Poll: One quarter of airline passengers would refuse full-body scans
A new survey from Thomson Reuters and NPR reveals that roughly one quarter of respondents would refuse to pass through the full-body scanners that are now deployed at more than 100 U.S. airports. In addition, 14.9 percent of respondents said the full-body scanners had them concerned for their health.
That last part will rile the TSA, which has tried hard to educate the public about the health concerns of the scanners. The TSA, of course, denies the scanners, known as Advanced Imaging Technology machines, pose any health risks. "Advanced imaging technology screening is safe for all passengers, including children, pregnant women, and individuals with medical implants," the TSA says on its website.
Raymond Fabius, M.D., the chief medical officer at the healthcare business of Thomson Reuters, agrees with the TSA. "While I applaud the survey participants' concern with radiation exposure, these scanners are safe. Based on the amount of radiation these machines produce, a traveler would have to take 2,000 plane rides before being subjected to the equivalence of a single chest x-ray," Fabius said in a press release. "The much more serious health concerns associated with flying are exposure to communicable illnesses and blood clots during long air excursions."
Back to the Reuters-NPR survey. Respondents said the main reasons for resistance to new scanners are exposure to radiation (22.6 percent), personal privacy violations (17.1 percent) and concerns the scanners violated their 4th Amendment rights (13.3 percent). Forty-seven percent of respondents expressed no concern with the technology.
I think the TSA will always face airline passengers who raise health or privacy concerns when it comes to the full-body scanners. It comes with the job.