by Paul Joseph Watson
June 28, 2011
Fearful of provoking further public resistance to naked airport body
the TSA has been caught covering up a surge in cases of TSA workers developing cancer as a result of their close proximity
to radiation-firing devices, perhaps the most shocking revelation to
emerge from the latest FOIA documents obtained by the Electronic
Privacy Information Center (EPIC.).
After Union representatives in Boston discovered a “cancer cluster”
amongst TSA workers linked with radiation from the body scanners,
the TSA sought to downplay the matter and refused to issue employees
with dosimeters to measure levels of exposure.
The documents indicate how,
“A large number of workers have been
falling victim to cancer, strokes and heart disease.”
“The Department, rather than acting on it, or explaining its
position seems to have just dismissed. I don’t think that’s the
way most other agencies would have acted in a similar situation
if they were confronted with that question,” EPIC’s Marc
email sent to Heather Callahan, deputy federal security director at Boston Logan
International Airport, union representatives express their concern
“TSA Boston’s growing number of TSOs
working here that have thus far been diagnosed with cancer.”
Of course, if TSA workers who are merely
standing near the scanners are already developing cancer, frequent
flyers are also putting themselves in harm’s way by standing
directly inside the radiation-firing machines.
reported yesterday, newly released internal government
documents, obtained via the Freedom Of Information Act by the
Electronic Privacy Information Center, reveal that the TSA, and
specifically the head of the Department of Homeland Security,
“publicly mischaracterized” the findings of the National Institute
of Standards and Technology, in stating that NIST had positively
confirmed the safety of full body scanners in tests.
In erroneously citing both NIST and the Johns Hopkins school of
medicine to claim that the body scanners are safe, the TSA has also
deliberately misled the public on the dangers posed by the devices.
Documents obtained by EPIC show that, far from affirming their
safety, NIST warned that airport screeners should avoid standing
next to full body scanners in order to keep exposure to harmful
radiation “as low as reasonably achievable.”
Further documents illustrate how a Johns Hopkins study actually
revealed that radiation zones around body scanners could exceed the
“General Public Dose Limit,” contradicting repeated claims by the TSA that Johns Hopkins had validated the safety of the devices.
At the time we pointed out that Dr Michael Love, who runs an X-ray
lab at the department of biophysics and biophysical chemistry at the
Johns Hopkins school of medicine had publicly stated two days
“statistically someone is going to
get skin cancer from these X-rays”.
complained about the
radiation dangers of the scanners back in December, saying they were
being kept in the dark by their employers, despite repeated requests
“We don’t think the agency is
sharing enough information,” said Milly Rodriguez, occupational
health and safety specialist at the American Federation of
Government Employees, the union that represents TSA workers.
study conducted last year by Dr David
Brenner, head of Columbia University’s center for radiological
research, found that the body scanners are likely to lead to an
increase in a common type of skin cancer called basal cell
carcinoma, which affects the head and neck.
Following the study, Brenner urged medical authorities to look at
his work, pointing to the dangerous notion of mass scanning millions
of people without proper oversight.
“There really is no other technology
around where we’re planning to X-ray such an enormous number of
individuals. It’s really unprecedented in the radiation world,”
Similar concerns to those explored in
the Columbia University study were voiced in February 2010 by the
Inter-Agency Committee on Radiation Safety, who warned
in a report that the scanners 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 organization 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 IAEA’s 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
recent letter to
Science Advisor, several University of California professors also
complained of how,
“There is still no rigorous, hard,
data for the safety of x-ray airport passenger scanners.”
The scientists noted how the safety
tests for the scanners were carried out exclusively by
manufacturers, and recommended an immediate moratorium on use of the
devices until the health risks can be independently studied.