The last time I flew I was asked to go through the Full Body Scanner after my belongings had gone through the security belt. I don’t recall if I had anything on me that set off an alarm or if I was randomly selected. It happened so fast… I just did as I was asked.
I hadn’t educated myself on the new airport screening procedure and the use of backscatter X-rays. Although I’m aware of the health risks involved when we are exposed to radiation, I was still new to this screening process.
Quite honestly, I forgot all about this incident until I stumbled across a site “WE WON’T FLY” on Twitter. I was curious and my curiosity lead me to the site to learn more. That site lead to links and posts…and more links with interviews and in the days following became headlines on every major news network (for several days).
Wow. I didn’t realize this was such a “hot topic.” It’s so hot that its become a skit on SNL and the video has literally gone viral overnight.
Around this same time, I was asked to lead a Health and Wellness Forum on Mom It Forward and chose to submit this topic as one of my discussions to find out what others thought about the TSA screening process. Mom It Forward is a community that is an extension of #GNO (Girls Night Out) Twitter parties, where the conversation is not limited to merely 140 characters.
The TSA Full Body Scan thread resulted in several interesting response and opinions from women who chimed in their thoughts and even concerns. You can join the conversation by being a part of Mom It Forward Community.
Should we really care about the TSA Full Body Scan and Pat Down? While airport safety is a concern (and rightly so), many travelers are upset and outraged by the TSA screening process. The procedure is not only raising health concerns from this type of X-ray that emits radiation but also exposing body parts. For those who have opted out of the full body scan for a pat down instead, many have felt invaded or humiliated during the process.
Being health conscious I, too have some concerns about these X-rays but I would be even more concerned if I was a regular traveler. Being exposed once in a while may result in minimal exposure, but several times a week or a month could raise valid concerns. Even USCF Scientists have spoken up about these X-rays being a health risk.
It’s REALLY hard to avoid every potential health hazard lurking in our midst but we can certainly be educated in order to make the right choice that is suitable for us.
I don’t wish to participate in either of these screening procedures but now that I have a little more knowledge, I’ll have to weigh my options if I have to face this issue again.
Here are some things to think about:
1. If you have children, do you want them to be subjected to a pat down in light of reports of being inappropriately touched?
2. Do you care that the body scanner shows your full body image as described in this post?
3. If you have health issues, would you opt out of full body scanners for a pat down knowing that it may be intrusive such as this cancer survivor with prosthetic breasts?
Sometimes, we are forced to choose the lessor of two evils. I’m still not sure which is worse. However, I’m happy to hear that the TSA will refine airport screenings.
Meanwhile, I may just buy myself a pair of TSA Proof Underwear and Bra for when I travel, just in case I have to go through the body scanners again.
UPDATE: December 1, 2011
This was published today on Dr. Mercola…very interesting: Europe Bans X-Ray Body Scanners Used at U.S. Airports .