Airport security scans: What would your doctor do?

Source: CNN

DSC_5297I was in the security line at an airport a few months ago when I watched a fellow passenger do something I’d never seen done before: He dissed the scan.

“I’d like to opt out,” he said, as a security agent went scurrying for a male agent to give this man a full-body pat-down, the requirement for anyone who refuses to go through the full-body scanner.

Wow, I thought, this man really must want to avoid the scanner if he’s willing to get groped by a total stranger.

The Transportation Security Administration says the so-called backscatter scans, which emit a small amount of radiation, are safe. “Multiple independent studies have confirmed that the technology used to protect passengers when they fly is safe for their health,” says TSA spokesman Nicholas Kimball. “TSA takes many precautions to regularly verify that all machines are operating properly.”

Another type of airport scanner uses “millimeter wave” technology, which uses electromagnetic waves and has not raised the same level of public concerns as the backscatter scans.

So why all the worry? In my obnoxious journalist way, I pounced on the guy to ask him why he’d done it.

“I’m a doctor at M.D. Anderson, and I don’t want radiation if I can avoid it,” he said.

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