Lousy reporting by LA Times on scanners

Hugo Martin is the Los Angeles Times “reporter” responsible for the pile of turds under the lie of a headline, “TSA scanners pose negligible risk to passengers, new test shows.”

Full-body scanners used for security screening at the nation’s airports do not expose passengers to dangerous levels of radiation, according to a new independent analysis of the security devices.

The study by the Marquette University College of Engineering concluded that radiation from so-called backscatter scanners passes beyond a passenger’s skin to reach 29 different organs — including the heart and brain. But the radiation levels are considerably lower than those of otherX-ray procedures such as mammograms, the study said.

The findings will be published in the next issue of Medical Physics, an international journal of medical physics research produced by the American Assn. of Physicists in Medicine.

The study, believed to be the first independent review of the scanners, is not likely to put to rest years of heated debate over the health risk of the machines operated by the Transportation Security Administration.

The TSA has submitted the scanners for testing by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and the U.S. Army Public Health Command. The tests concluded that the scanners posed no significant risk to passengers, but TSA critics have called for more independent studies.

The author of the Marquette study, assistant professor of biomedical engineering Taly Gilat Schmidt, did not test the actual machines. Instead, she based her conclusions on scanner radiation data released publicly by the TSA. She ran the numbers through simulation software that modeled how X-ray photons travel through a body.

Hi, we’re the government and you should believe everything we say — even though there’s proof that Janet Napolitano previously lied about the scannners being safe.

As we’ve reported repeatedly, the airport scanners have never been independently tested for safety. That’s why the European Union banned them. And neither Johns Hopkins nor NIST has ever signed off on them, despite the TSA’s repeated lies.

And the scientist quoted in the article, Taly Gilat-Schmidt, has herself said that she thinks there should be independent studies of the airport scanners and that she wouldn’t put her children through them.

Medical scanners are tested daily. Airport scanners, which are in constant use, all day, every day, maybe get looked at once a year. Maybe.

I think it’s possible we’ll see massive cancer claims from TSA workers against the government (and thus, us taxpayers) in coming years. The morons manning the porno-scanner in Detroit told me something along the lines of “Duh gubermint says they’re safe.”

(We’re the government, and we’re here to bend you over, and radioactively have you — and the hell with you if you want your 4th Amendment rights or a lead apron in the process.)

Bill Fisher from TSA News Blog gets it right in the comments to the LA Times article:

This is blatant TSA propaganda at its worst. A sample size of one data set is too small to be statistically significant and would not pass a middle school science class.

This is the same bogus test they tried to peddle in March, 2011 from Smith-Bindman and no one believed that one either. She was even criticized by members of her University and professional associations for falsifying the results.

Further, the tests by NIST and APL did not say the scanners were safe, they concluded that the scanners met engineering criteria set by the manufacturer.

In fact Dr. Michael Love at the Department of Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine doesn’t think the backscatter x-ray full body scanners are safe. He said “They [TSA] say the risk is minimal, but statistically someone is going to get skin cancer from these [backscatter] x-rays.”

A valid test will need to use real scanners needed to be randomly selected from operating scanners.

The fact that DHS/TSA made the data available to Marquette University confirms it is simply another attempt at a cover up in an effort to defy a Congressional mandate that the agency allow independent testing. The head of TSA agreed to testing six months ago and reneged. He should be held in contempt of Congress and jailed until a third party organization conducts test of operating scanners.