Vancouver Airport X-Ray full body scanners: Health or safety
U.S. Research scientists fear low levels of x-rays may cause skin cancer, certainly a concern for Canadian snowbirds and many British Columbians who are frequent flyers.
Vancouver airport implementation of full body x-ray scanners purchased last year as an answer to stem the tide of terrorism has many concerned over the health issues over air-safety. While the ALARA (As low as reasonably achievable) applies with any radioactive source, x-ray scanners seem to be a necessary evil to stem the tide of terrorism.
Health or Safety
British Columbians may have to choose a roll of the dice, is a terrorist bomb onboard a plane more likely to happen versus the remote chance of getting skin cancer from the x-ray full body scanner? The study is still in its infancy whether or not these low levels of x-ray will cause long term health effects.
While the once a year air passenger may have less chance of being faced with both, a frequent flyer chance encounter is more likely. Air travel has its radiation risks, even without the full body scanners emitting x-rays.
The earth emits everyday natural ionizing radiation from Alpha, Beta and Gamma sources. The ionizing radiation the public is exposed everyday from walking the streets of Vancouver increases with altitude and time once a person is in the air.
It is said in the Oxford Journal of Medicine that the health risk to the human body each time one travels by aircraft on a domestic flight will expose the human body to an equivalent of smoking a pack of cigarettes.
Terrorism is here to stay
The preparations for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics were an eye opener for British Columbians when it was announced 1 billion dollars would be needed for security. Everything from bomb sniffing dogs in the transit lines, closed circuit cameras on street corner to Vancouver airport installing full body scanners
The world of terrorism previously thought by many Canadians that terrorist activities only happen in far flung reaches of the world all changed on 9-11. Terrorism is home to stay, our home, though not the acts, but the preventative measures we have all witnessed in our daily lives. Though terrorist bombs have not reached Canada, complacency was something our US neighbours shared with us prior to 9-11.
British Columbians' pre 9-11 and post 9-11 have witnessed terrorism first hand, one only need take to any British Columbia, Washington state border crossing and 2 hour+ long lineups are the norm to see firsthand how terrorism has affected us directly.
Pre 9-11 border lineups were short and sweet in both directions with a friendly hello and on your way. Today, all vehicles are met by suspicion by border guards as prospective terrorists, including drug smugglers. Racial profiling was less known pre 9-11 as well, now anyone of Middle Eastern looks is given more scrutiny than most Canadians.
One religious faction states full body scanners may violate the religious mores of some cultures leading many to feel public safety is paramount regardless.
Israel who experiences its share of terrorist attacks as a daily occurrence has been rumoured to be developing a less harmful 15 second full body scanner. The body scanner is said to be a chamber made of explosion proof ballistic material in which a passenger enters, the door closes and low level emf/elf /radio waves are emitted inside the chamber. If a passenger is carrying an explosive device of any kind, it will detonate inside the chamber, with the person carrying it.
Perhaps an answer to stem the tide of terrorism when air-safety is a growing concern.
A concern I am sure the passengers on those ill fated flights on 9-11 wouldn't complain one bit about x-ray scanners or would their surviving family members.
It seems many complain about human rights and big brother, until theirs or a deceased family members are violated by a terrorist act and then they whine and complain that the government didn't do enough to protect them.
Welcome to the West.