TSA scanners pose negligible risk to passengers, new test shows

Discussion in 'Aviation Passenger Security in the USA' started by Fisher1949, Jun 11, 2012.

  1. Fisher1949

    Fisher1949 Original Member Coach

    A rehash of the Smith-Bindman BS in March 2011.
    http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-test-tsa-scanners-20120608,0,487590.story
     
  2. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    I left a comment and see that others from here did, too. Go on over, folks, and pile on.
     
  3. Elizabeth Conley

    Elizabeth Conley Original Member

    Every time this spurious study is touted as "proof" of Xray Backscatter Scammer "safety" my blood pressure shoots off the charts.

    I can't think up an ugly enough name to call Schmidt. My hostility toward her is overwhelming. I cannot imagine how a "scientist" could stoop so low. She I hope she chokes on her thirty pieces of silver.
     
  4. Doober

    Doober Original Member

    I think the question to ask is: How much did the TSA pay her to write her drivel?
     
  5. nachtnebel

    nachtnebel Original Member

    Radiologists say there will be deaths from these machines. They carry a lot more weight and are more worthy of belief than some paid pimp from Marquette who restricted herself to unverified data supplied by the manufacturer of the machines. If she were a scientist worthy of the name, she'd insist on testing actual, deployed machines. Idiot.
     
  6. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Actually it would help if you guys would read what the study & its authors are saying ...

    KERO 23: Airport Body Scanners: Are They Safe?: More Independent Study Needed, Study's Author Says

    ... But it balks at calling the exposures safe, saying cosmic and backscatter radiation are different and that both the risks and benefits of backscatter need to be quantified.

    John Sedat, a University of California, San Francisco, professor of biochemistry and biophysics, is against the TSA's use of backscatter technology. He criticized the Marquette report, saying it was based on TSA data instead of independent testing of machines.

    "It's a valid criticism," responded Gilat-Schmidt. "I think that's valid, and we put that criticism (in the paper). But that's how research is. It's not the whole enchilada. It's one step; not the whole step."

    "I think it's very important to have independent studies," she said.Gilat-Schmidt said that she goes through backscatter X-ray machines, but "I don't feel comfortable putting my kids through them.""That's because in the medical imaging community, it's always stressed that the (radiation) dosage should be as low as possible. And in this case, the lowest possible is not going through them ...
     
  7. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    And this article ...

    ABC 15: Low-dose radiation from airport body scanners shown to penetrate organs

    Radiation from airport body scanners penetrates organs beneath the skin but at low doses that meet national standards, according to a study by Marquette University's Department of Biomedical Engineering.​

    But the study's author, professor Taly Gilat-Schmidt, said the research does not answer the biggest question on travelers' minds: Are scanners safe? She said more independent research is needed.
     
  8. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

  9. Fisher1949

    Fisher1949 Original Member Coach

    CNN has an antidote story.

    http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/11/travel/airport-scanners/index.html
     
  10. nachtnebel

    nachtnebel Original Member

    So the paid shill despite her "research" won't trust her kids to the machines! choice. I believe the word is "hypocrite". Obviously, she doesn't accept her conclusions any more than we do.
     
  11. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    No.

    The paid "shill" is not a shill. She's on our side.

    She says right up front that -- although the radiation levels are nominally in the "safe" range -- more research is needed, that comparing the radiation to cosmic radiation is not valid, and that no exposure is the best exposure.

    The culprit here is sloppy, incomplete reporting by the L.A. Times that seems to be sucking several of you into its vortex.
     
  12. TSA News Blog

    TSA News Blog News Feed

    BackscatterScanner.jpg

    Hugo Martin is the Los Angeles Times “reporter” responsible for the pile of turds under the lie of a headline, “TSA scanners pose negligible risk to passengers, new test shows.”
    Full-body scanners used for security screening at the nation’s airports do not expose passengers to dangerous levels of radiation, according to a new independent analysis of the security devices.​
    The study by the Marquette University College of Engineering concluded that radiation from so-called backscatter scanners passes beyond a passenger’s skin to reach 29 different organs — including the heart and brain. But the radiation levels are considerably lower than those of otherX-ray procedures such as mammograms, the study said.​
    The findings will be published in the next issue of Medical Physics, an international journal of medical physics research produced by the American Assn. of Physicists in Medicine.​
    The study, believed to be the first independent review of the scanners, is not likely to put to rest years of heated debate over the health risk of the machines operated by the Transportation Security Administration.​
    The TSA has submitted the scanners for testing by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and the U.S. Army Public Health Command. The tests concluded that the scanners posed no significant risk to passengers, but TSA critics have called for more independent studies.​
    The author of the Marquette study, assistant professor of biomedical engineering Taly Gilat Schmidt, did not test the actual machines. Instead, she based her conclusions on scanner radiation data released publicly by the TSA. She ran the numbers through simulation software that modeled how X-ray photons travel through a body.​
    Hi, we’re the government and you should believe everything we say — even though there’s proof that Janet Napolitano previously lied about the scannners being safe.
    As we’ve reported repeatedly, the airport scanners have never been independently tested for safety. That’s why the European Union banned them. And neither Johns Hopkins nor NIST has ever signed off on them, despite the TSA’s repeated lies.
    And the scientist quoted in the article, Taly Gilat-Schmidt, has herself said that she thinks there should be independent studies of the airport scanners and that she wouldn’t put her children through them.
    Medical scanners are tested daily. Airport scanners, which are in constant use, all day, every day, maybe get looked at once a year. Maybe.
    I think it’s possible we’ll see massive cancer claims from TSA workers against the government (and thus, us taxpayers) in coming years. The morons manning the porno-scanner in Detroit told me something along the lines of “Duh gubermint says they’re safe.”
    (We’re the government, and we’re here to bend you over, and radioactively have you — and the (expletive deleted) with you if you want your 4th Amendment rights or a lead apron in the process.)
    Bill Fisher from TSA News Blog gets it right in the comments to the LA Times article:
    This is blatant TSA propaganda at its worst. A sample size of one data set is too small to be statistically significant and would not pass a middle school science class.​
    This is the same bogus test they tried to peddle in March, 2011 from Smith-Bindman and no one believed that one either. She was even criticized by members of her University and professional associations for falsifying the results.​
    Further, the tests by NIST and APL did not say the scanners were safe, they concluded that the scanners met engineering criteria set by the manufacturer.​
    In fact Dr. Michael Love at the Department of Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine doesn’t think the backscatter x-ray full body scanners are safe. He said “They [TSA] say the risk is minimal, but statistically someone is going to get skin cancer from these [backscatter] x-rays.”​
    A valid test will need to use real scanners needed to be randomly selected from operating scanners.​
    The fact that DHS/TSA made the data available to Marquette University confirms it is simply another attempt at a cover up in an effort to defy a Congressional mandate that the agency allow independent testing. The head of TSA agreed to testing six months ago and reneged. He should be held in contempt of Congress and jailed until a third party organization conducts test of operating scanners.​
     
  13. Elizabeth Conley

    Elizabeth Conley Original Member

  14. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    Great comment you left there, Elizabeth. If I were on Facebook, I'd leave one. I hope those of you who are (on FB) will do likewise.
     
  15. Fisher1949

    Fisher1949 Original Member Coach

    Perhaps I'm cynical, but I attribute the LA times piece to propaganda placement, not sloppy reporting. I know journalism is dead in America, but there seem to be too many examples of this "bad reporting" that just happens to toe the TSA line to be a coincidence.
     
    Doober likes this.
  16. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    At TSA News (I know it'll eventually show up on the News Feed here):
    TSA and scientific method — sworn enemies?
    by BILL FISHER on JUNE 14, 2012
     
  17. TSA News Blog

    TSA News Blog News Feed

    MikeLichtNotionsCapital1.jpg

    Over the weekend the Los Angeles Times featured a story with this headline: “TSA scanners pose negligible risk to passengers, new test shows.”
    Aside from the propaganda aspects of the headline, consistent with other TSA “good news,” the story and its underpinnings are fundamentall flawed, as has been reported here and elsewhere in the media.
    The story claims that Asst. Professor Taly Gilat-Schmidt at Marquette University reviewed the operational test data from a backscatter (x-ray) scanner tested several years ago and deemed the scanners safe.
    Or did she?
    A subsequent article published at CNN expanded on her comments:
    . . . the study’s author, professor Taly Gilat-Schmidt, said the research does not answer the biggest question on travelers’ minds: Are scanners safe? She said more independent research is needed.​
    Gilat-Schmidt added that though she goes through the backscatter machines, “I don’t feel comfortable putting my kids through them.”
    There are several curious aspects to these reports. First, neither relates any “new” tests. Gilat-Schmidt’s study was essentially a repeat of a study done by Rebecca Smith-Bindman at the University of California, San Francisco in March 2011 and relied on the same performance data — that is, data provided by the TSA.
    Second, neither study involved scanners actually in use at airports, the scanners that people pass through every day.
    While it should come as no surprise that the TSA and the corporation OSI, manufacturer of the Rapiscan scanners, would have an interest in having test data appear in the most favorable light, it’s curious that two separate researchers would attempt to validate scanner safety based solely on TSA-provided data.
    There are two crucial flaws in both studies: the sample size of one data set is too small to be statistically significant, and the original tests fail to adhere to basic scientific method. This scenario would not earn a passing grade in a high school science class, much less a reputable scientific journal.
    As some people might recall from science class, scientific method requires that three conditions be met for a test to be valid:
    1. The test must be replicable or repeatable.
    2. The data must recorded and available to peers for validating.
    3. The test must pass peer review.
    Since no scanners were actually tested in these studies, it is impossible to verify or replicate the data. The scanner safety results have been refuted by several experts, including Dr. David J Brenner of Columbia University, Dr. Russell Blaylock, and Dr. John Sedat of the University of California in San Francisco. And while the performance test data from sample machines is available, it has not been validated by independent testing. Neither did the Johns Hopkins University nor National Institute for Occupational Safety tests evaluate medical implications, only radiation emission rates, despite the TSA’s repeated claims to the contrary.
    With respect to the statistical quality of these studies, a valid test would need to test numerous scanners randomly selected from a pool of them. There are several ways to determine how large the sample must be to be deemed statistically significant, or in layman’s terms, reasonably reliable. One method is through a measure of the “confidence interval.” This is a measure of how reliable test predictions are. A small interval, say 95%, requires a larger sample but is very reliable. A 90% interval requires a smaller sample but isn’t as precise. An appropriate sample size can be computed via formula or an online Sample Size Calculator.
    According to the TSA, there are about 700 scanners now in operation, both backscatter and millimeter wave scanners. A reasonable confidence interval of 10% at a 90% confidence level would require that at least 59 scanners be tested from the operating group to be considered statistically valid. As it stands there were fewer than 5 devices tested, and these were brand new, calibrated scanners, operated under the supervision of the manufacturer.
    The scanners in operation every day at airports are calibrated . . . when? How often? By whom? Qualified technicians? Medical experts? What happens when the machines go out of calibration? How long before they’re properly calibrated again? Who’s tracking this? Where’s the data?
    Under normal circumstances, the TSA’s “testing” and the subsequent “studies” would have been summarily ridiculed by any reputable academic or scientific institution. (Perhaps that’s why the European Union has banned backscatter scanners.) Instead, these untested machines have been forced on the American public.
    So the next time you see a parent send a child into a scanner and assume a position of surrender, you might ask why Professor Gilat-Schmidt won’t allow her children to use these devices and why the TSA won’t allow testing of them.
    (Photo: Flickr Creative Commons/Mike Licht, Notions Capital)
     
  18. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    By the way, right after I'd hit "Publish," I realized that a line I had added was missing, so I immediately updated the post. But it doesn't appear here, only at the original. Here's the line:
     

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