Porno Scanners Are Health Hazards? Hoodathunkitt?

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Yes, I know that LRC readers will be shocked, SHOCKED to read the following: Ever since the original Porno Scanners were shown to “experts” in 1998, there have been concerns about the X-rays causing cancer.

Oh, but it gets better:

One after another, the experts convened by the Food and Drug Administration raised questions about the machine because it violated a longstanding principle in radiation safety — that humans shouldn’t be X-rayed unless there is a medical benefit.

So, how did our federal masters manage to force air travelers to be exposed to such a dangerous machine?

It turns out that “no medical benefit” put it out of range of the FDA:

Because of a regulatory Catch-22, the airport X-ray scanners have escaped the oversight required for X-ray machines used in doctors’ offices and hospitals. The reason is that the scanners do not have a medical purpose, so the FDA cannot subject them to the rigorous evaluation it applies to medical devices.

And to see Crony Capitalism (or Crapitalism) at work here, read on:

Still, the FDA has limited authority to oversee some non-medical products and can set mandatory safety regulations. But the agency let the scanners fall under voluntary standards set by a nonprofit group heavily influenced by industry.

As for the TSA, it skipped a public comment period required before deploying the scanners. Then, in defending them, it relied on a small body of unpublished research to insist the machines were safe, and ignored contrary opinions from U.S. and European authorities that recommended precautions, especially for pregnant women. Finally, the manufacturer, Rapiscan Systems, unleashed an intense and sophisticated lobbying campaign, ultimately winning large contracts.

And, if one wishes to raise one’s blood pressure, the article continues:

Only a decade ago, many states prohibited X-raying a person for anything other than a medical exam. Even after 9/11, such non-medical X-raying remains taboo in most of the industrialized world. In July, the European Parliament passed a resolution that security “scanners using ionizing radiation should be prohibited” because of health risks. Although the United Kingdom uses the X-ray machine for limited purposes, such as when passengers trigger the metal detector, most developed countries have decided to forgo body scanners altogether or use only the millimeter-wave machines.

By the way, the Left is perennially outraged whenever private firms do things that are claimed to be health hazards, but here we see the government and private industry tag-teaming to expose people to danger. And what does the Left-Liberal Media do? Oh, from the Nation to the New York Times, they attack anyone who even complains about these contraptions. So much for their concern about our health.

3:41 pm on November 1, 2011
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