Radiation Safety Group Says Naked
Body Scanners Increase Risk Of Cancer
An influential international radiation safety organization has warned
that the naked body scanners currently being rolled out in airports
across the world increase the risk of cancer and birth defects and
should not be used on pregnant women or children.
Despite governments claiming that backscatter x-ray systems produce
radiation too low to pose a threat, the Inter-Agency Committee
on Radiation Safety concluded in their report that governments
must justify the use of the scanners and that a more accurate
assessment of the health risks is needed.
Pregnant women and children should not be subject to scanning,
according to the report, adding that governments should consider
other techniques to achieve the same end without the use
of ionizing radiation.
The Committee cited the IAEAs 1996 Basic Safety Standards
agreement, drafted over three decades, that protects people from
radiation. Frequent exposure to low doses of radiation can lead
to cancer and birth defects, according to the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency, reports
Despite the fact that the level of radiation the passenger is
exposed to is relatively low, repeated exposure for frequent flyers
would undoubtedly increase cancer risks.
The report issued by the IACRS encompasses the work of the European
Commission, International Atomic Energy Agency, Nuclear Energy
Agency and the World Health Organization.
As we have highlighted, not only do the body scanners pose health
risks but they also violate the fundamental human right of the
innocent to be protected against strip-searches.
Despite official denials that the images produced by the devices
show details of genitalia, journalists who have investigated trials
of the technology have reported that details
of sexual organs are eerily visible.
as we have previously highlighted, when the scanners were
first introduced at Australian airports in 2008 it was admitted
that the X-ray backscatter devices dont work properly unless
the genitals of people going through them are visible. It
will show the private parts of people, but what weve decided
is that were not going to blur those out, because it severely
limits the detection capabilities, said Melbourne Airports
Office of Transport Security manager Cheryl Johnson.
Attempts to keep this under wraps by lying about the images produced
are an effort to head off challenges to the legality of the devices.
Historically, civil lawsuits where an individual has been strip
searched by a member of the opposite sex have proven to be successful
in North America.
Courts have consistently found that strip searches are only legal
when performed on a person who has already been found guilty of
a crime or on arrestees pending trial where a reasonable suspicion
has to exist that they are carrying a weapon. Subjecting masses
of people to blanket strip searches in airports reverses the very
notion of innocent until proven guilty.
Barring people from flying and essentially treating them like
terrorists for refusing to be humiliated by the virtual strip
search is a clear breach of the basic human right of freedom of
February 5, 2010