There is a growing backlash against the backscatter technology that has become pervasive at airport security checkpoints. Pilots were the first group to start complaining about the “naked strip searches” and now the media has embraced the movement.
The most frightening aspect is the potential health consequence of repeatedly going through the body screeners:
“The physics of these X-rays is very telling: the X-rays are Compton-Scattering off outer molecule bonding electrons and thus inelastic (likely breaking bonds).
Unlike other scanners, these new devices operate at relatively low beam energies (28keV). The majority of their energy is delivered to the skin and the underlying tissue. Thus, while the dose would be safe if it were distributed throughout the volume of the entire body, the dose to the skin may be dangerously high.”
Read the full complaint from University of California, San Francisco faculty here: Letter to Holdren Concerning Health Risks of Full Body Scanner
From my perspective the solution is simple: Just opt out of the body screener and go for the “aggressive” pat down. Do you really think that it is more intrusive to be felt through your clothing than to have someone in a back room staring at a naked picture of you? Also, if a large number of people opt for the pat down then the TSA and our government will need to either force everyone to go through the screener (which is hopefully too big brother authoritarian for the American public to stomach) or find another method because full pat downs would delay and cancel a lot of flights. The sad truth is that 30 years down the road, if you have cancer from the body screener, it will be a little difficult to prove that it was due to the body scanner…