by Eileen | 4:42 pm, February 6, 2012 | Comments Off
Under the bogglingly illogical government we have so judiciously elected, there’s no problem in blasting people with radiation so long as it’s not designated to be for medical purposes. We all know what this means; because airport scanners aren’t rearranging our atoms for a medical benefit, they don’t come under FDA control. Hence, your guess is as good as mine as to how close to glowing in the dark the frequent flyers of this fair land really are.
For a moment, let’s set aside the other attendant issues; privacy, better ways to spend money, and the contestable reality of a threat that justifies such excesses. Let’s look at the health question. These machines stand in open, crowded, and filthy areas. They get infrequent and, almost certainly, inadequate maintenance. The people running them don’t even need a high school diploma or basic literacy to get the job. The scanners lack radiation alarms and, until recently, their operators did not wear dosimeters.
…it now takes an Act of Congress to force the U.S. Government to conduct actual investigation into wantonly showering the populace with radiation.
Right here, we’ve got problems. Any doctor who so callously exposed her patients to radiation would be stripped of her license. Any radiation technician who took such shoddy care of the equipment he uses would be fired. Any hospital that tolerated such carelessness would lose accreditation. The government justifies such laws on the medical use of radiation based on the inherent danger. This is the stuff that mutates your cells, turns yours bone into crumbly mush, and inflicts giant ill-tempered lizards on the Orient.
Why then, are we operating under the asinine fallacy that radiation isn’t harmful if we say it’s for security rather than therapy? Radiation is radiation. It doesn’t read policy memos and it doesn’t care that Homeland Security sees to be willing away the unstable isotopes. Whatever alternate universe the politicians are on, here in reality, radiation is a threat and we’re all at higher risk. Higher risk not just because of the roll-out of scanners at airports, but because of the government’s fetish for adding the things in every public place from sea to shining sea.
Washington tells us it’s all perfectly safe. They, of course, can’t actually share any of the evidence they swear to possess with us peons, national security and all. Even were all that tip-top evidence to exist, the outrageous laxity of radioactive machines popping up all around us is a problem. Simply put, intelligent people aren’t so frivolous to a known carcinogen.
Finally, there may be some movement on the impending irradiation of the Land of the Free. Principally authored by Susan Collins (R-ME), and with bipartisan sponsorship, the study sign bill would require that DHS contract with an independent lab to test radiation levels.
Last fall, John Pistole, the TSA Administrator who would not rule out cavity searches at airports, finally promised Congress that he would preform just such a study. Within days, he reneged, saying that DHS’ own private studies concluded there was radiation risk. That study, naturally, is not available for citizens to review. TSA officials brazenly insist that no one will get cancer from the ionizing radiation of scanners, an alarming level of certainty with no basis for belief.
Europe has already banned the use of such scanners over radiation concerns. ProPublica concluded that no peer-reviewed work on the safety of backscatter x-rays has been done and that the TSA may have glossed over safety problems with the machines. Scientists who have been publicly named by the TSA as supporters of the use of radiation in passenger screening have reacted angrily, accusing the agency of misrepresenting their work for its own agenda. The National Academy of Science has espoused a linear model of radiation risk, meaning that cancer risk grows over time with increased exposure, finally concluding that no amount of radiation, small as it may be, is entirely safe.
The FDA declined to invoke its power to regulate non-medical use of radiation, opting to rely on the TSA voluntarily seeing to the safety of the machines. In turn, the TSA ignored the requirement to consider public comment and paid no heed to research that suggested the machines posed a risk. In short, there exists little data, none of it up to academic snuff.
What this means, boys and girls, is that it now takes an Act of Congress to force the U.S. Government to conduct actual investigation into wantonly showering the populace with radiation. The level of disregard for citizens this evinces ought to concern us all.
Sen. Collins will introduce her bill soon. Until then, we may at least hope that, when the radiation turns us all into mutants, our superpowers will be enough to extract a bloody vengeance from Washington.
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