Over the past year and certainly over the last few months, fears about the effects of radiation on passengers passing through whole-body scanners have been splashed across newspaper headlines. The bottom line from researchers: Its OK — It would take something like 1,000 screenings per individual per year to exceed radiation standards.
We are safe! Radiation won’t kill us. But, what about all of those TSA screeners?
TSA in their blog clearly tells us not to worry. They’ve got our back.
The amount of radiation from backscatter screening is equivalent to two minutes of flight on an airplane, and the energy projected by millimeter wave technology is 10,000 times less than a cell phone transmission.
Back to the question. What about all of the TSA screeners?
We have all seen doctors, nurses and assistants crawl behind a lead shield when taking x-rays. At my last dental x-ray, the dental assistant put a lead apron over my personal parts. For CAT scans, the screeners leave the room.
TSA workers get zapped thousands of times a day. About one hundred thousand passengers or more pass through JFK, Atlanta, O’Hare, LAX, Dallas, LaGuardia, Newark and other airports. A TSA worker can get far more than 1,000 screening doses of radiation during a two-hour stint at the whole-body scanner. Several day of such duty, will certainly have repercussions.
With reassuring experts noting that 1,000 screenings per day would put TSA personnel in danger, we may have a problem.
TSA is comforting the traveling public, but treating their officers with disregard. This may be the best reason to support a TSA union so far.
I never thought I would write a line supporting a union, but with totally incompetent management that has no regard for their workers lives and the effects of radiation, a union begins to look like a good safeguard.
A union might slow down the untested and reckless deployment of whole-body scanners.
1. The scanners don’t work for most explosives
2. The scanners violate privacy and dignity
3. The scanners are amazingly expensive and TSA, by their own admission and GAO reports, has not conducted a cost-benefit analyses of various technologies
4. The scanners endanger the TSA workforce
I’m refusing to go through these whole-body scanners until the security apparatus forces me to. But, if I were a TSA screener, expected to stand beside these virtual strip search machines, I would protest loudly and refuse until TSA completely tests the machines or provides shielding.