Amongst those issues argued as the tsa body scanner debacle ensues is risk. The bottom line is that to expose the public in a massive way to radiation exposes them to risk. Widespread and frequent radiation exposure of this type has not been implemented before, and the effects will likely take many years to reveal themselves. In essence if we continue this policy, we won’t know the long term effects until decades later.
We have a historical example however; that of “low dose” radiation exposure for acne. In the 1950′s, it became popular in some countries to submit people suffering form acne to “low dose” radiation exposure as treatment. It worked in many cases. Here is an Australian case example of a patient who later developed many cancers.
I have seen occasional patients (it wasn’t as common in the US) who had had radiation treatment for acne as children and without much history of sun exposure developed massive numbers of skin cancers as well as other malignancies. There is also some evidence of increased risk for breast cancer and sarcomas. At the time of the actual “treatments,” these risks were of course unknown. Who is to say our current tsa scanner policy is not going to produce another such group of patients in the decades to come?
Profiling might not be politically correct, but massive scanner exposure even in minute amounts seems likely to increase cancer rates. Profiling will not. This is simple folks.
John Di Saia MD
Originally posted 2010-11-24 09:00:07.