TSA Checkpoint Screeners Concerned About High Cancer Rates

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Jul 122011

Well, I won’t say, “I told you so, but…” The New York Times is reporting on email exchanges between TSA employee representatives and Department of Homeland Security officals about concerns over increased cancer rates.

According to the article, airport screeners in Boston and Atlanta were concerned about growing numbers of co-workers ‘falling victim to various forms of cancer,’ which they suspected might be caused by radiation exposure from the machines. ”

The e-mails and other documents were obtained by the privacy center under the Freedom of Information Act as part of its own lawsuit against use of the scanners. Ginger McCall, the center’s open government counsel, said the documents also showed that the T.S.A. had denied employees’ requests for dosimeters, safety devices that measure radiation exposure. “There is still a need for independent safety testing of these devices and for greater transparency on the part of T.S.A.,” she added.

This comes as no surprise to me. These things are unleashing x-ray radiation in a wide open environment. They claim the does is too low to matter, but I’m not sure that DHS is qualified to make that call, nor am I sure any level is a good idea beyond what might be medically necessary. Field testing back in March showed they were giving off ten times the radiation expected, and TSA steps into the fray to proclaim it was all just a simple math error (by several technicians at different sites mind you).

If I go to the hospital or even the dentist’s office and get an x-ray, it can be performed only by a person with a certification. I’ve yet to find one single TSA goon with a radiological certification of any kind.

And if the dose is so low it doesn’t matter, then why wouldn’t the TSA prove it by allowing TSA people to wear dosimeters for a while, and just clear up this whole matter? I’ll tell you why, they don’t want you to know just how much radiation really is being emitted. I’ve seen leaked images where people waiting in line were showing up in the x-ray, and if it doesn’t go any deeper than the skin, why do people with joint replacements have to carry a card showing a medical x-ray of their joint…according to DHS the TSA machines should not be able to see anything that deep, but it apparently does.

I opt-out. They can have someone come over and feel me up if they want to, but until they start having people who are certified and wearing dosimeters running their x-ray machines, I’m not letting them x-ray me. I’ve found you actually get through the feel-up, rub down, pat down pretty quick. Once the person starts going through their little explanation about what all they will be feeling, rubbing, patting, I just tell him that as a gay man I’m used having other guys feel me up, so he should just go ahead and enjoy himself. They usually wrap it up pretty quick.