UCSF letter to Holdren concerning health risks of full body scanner TSA screenings 4-6-2010

We are writing to call your attention to serious concerns about the potential health risk of the recently adopted whole body backscatter X-ray airport security scanners. This is an urgent situation as these X-ray scanners are rapidly being implemented as a primary screening step for all air travel passengers.

Our overriding concern is the extent to which the safety of this scanning device has been adequately demonstrated. This can only be determined by a meeting of an impartial panel of experts that would include medical physicists and radiation biologists at which all of the available relevant data is reviewed.

An important consideration is that a large fraction of the population will be subject to the new X-ray scanners and be at potential risk, as discussed below. This raises a number of ‘red flags'. Can we have an urgent second independent evaluation?

via scribd.com

The most alarming sentence? "It appears that real independent safety data do(es) not exist." And yet these things are being installed in every major US airport and every passenger is being asked to go through these machines. In the name of safety.

Privacy issues aside, does anyone else see the irony of walking through a potentially unsafe device in the name of safety? Given the number of domestic flights that have had "terrorist" issues since September 11, 2001 (zero) versus the number of domestic flights since then (millions), I fail to see how a potentially unsafe and definitely privacy invasive scanner is substantially preventing terrorists from having their way with an airplane.