Cancer cluster among TSA screeners?

As much as we may dislike the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and its often over-the-top airport screening procedures, there is no reason to believe that airport body scanners present any sort of risk of harm to TSA workers. If there is a genuine surge in health effects among TSA employees who work near scanners, the surge is likely due to increased diagnosis and reporting of medical conditions as opposed to radiation exposure. There’s just not enough radiation exposure to workers from the scanners. The scanners can be opposed on grounds of intrusiveness and pointlessness but not safety.

12 thoughts on “Cancer cluster among TSA screeners?”

  1. are you kidding these machines are pumping out more radiation than a basic xray(their own tests) and these moron fascist pigs are around em all day long and they are just the front runner for more invasive and more dangerous toys they want to use on travelers in airports and now trains buses and private vehicles.They are bringing out a PRE-CRIME BRAIN WAVE SCANNER bogus BS wake up we didn’t fire the first shot but the war has started and by the time you notice the bodies dropping it will probably be too late to kick back.

  2. “There’s just not enough radiation exposure to workers from the scanners.”

    And you base this on what? Unless you have found a way to un-redact the documents released under FIOA, you have no idea what the exposure level is. Your statement has no basis in fact.

  3. If you read the available info, it looks like worker exposures are on the order of 100 mrem, maybe somewhat higher. Permissible worker exposures are 50 times higher (i.e., 5 rem). But you’re right that actual data would be helpful.

  4. Yep, I think you’re missing the boat on this one. The Pilot’s Union was able to get all pilots waivered based on the radiation exposure they would get from being scanned daily and possibly more often. It’s a matter of record at this point. Also, please check out the FOIA docs that were recently released.

  5. So, then Steve, where is the Science? We know X-rays cause cancer. Hospital and medical workers are given dosimeters which are checked monthly. Hospital and medical workers are required to be licensed to operate the equipment. They don’t stay in the room when the very focused beam is used and they even cover most of the patient with lead. If there’s nothing to fear about getting an X-ray everyday then why don’t doctors recommend it. Why did the Pilot’s get the waiver for which they fought.

    Ya, know. There was a time that the younger people do not remember when shoe stores had “flouroscopes” (x-ray machines) in the store that anybody could use. Children loved playing with them. Nobody thought they could cause cancer. When it was argued that they could, people laughed and said they were just being alarmist. Well, shortly after the x-ray/cancer link was discovered, those machines were quietly taken off the market.

    Yes, Steve. Let the science speak. But let’s actually have the science performed. BTW – I am an electrical engineer and I know that the “non-ionizing” microwave radiation from cell phones cannot cause cancer. I also know that “ionizing” X-rays can (and do) cause cancer.

  6. It’s the dose that makes the poison. Periodic X-rays do not increase cancer risk.

    The available information indicates that TSA worker exposures may slightly exceed 100 mrem. The OSHA standard is 50 times higher.

    Ionizing radiation can cause cancer — but only at a high enough dose. There’s no evidence that there’s any increase in risk from exposures at the OSHA standard.

    Moreover, there are data showing a hormetic effect from ionizing radiation — e.g., nuclear shipyard workers, residents of Kerala, india and breast cancer patients getting radiotherapy.

    The scanners are objectionable; but junk science is not the way to combat them.

  7. “There was a time that the younger people do not remember when shoe stores had “flouroscopes” (x-ray machines) in the store that anybody could use. ”

    So, did the rate of foot cancer drop when the machines were pulled from stores?

  8. “Periodic” to you probably does not mean daily or multiple times per day which pilots and regular business travelers must endour. I guess I really don’t care if the TSA agents, themselves, are in danger. It’s the people who are “required” to be x-rayed every day or several times per week that concerns me. Again, I am an electrical engineer with and FCC license who has actually been required to study, test, and work with electromagnetic radiation. I suggest you go talk with a radiologist about the “safety” of X-rays.

  9. I leave it up to you to do your own research. In the meantime, I recommend you go down to the local hospital and play around with the x-ray equipment. After all, you do not know for a fact that it would be a bad idea and I simply am not willing to do the work to prove it to you. Enjoy.

  10. ” It’s the people who are “required” to be x-rayed every day or several times per week that concerns me. ‘

    The article was about dangers to the TSA workers not the people, like me, who have to frequently go through the worthless scanners. I believe that Milloy’s point was that the workers themselves are not exposed to dangerous levels of radiation.
    Your complaint seems to be more about those who have to pass through the machines regularly. That is a different story and one I would be interested in seeing some data on. Indeed, it was an issue raised when the machines first went into service.

  11. What about protecting not only the air traveling public, but TSA Agents from long term low dose exposure to X RAY’s of ALL types being used in Airports? Occupational Radiodermatitis is something every TSA Agent should be concerned about in addition to Cancer Clusters among TSA Agents at various U.S. Airports. What is being done by the U.S. Government to Protect those who are Protecting others? I watched people jump to their deaths on 9/11 from the Towers. Believing I was working at preventing another 9/1 by protecting human life and aircraft at TSA for 11 years. Was I merely a statistical casualty of war, patriotic and naive?

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