Odds: Airport X-ray Scanner vs Terrorist Bomb

On the safety of the TSA’s body scanners:

Peter Rez, from Arizona State University, said the probability of dying from radiation from a body scanner and that of being killed in a terror attack are both about one in 30 million.

He said: ‘The thing that worries me the most, is not what happens if the machine works as advertised, but what happens if it doesn’t.

A potential malfunction could increase the radiation dose, he said.

Rez has studied the radiation doses of backscatter scanners using the images produced by the machines. He discovered that the radiation dose was often higher than the manufacturers claimed.

Rez suggested that the statistical coincidence means that there is really no case to be made for deploying any kind of body-scanning machine – the risk is identical.

Critics say the low level beam used delivers a small dose of radiation to the body but because the beam concentrates on the skin – one of the most radiation-sensitive organs of the human body – that dose may be up to 20 times higher than first estimated.

‘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,’ they wrote.

While the odds may be the same, a terrorist gives you the opportunity to die fighting. If you lose it’s a relatively quick death and you are remembered as a hero. On the other hand death by a TSA scanner is delayed but the process is slow and very unpleasant.

source:
Airport X-ray scanner is just as likely to kill you as a terrorist bomb
Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 7:22 PM on 18th November 2010

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