I’m sure you’ve heard the uproar about the body scanners at the airport. At first listen, I rolled my eyes at people that were whining about someone seeing them ‘naked’. Do you think some airport employee who is in a different room far away from you that sees a billion of of these images is going to get excited about seeing you like this:
As far as I’m concerned, scan as many people as you need to keep my plane from blowing up. But then I started wondering how they were able to produce the image and decided to look into it.
Turns out that they use a low dose x-ray. X-RAY?? That word strikes fear into my heart. Radiation?! What about CANCER? What about if someone was PREGNANT? AHHHH!!!
But after a bit of research, here’s what I learned…
it’s a very low dose of x-ray that is used in the machine. In fact, it is the equivalent radiation dose that you’d get from being up in the air for 4 minutes. That’s right… did you know that just flying exposes you to radiation? In fact, we are always being exposed to radiation. That’s life.
|Screening at an airport X-ray scanner||.02 microsieverts|
|Negligible risk||10 microsieverts/year|
|Transcontinental flight||20 microsieverts|
|Average yearly radiation exposure from the environment||3000 microsieverts|
|Chest X-ray radiation exposure||100 microsieverts|
|Abdominal CT scan||10,000 microsieverts|
|Enough to cause radiation sickness||1,000,000 microsieverts|
|Enough to cause death||6,000,000 to 8,000,000 microsieverts|
Long story short, experts are saying that these machines are safe. Safe for pregnant women, safe for children, safe for everyone.
But there is even better news: if you don’t like the risk, get an old fashion pat down. I had one on my flight home from Germany. Actually I had TWO. (Guess I look threatening? ;)). And from my experience, people are being completely dramatic. Another FEMALE quickly patted my body down top to bottom. It took about… oh 20 seconds. Did she touch my breasts- GASP!- yes. But it was equivalent to being in a crowd and someone’s elbow breezing past you. It’s not like she squeezed ‘em!
My opinion- they’re a good thing. Especially because you have the option to go for a pat down instead. And if they prevent someone with a bomb in their shoe or underwear from getting on my plane- wahoo!
And some groups are even having a little fun with the whole idea…
OK, I’ve said my piece… know I want to hear what you think:
Airport Security body scans: Yay or Nay? Why?