Most of us have heard about the new Full Body Scanners being used at several airports and the controversy surrounding this hot topic. The arguments range from concerns about privacy to health issues. Here is another question: Will this new technology pose problems for those travelers who have had any type of plastic surgery procedure? Are there any procedures that could pose a problem? This issue hasn’t been discussed but should it? Articles are being written continuously about this hot topic…
“Among the issues debated:
•Processing times. The TSA says it takes about 20 seconds to screen a passenger with the machines.
The International Air Transportation Association, which represents 250 of the world’s airlines, disputes that. The group says it observed the new machines at Baltimore/Washington airport during the July 4 holiday weekend, and it took 50 to 70 seconds to screen a passenger.
Frequent flier Jim Zipursky of Omaha says it took 2½ to five minutes to screen him with the new machine before each of four recent flights from Omaha’s airport. On previous flights, it took a minute or less to walk through a magnetometer, he says.
•Privacy invasion. Full-body machines violate the Fourth Amendment, which guards against unlawful searches and seizures, by subjecting travelers to an “invasive search” without any suspicion that they did anything wrong, the Electronic Privacy Information Center alleges in a July 2 lawsuit filed in a U.S. appeals court in Washington. The non-profit group was established to focus attention on civil liberties issues.
The group also says the machines perform digital strip searches that are incompatible with the teachings of some religious faiths.
Dubai airport security officials announced July 5 that the machines contradict Islam and wouldn’t be installed there because of privacy concerns. Orthodox Jews and Pope Benedict XVI have also opposed the machines.
The TSA says it sets the machines to blur travelers’ facial features and places employees viewing the images in a separate room. The agency says it doesn’t store the images and deletes them after viewing.
•Radiation. Frequent flier Richard Hofrichter of Glen Allen, Va., says he’s been screened by the full-body machines about 30 times this year, and he’s worried about the cumulative effects of radiation.
TSA spokeswoman Kristin Lee says the machines that use high-speed X-rays emit a very low dose of radiation, equal to the amount received from the environment during two minutes in flight. Other machines that use electromagnetic waves that emit energy to scan passengers are “thousands of times less than what is permitted for a cellphone,” she says.
The TSA says machines that use X-rays were evaluated by the government and scientists who determined that the radiation doses for individuals being screened, operators and bystanders were well below the dose limits specified by the American National Standards Institute.
In April, however, four professors at the University of California-San Francisco, wrote a letter to John Holdren, President Obama’s top science adviser, expressing “serious concerns” about “potential health risks” from the machines. The professors are experts in biochemistry, biophysics, X-ray imaging and cancer.
The radiation emitted by the scanners would be safe if it was distributed throughout the entire body, but the majority is absorbed by the skin and underlying tissue, the professors wrote. “The dose to the skin may be dangerously high,” they said.
They told Holdren that “there is good reason to believe” the machines would increase the risk of cancer to children, the elderly, pregnant women and others prone to cancer.
David Brenner, the director of Columbia University’s radiological research center, says the machines emit very small doses of radiation to the skin. The risk to individuals may be small, Brenner says, but with hundreds of millions of passengers flying each year, “The population risk has the potential to be significant.”
•Ability to detect weapons and explosives. The Government Accountability Office said in March that it “remains unclear” whether the machines would have detected the explosives in the underwear of a man who allegedly tried to blow up a Northwest Airlines jet bound for Detroit on Christmas Day.
Brian Sullivan and Steve Elson, two former Federal Aviation Administration security agents, say the machines are ineffective for finding explosives and preventing a terrorist from smuggling explosives on board an aircraft.
Billie Vincent, the FAA’s former security director, says the machines “incrementally improve” on metal detectors if TSA agents alertly resolve identified threats. There are no screening technologies that “are 100% effective,” he says.
TSA spokeswoman Lee says the agency is “highly confident” in the detection capability of full-body, or advanced, imaging technology. “While there is no silver-bullet technology, advanced imaging technology is very effective at detecting metallic and non-metallic threats on passengers, including explosives and powders,” she says.
Passengers with concerns about the machines can instead request a pat-down search.” By Gary Stoller, USA TODAY
As we see, there are several concerns being debated out there, but should plastic surgery effects on screening be one of them? The doctor is going to be researching this topic and looking into whether there are any procedures that could pose a problem for travelers opting for the new full body scan. Find out in the second installment regarding this issue