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That New Study that Confirms Safety of Scanners? FAKE

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Last week there was a flurry of news stories about a new “study” on the safety of the TSA’s x-ray scanners.

“New Health Study Finds Airport Scanners Safe.”

Airport Scanners Appear Safe, Study Finds

Radiation from airport scanners very low: study

Airport Scanners Radiation Risk ‘Extremely Low,’ New Research Shows

But these headlines are complete bullshit!

Oh sure, there was an article published in a medical journal. But it wasn’t a study. No original testing of anyone or any radiation was mentioned in the article. No original research was done.

Pratik Mehta and Rebecca Smith-Bindman just got figures and estimates from other people and did a little math. That is all. That is why these headlines are fake. Read their short and very accessible article and decide for yourself.

In fact, the first comment on their article (from another doctor) notes this point:

… it seems that the authors did not collect any data of their own or do any experiments. It is very easy to measure the effects of the radiation of these scanners on cells using methodology that my laboratory and other laboratories have developed (for example, Schultz et al., Journal of Cell Biology 151: 1381-90, 2000). The amount of DNA damage induced by these scanners could then be accurately determined. Why not do these studies?

This biochemist has written about how these kinds of calculations can be misleading. It has been noted over and over again that a chest x-ray is a *hard* x-ray, most of which passes right through the body. The TSA x-ray scanners, on the other hand, use soft x-rays. These are more easily absorbed by the body, especially the skin, testicles and corneas.

The bottom line is that this article presents nothing new, can not honestly be called a study or research and definitely does not conclusively prove anything about the danger or safety of the TSA’s x-ray scanners. What a waste of newsprint!

  • Mike

    How many times is it going to take for us to learn that we don’t want science experiments run on our bodies? How many things were once thought safe that turned out to be not so safe?

  • Christine

    “all of the energy of the scan is absorbed by the most superficial tissues of the body, such as the skin”

    Really, I’m pretty sure the skin isn’t really the most “superficial tissue” but is rather the largest organ in the human body. Pretty sure I remember that from science classes all the way back to middle school and maybe even elementary school and I don’t remember them saying in college that they discovered that the skin isn’t really an organ but is just “superficial tissue.” I’m pretty sure we still teach that the skin is an organ.

    • http://lexitechnia.frath.net/ Muke

      ‘Superficial’ as a technical term means ‘on the surface’ (Latin ‘superficies’). The idea of superficial things being insignificant is just a metaphor based on this.

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