Tag Archives | X-Ray

EU Bans Airport X-Ray Scanners Over Health Concerns

TSA ScanReports Julia Whitty on Mother Jones:

Citing health concerns, the European Union banned from European airports this week the same kind of X-ray scanners used by TSA in airports across the US. Here’s the EU’s wording:

In order not to risk jeopardising citizens’ health and safety, only security scanners which do not use X-ray technology are added to the list of authorised methods for passenger screening at EU airports.

In How Safe Are TSA’s Porno Scanners? I wrote about the risks of using ionizing radiation in routine airport screenings. Concerned scientists have noted the health risks of X-ray scanners, where even low levels of radiation increase cancer risks. They also note that TSA’s safety testing is flawed, since:

  1. testing is not done on the skin, which receives most backscatter X-rays
  2. the devices used for testing airport scanners are not designed for testing airport scanners

Worse, as Pro Publica points out, TSA’s safety tests are strangely obtuse:

The researchers’ names have been kept secret, and the report on the tests is so “heavily redacted” that “there is no way to repeat any of these measurements.”

Read More on Mother Jones

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U.S. Government Glossed Over Cancer Concerns As It Rolled Out Airport X-Ray Scanners

X-RayMichael Grabell reports on ProPublica:

On Sept. 23, 1998, a panel of radiation safety experts gathered at a Hilton hotel in Maryland to evaluate a new device that could detect hidden weapons and contraband. The machine, known as the Secure 1000, beamed X-rays at people to see underneath their clothing.

One after another, the experts convened by the Food and Drug Administration raised questions about the machine because it violated a longstanding principle in radiation safety — that humans shouldn’t be X-rayed unless there is a medical benefit.

“I think this is really a slippery slope,” said Jill Lipoti, who was the director of New Jersey’s radiation protection program. The device was already deployed in prisons; what was next, she and others asked — courthouses, schools, airports? “I am concerned … with expanding this type of product for the traveling public,” said another panelist, Stanley Savic, the vice president for safety at a large electronics company.

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US Approves First 3D Mammography Device

U.S. Navy photo by Ensign Ann-Marie Al Noad

U.S. Navy photo by Ensign Ann-Marie Al Noad

Movies aren’t the only industry jumping on the 3D bandwagon. Now breast cancer screening images can be seen in the third dimension. Via Bloomberg:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved on Friday the first X-ray mammography device that provides three-dimensional images of the breast for cancer screening and diagnosis.

The Selenia Dimensions System, an upgrade to Massachusetts-based Hologic Inc.’s FDA-approved two-dimensional system, can provide 2-D and 3-D X-ray images of the breasts. The 3-D images may help physicians more accurately detect and diagnose breast cancer, the FDA said in a news release.

“Physicians can now access this unique and innovative 3-D technology that could significantly enhance existing diagnosis and treatment approaches,” said Dr. Jeffrey Shuren, director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health.

[Continues at Bloomberg Business Week]

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What Many Bags of Cocaine Look Like Inside You

Drug MuleListen up drug mules: please start looking for a new job if you can. This is a hell of a way to make a living. Via SF Gate:

A CT scan taken at the University of Bern’s Inselspital Hospital shows seven packets of swallowed cocaine as light-gray circular and oblong shapes in a smuggler’s stomach above a bright white snake-like portion of bowel.

The university’s Dr. Patricia Flach led a study that found that CT scans detected cocaine contraband better than X-rays.

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For Airport Security, Size Matters

Photo: Miami-Dade Police

Photo: Miami-Dade Police

Via the Smoking Gun:

A Transportation Security Administration screener is facing an assault rap after he allegedly beat a co-worker who joked about the size of the man’s genitalia after he walked through a security scanner. The May 4 confrontation involved Rolando Negrin, 44, and other TSA employees who had previously taken part in a training session at Miami International Airport, according to the below Miami-Dade Police Department reports.

Negrin, pictured in the mug shot at right, and his co-workers had been training with new “whole body image” machines — the controversial kind that provide very revealing images of a traveler — when Negrin walked through the scanner. “The X-ray revealed that [Negrin] has a small penis and co-workers made fun of him on a daily basis,” reported cops. Following his arrest, Negrin told police that he “could not take the jokes anymore and lost his mind.”

Read More: Smoking Gun

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Oops: Backscatter X-Ray Machines “Tear Apart DNA”

At Yahoo Tech:

The latest airport security trend is the backscatter x-ray machine, touted as a powerful way to virtually frisk a traveler for contraband without the embarassment of a strip search.

Though touted as completely safe because the level of radiation is so low, travelers have been nervous about the devices — and not just because it shows off a nice outline of their privates to the people manning the machines — but because they remain scared of the health problems they might propose.

Looks like a little healthy paranoia might have been a good thing. While the conventional wisdom has held that so-called “terahertz radiation,” upon which backscatter x-ray machines are based, is harmless because it doesn’t carry enough energy to do cellular or genetic damage, new research suggests that may be completely wrong.

Specifically, researchers have found that terahertz radiation may interfere directly with DNA. Although the force generated is small, the waves have been found to “unzip double-stranded DNA, creating bubbles in the double strand that could significantly interfere with processes such as gene expression and DNA replication.”

I’m not a doctor, but that just doesn’t sound good…

[continues at Yahoo Tech]

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