'US body scanners can cause death'
The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents stand near an Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) full-body scanner in a US airport (file photo).
Despite frequent claims by the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) that their naked body scanners are harmless, a radiation doctor says the surveillance devices can cause death or cancer.
The head of radiology at Florida Medical Center, Dr. Edward Dauer, has recently said that body scanners that emit ionizing radiation are, undeniably, a very serious health threat that can even cause cancer.
He said the devices are especially carcinogenic for the people over 65 years of age and in women, who are genetically prone to developing breast cancer
"Ionizing means it knocks the electrons out of your body, which breaks your DNA chain, which can cause death or cancer," Dauer said.
However, the TSA continues to insist that the scanners, X-ray scanning machines, whose radiation could penetrate passengers' clothes and show hidden objects, emit a minimal amount of ionizing radiation.
It argues that the scanners are by no means more dangerous than the 'higher' amounts of background radiation people are exposed to in their ordinary everyday lives. Yet the agency has failed to provide any solid proof to support its claim.
A group of scientists from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), have also publicly contradicted the TSA's claim.
The group says this claim is highly deceptive since during a naked body scan, the radiation is concentrated directly on the skin and its underlying tissues. Yet, background radiation that the body is exposed to in places such as airplanes is absorbed by the whole body.
Having repeatedly challenged the legitimacy of the use of the body scanners, Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), a public interest research group based in Washington, DC, is at present filing a lawsuit aimed at putting an end to the entire body scanner program, which it denounces as 'unlawful, invasive, and ineffective.'