The European Union has decided to ban all X-ray scanners from EU airports in order to protect the health and safety of EU citizens, yet the TSA still claims that the scanners are completely safe. The ban comes after the recent media outburst regarding the 1998 report that linked the X-ray scanners to cancer. The report found that the machines could be causing 100 cases of cancer per year conservatively.
It is quite clear that the TSA is clinging on to the X-ray scanners for dear life, while the EU is taking the appropriate steps in protecting the health of travelers. This is evidenced by how differently the two governing bodies responding to the X-ray scanner cancer issue.
The European Union, following the news that the scanners are causing a threat to public health, decided to address the threat by removing the scanners. The European Commission issued a press release on November 14th calling for members of the European Union to remove X-ray scanners from its airports to avoid risking “citizens’ health and safety.” The United States on the other hand, went back on a promise to launch an independent safety into the machines.
Instead of commissioning the independent review, TSA administrator John Pistole has declared a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) ‘draft’ that focuses primarily on the upkeep and maintenance of the machines to be sufficient evidence that the machines are safe. The draft has not yet been released, though Pistole assures the American people that it is very conclusive and reassuring. In fact, Pistole actually states that it is his ‘belief’ that the scanners are safe during a Senate hearing that was to be centered around hard evidence regading X-ray scanner safety.
“My strong belief is those types of machines are still completely safe,” Pistole said. “If the determination is that this IG study is not sufficient, then I will look at still yet another additional study.”
Of course there is hard evidence that the machines are posing a risk to the health of citizens, just as the European Union has stated.
The scanners admittedly use ionizing radiation, which is known to cause DNA damage as well as cancer. The 1998 estimate of 100 cancer cases per year as a result of the body scanners is most likely far below the real numbers, considering that the radiation level of the machines was oftentimes found to be “10 times more” than expected.
It is quite outlandish how the TSA still expects citizens to blindly accept their lack of evidence on the supposed safety of the machines in place of the real evidence highlighting the powerful dangers.
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