Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Airport Exposure Risks Health and Humiliation

I'm calling on the Atomic Veterans who read my blog to pay special attention to this post.

Since the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has broadened the list of diseases connected to Agent Orange, we need to push ahead to support the apparent links of our exposure to Ionizing Radiation to various diseases.

The radiation danger of airport screening is gradually coming to the forefront of the screening debate.  We need to do all we can to focus attention away from the embarrassment of nakedness to the more important health issues.  To again emphasize to the public that there is no level of radiation that can be considered safe.

Some Atomic Veterans have been fighting the battle for over 60 years, from the time they were first exposed to Ionizing Radiation.  But for others the issue is as brand new as this week's headlines.  For example a story from the Huffington Post, which said in part: "Concerns about privacy and low-level radiation emitted by the machines have led some passengers to refuse screening. Under TSA rules, those who decline must submit to rigorous pat-down inspections that include checks of the inside of travelers' thighs and buttocks. The American Civil Liberties Union has denounced the machines as a "virtual strip search.""

Any dose of radiation may produce a delayed health effect. Delayed effects from radiation exposure may occur months, years, or decades later. It is not possible to predict if or when these effects will occur. We know that, and there should be no debate about it.
The late Dr. John W. Gofman knew what we know to be true, and he advocated our position as a research scientist at the University of California, Berkeley.  "Dr. Gofman's exhaustive research led him to conclude that there is NO SAFE DOSE-LEVEL of ionizing radiation.
There are two opposed theories about exposure to Ionizing Radiation.  
One has always had the support of the Department of Energy, the military, the corporations which have been involved with DOE research, the medical industry, and the nuclear power industry.  They all have had a vested financial interest in concluding that low-level radiation is safe.  It's the same attitude as the companies who manufacture the airport screening equipment.
On the other side are the innocents who have nothing to gain except justice and health protection.  DOE set up dose levels of radiation to establish that some levels of exposure are safe.  The years of research by Dr. Gofman and others have concluded that low levels of exposure are dangerous and can be manifested in diseases 20 to 40 years later.
When you hear your friends discussing the privacy issues of airport screening, be sure to tell them about the screening devices that produce Ionizing Radiation.

William A. Ricks 
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1 comment:

radbd said...

Of course there are safe doses of radiation. Ask the 50% of cancer patients who have been cured by radiation exposures much much higher than those used with airport scanners. We are all exposed to radiation every day at doses much higher than those at airports. It is a question of risks versus benefit. We all get irradiated every day(natural background radiation is unavoidable). You get extra radiation exposure on every flight you take. The higher or longer the flight the greater the dose of natural whole body cosmic radiation you will be exposed to. This will be greater than the superficial radiation(skin) dose from the airport scanner and carries much lower risk of injury eg. than from the car trip to the airport!