We Won’t Fly and FlyersRights.org are issuing the following joint press release.
Americans Appeal for “No-Fry Zone” in US Airports
X-ray scanners are too risky, the TSA is too unreliable and safer alternatives are already in use. We should use them instead of the x-ray scanners.
(Philadelphia, PA, March 21, 2011)— Leading traveler advocates We Won’t Fly and FlyersRights.org appeal to President Obama and Congress for a “No-Fry Zone” in US airports. The Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) has admitted that some safety tests of its controversial backscatter x-ray scanners showed radiation levels ten times higher than expected.1
At the same time, radiation experts are saying, “There is no safe level of radiation.”2
“Obviously having more radiation is not a good thing,” said CNN’s Sanjay Gupta.3 This is a sentiment echoed by millions of Americans.
Senator Susan Collins of Maine got to the heart of the matter. “If TSA contractors reporting on the radiation levels have done such a poor job, how can airline passengers and crew have confidence in the data used by the TSA to reassure the public?”4
The traveling public can’t afford this risk. As Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah said, “We can’t make mistakes with pregnant women” going through the scanners.5
The radiation risk from the TSA’s x-ray backscatter scanners is also unnecessary. The TSA’s millimeter wave scanners emit zero ionizing radiation. “There is no currently known threat to personal health from the millimeter wave machines,” said Columbia University scientist David Brenner.6 X-rays, on the other hand, “are a carcinogen.”7
“We do not know with any certainty the magnitude of individual cancer risks associated with such low doses [of x-rays],” added Brenner.8 When there is a safer alternative, it makes no sense to continue risking people’s health.
Although the individual dose and risk is in question, frequent flyers, pilots, flight attendants, TSA employees and others can be exposed to the ionizing radiation hundreds of times per year, increasing their potential risk.9
When the federal government is “literally scrambling to protect people against radiation” 10 and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano has ordered screening of cargo and passengers for “even a blip of radiation” in the wake of the Japanese nuclear incident as an “exercise of caution,” it also makes sense to spare millions of travelers in the US from any additional ionizing radiation. 11
“Experts confirm what our common sense tells us. Radiation is harmful. The damage is cumulative. Even small doses should be avoided whenever possible. The irradiation of travelers has no security benefit. No one denies that irradiating hundreds of millions of travelers will kill people. Those that die a horrible cancerous death are considered merely ‘collateral damage’ by ghoulish profit seekers like Michael Chertoff and their congressional lap dogs,” said James Babb of We Won’t Fly.
Kate Hanni of FlyersRights.org added, “The x-ray backscatter machines should be immediately discontinued as a primary screening method. They are ineffective at finding liquid slurries and low density explosives. They cause people to be subjected to additional unnecessary radiation, and invade their privacy.”
“Mr. Obama, junk these ionizing radiation scanners. The TSA has proven itself too unreliable to be trusted with the use and upkeep of these devices. Safe alternatives exist,” added We Won’t Fly’s George Donnelly.
About We Won’t Fly
We Won’t Fly is a consumer advocate for effective traveler security that doesn’t trample basic human rights and dignity. http://WeWontFly.com.
FlyersRights.org is the largest non-profit airline passenger rights organization in the world, with 33,000 members. http://FlyersRights.org
Kate Hanni [email protected] 707 337 0328
2 http://www.northjersey.com/news/state/118317159_Nuclear_plant_safety_buffer_may_be__greatly_expanded.html?c=y&page=2 , http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/42176977/ns/world_news-asiapacific/ , http://www.democracynow.org/seo/2011/3/18/underestimating_the_seriousness_of_the_problem
3 CNN AC360 Friday, March 18, 2011