Janet Napolitano’s promise that Americans won’t be forced to remove their shoes comes at a price
Paul Joseph Watson
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Janet Napolitano’s promise that travelers will soon not be required to take their shoes off at airport security checkpoints comes at a cost – new MRI-style scanners that will zap Americans with a powerful magnetic field that has been linked with numerous health risks.
“Safran Morpho, a firm that was formerly a part of General Electric’s Security division, told POLITICO that their model could be mass produced in a matter of months and that a prototype was already ready.”
“Morpho’s device would scan shoes in three ways: using technology similar to MRIs used in medical settings; explosives trace scanners; and traditional magnetometer metal detection,” according to the Politico report.
However, the new technology is set to be unveiled with barely a whimper of public discussion about the potential health concerns associated with MRI scanning technology, which is normally only used in highly controlled medical settings, and the sanity of allowing such sensitive technology to be operated in busy airports by low-paid TSA security goons.
MRI scans can be dangerous and even fatal for individuals who have implants in their body which contain metal.
People with implants in their body should not use MRI-style scanners, because the magnetism generated by such technology can cause implants to move, causing physical damage to the body. If the device helps perform a bodily function, the scan can also cause it to malfunction. This is particularly dangerous to anyone who has a knee or hip replacement, because the scan can damage and weaken surrounding tissues.
The scan also causes metal objects to heat up, risking burns. This heating process can also be fatal for the babies of pregnant women.
People with damaged kidneys would also be at risk from the dye used in some MRI scanning technology, which can cause, “nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF) in patients with impaired kidney function.”
MRI scans have to be conducted in highly controlled medical environments because the high magnetism of the device can cause loose objects to fly across the room like missiles. The hustle and bustle of a busy airport security checkpoint, where all kinds of objects are on display, is one of the least suitable situations in which such technology should be used.
In 2008, the Health Protection Agency was asked to investigate the risks associated with magnetic resonance imaging because, “The exposures to patients and medical staff from the magnetic fields can be high and there is a shortage of information on possible adverse long-term health effects,” said HPA chairperson Sir William Stewart.
The study, which was backed by the World Health Organization, was tasked with investigating whether there was a link to cancer because the powerful magnetic field generated by the technology “can interrupt normal body functions.”
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
The TSA’s record on properly evaluating the health risks posed by scanning technology does not bode well for the safe introduction of MRI-style scans, which are great for helping to diagnose medical problems in carefully regulated hospital environments, but have no place in airports being operated by minimum wage TSA goons.
In claiming their radiation-firing naked body scanners were completely safe, the TSA ignored studies by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Inter-Agency Committee on Radiation Safety, Columbia University and the University of California, who all concluded that such scans would increase the risk of certain types of cancer.
When a “cluster” of cancer cases developed amongst TSA screeners at Boston Logan, the TSA attempted to cover up the story.
Documents obtained by Forbes show that the federal agency “Has been planning pilot programs to deploy mobile scanning units that can be set up at public events and in train stations, along with mobile x-ray vans capable of scanning pedestrians on city streets.”
“This would allow them to take these technologies out of the airport and into other contexts like public streets, special events and ground transit,” says Ginger McCall, an attorney with EPIC. “It’s a clear violation of the fourth amendment that’s very invasive, not necessarily effective, and poses all the same radiation risks as the airport scans.”
Indeed, mobile scanning vans are already roaming American streets and highways, conducting drive-by scans of the American people with technology that can see through walls, cars and clothing.
EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center) filed a lawsuit in May against the DHS for attempting to keep the program secret.
EPIC’s suit asked a federal court to order disclosure of nearly 1,000 pages of additional records detailing the controversial program – records the agency has repeatedly refused to make public, despite freedom of information requests and appeals over the last seven months.
The lawsuit points to an agency under the DHS umbrella, the Science and Technology Directorate, which has released only 15 full pages of documents on the mobile scanners, whilst heavily redacting another 158 pages and withholding 983 pages of documents.
In February, EPIC discovered (PDF) that the DHS had paid contractors “millions of dollars on mobile body scanner technology that could be used at railways, stadiums, and elsewhere” on crowds of moving people.