Avoid the new TSA advanced imaging technology—don’t be the guinea pig. The new screening machines have been in use since 2007, but the true effects aren’t yet known. The screening device emits a narrow beam of ionizing radiation, which scans the body in a rotating form. Numerous TSA employees have advised me that the machine emits “less radiation than you receive by flying on the actual plane.” However, I am never going to choose to expose my body to unnecessary radiation. There are sufficient alternatives, and in this case I will opt out every time and endure the embarrassment of a public groping to avoid potential damage to my body.

The backscatter X-ray is a “cumulative health hazard,” when the human body is repeatedly exposed. This means that each time you are exposed to the radiation you are increasing your risk of developing cancer. The radiation from this machine is absorbed mainly by the skin and tissue directly beneath the skin. In the case of the backscatter X-ray machine used by TSA, the radiation runs over the entire body. The elderly, children, pregnant women, and those with week genes are even more at risk to additional damage caused by the ionizing radiation produced from backscatter X-ray machines. The European Union protections exceed those in place in the US, and it has already banned such scanning devices, even those that only expose us to limited amounts of ionizing radiation.

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