refuse such requests, pump and monitor wearers should remove their devices and send them through regular metal detectors before they themselves submit to full body scans.

    What "regular metal detector" is that? While you step into the Nude-O-Scope, the stuff you put in the tubs on the belt is headed into an x-ray scanner, not a metal detector.

    My response on their site, awaiting moderation:

    "pump and monitor wearers should remove their devices and send them through regular metal detectors before they themselves submit to full body scans"​

    What "regular metal detector" is that? As you step into the Nude-O-Scope (aka "full body scanner") the belongings that you put in the tubs on the belt are headed into an X-RAY scanner, not a metal detector. As pointed out in the article above, x-rays are also harmful to your devices.

    There are no metal detectors of any kind available at most TSA checkpoints today. They discarded the hand-held metal detectors two years years ago when they adopted their "scope or grope" policy. The WTMD (walk-thru metal detector) are retained at some locations for use as backup and to supplement the Nude-O-Scopes during peak travel hours, but you can't count on having one available.

    Your only option to protect the integrity of these devices in most situations is to wear them through the pat-down. By TSA policy they are not to tamper with medical equipment & medications, although that does seem to be an often-ignored policy in the field.

    Mike, Executive Director
    Travel Underground
  2. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    From here, this is the pre-supplied "citation" for the article referenced above on the Diabetes Health site:

    Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics

    Navigating Airport Security with an Insulin Pump and/or Sensor

    To cite this article:
    Andrew Cornish and H. Peter Chase. Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics. November 2012, 14(11): 984-985. doi:10.1089/dia.2012.0220.
    Published in Volume: 14 Issue 11: October 26, 2012
    Online Ahead of Print: October 19, 2012
    Author information
    Andrew Cornish, B.A., and H. Peter Chase, M.D.
    Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes, University of Colorado Denver, Aurora, Colorado.
    Address correspondence to:
    H. Peter Chase, M.D.
    Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes
    University of Colorado Denver
    1775 Aurora Court, Mail Stop A140
    Aurora, CO 80045
    E-mail: Peter.chase@ucdenver.edu
    About This Journal... | Subscribe... | Buy Article...
  3. Isn't it theoretically possible to request a hand screening of a device? Of course I know the website may be out of date if you try it on a Tuesday if it's not raining, but I'm talking in theory here.
  4. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Do you want these two-digit IQ's (with no competence in medical electronics whatsoever & soon to be adorned with tatoos & body piercings) taking possession of a $10,000 device and "screening" it?
  5. Well no, but I'm just saying. If someone is looking at the alternatives -- go through the scanner and have your device possibly malfunction, or face a potentially traumatizing patdown and possibly wind up with PTSD (like if they're a rape survivor, for example), there might be a third way to go about it. Each person would have to pick their poison.
  6. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Other than swabbing it (which is largely a farce -- did you use hand lotion before you put the device in place last time?) there is nothing that they can do to "screen" such a device.
  7. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    It's not "largely" a farce - it is a farce. To the best of my knowledge, no actual explosive has ever been found on a passenger who tested positive.

    There was the guy who had a quarter-ounce of C4 in his tobacco tin in his checked baggage - and I'm quite certain they didn't swab him to find it.
  8. Monica47

    Monica47 Original Member

    And I'm wondering how much one of these devices would go for on Ebay.......
  9. RB

    RB Founding Member

    I hope we don't see one on EBay. I have read some of the pump manufacturers guidance on airport screening. Some do say clearly that Whole Body Scanners should be avoided. I don't recall if there was any discussion between X-Ray and MMW. I suspect that the makers would suggest avoiding all forms of emitter type scanners for medical liability issues. Besides these pumps are very expensive and the users life depends on proper functioning. Why take the risk if other means are available to screen these devices and the persons using them?
  10. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    It's no longer just the recommendation of "some of the pump manufacturers". The study referenced in the first two posts was written by professional staff at a diabetes insitute at the University of Colorado/Denver and published in a peer-reviewed journal specializing in "providing healthcare professionals with information on new devices, drugs, drug delivery" for diabetes patients.

    Lacking properly researched studies showing opposite results, this will likely be the medically-accepted positon from this point on.

    Of course, that won't stop TSA's two-digit IQ's with GED's from becoming instant medical experts and badgering people to ignore the recommendations of their medical professionals.
  11. CelticWhisper

    CelticWhisper Founding Member

    This might be a workable angle. If we can get some of these researchers to organize and maybe form some kind of mini-PAC, or even just get a statement on file with Congress (Congressional amicus brief? Is there such a thing?), that these things are medically hazardous, it may serve as additional motivation to get DC to rein in TSA.

    At the very least they could embark on a publicity campaign to get brochures and TV spots (on those channels you only ever seem to see in doctors' offices) in hospitals to advise people on the dangers of nude-o-scopes on their medical devices.

    Heh, what're the odds we can get the NoS lobby and the health-insurance lobby to lock horns?
  12. I'd like to remind us all of a heated conversation we had with a certain clerklette about this very issue. She indeed was a firm believer that because she had seen people go through the scanners with these devices and not drop dead on the spot, that the scanners must be perfectly safe for them.

    Here's the thread,

    and a quote from TSA screener Ciarin:

  13. TravelnMedic

    TravelnMedic Original Member

    Ciarin - is an idiot that doesn't know her head from her (expletive deleted). Also haven't seen her in a very long time, maybe she gained useful employment other the Treason support alliance.
  14. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    She got in trouble with her management for posting SSI info here. Hope everyone's eyes were closed. I'd hate to be responsible for divulging state secrets. :rolleyes:
  15. RB

    RB Founding Member

    Mike, did the state communicate with you directly about her?
  16. jtodd

    jtodd Original Member

    Yes, and what was it? I am sure I read it, but I don't recall anything that would or should be deemed SSI. Ignoring the fact that the TSA shouldn't have any information SSI, or even use that made up security qualification.
  17. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach


    Also understand that I declined to delete what had been quoted in other posts. :p
    phoebepontiac likes this.
  18. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    You'll have to search for it and make your best guess. Since the specifics involved PM's between the two of us, it's not appropriate for me to divulge what all was said.

    However, I think you guys greatly underestimate her -- she held up better here than any other smurf to date. I'd love to see her come back for another round. :D
  19. nachtnebel

    nachtnebel Original Member

    I didn't underestimate her. I just didn't care for the hostility and contempt toward passengers that she surfaced on other websites, although she was on pretty good behavior at this site. And if anything she posted was SSI, it wasn't earthshaking. She was pretty frank though, and that's probably what got her in hot acqua.
  20. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    She was a stunning example of tenacity in deliberate ignorance. Once she had a stupidly wrong idea fixed in her little head, there was absolutely no dissuading her.
    phoebepontiac likes this.

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