Controversial Full Body Scanners Hit JFK

Passengers Express Serious Concerns About Radiation

NEW YORK (CBS 2/ 1010 WINS/ WCBS 880) — Body scanners are finally here.

The new cutting edge body scanning technology was deployed for the first time Friday in the New York area.

Passengers at John F. Kennedy Airport got up close and personal with the advanced imaging technology.

But as CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reports, some question the safety and the health risks.

LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reports
LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Kathleen Maloney reports

Is X-ray becoming x-rated at Kennedy Airport?

The new passenger body scanning machines are raising some privacy concerns. X-rays see through clothes, visible in a naked outline — front and back — to security agents in isolated rooms.

“It looks more like a chalk etching than it does an actual photograph,” said Lee Kair of TSA operations. “You can see on the left hand side of body, looks like a visual anomaly — actually a cell phone.”

“The ever evolving threat and therefore the ever evolving techniques we must use to keep aviation safe,” said Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

Napolitano arrived from Washington touting the safety and necessity of the new high-tech systems being slowly installed nationwide in all 450 commercial airports.

Passenger Denise Danz said she’s backing the scanner because they give her “peace of mind.”

The images are to be deleted shortly after a passenger passes through. The scanning will take about 20 seconds.

“If it does elongate the lines anymore than they are … they are already inflated as it is,” passenger Justin South said.

Passengers will be selected randomly to go through the body scanners. Those who refuse will get a pat-down.

But there is criticism. Can the machines be defeated by a terrorist hiding explosives internally? And what about the health risks?

“I’d prefer not to have that much radiation exposure I think,” passenger Bob Ligon said.

“I don’t like the radiation exposure either,” added Claudia Delman.

The scanners use either “millimeter wave technology” — radio waves –or — “backscatter machines” that use small doses of X-ray radiation. The Food & Drug Administration said it tested both and found safe, barely miniscule levels.

Some argue repeated low-dose exposure to radiation at airport checkpoints is a cumulative risk and safety has not yet been adequately demonstrated by impartial research.

More from Jennifer McLogan
  • Joanna

    It’s irresponsible for anyone to claim that these full body scanners don’t cause cancer, because they’re too new for anyone to really know.
    More doctors are voicing their concern that skin cancer, breast cancer and testicular cancer might occur from these scanners.  And they may affect your eyes!!!
    The beam from the scanners seems to go the mid-section first and that area is particularly sensitive to radiation.
    Don’t just submit to these radiation scanners without studying this issue for your own safety. 

  • Kara

    It is irresponsible for anyone to say these body scanners are safe.

    Many respected doctors are worried about them.

    Read this:

  • S. E. Wells

    Nobody’s asking themselves whether they want some jerk in a closed room looking at and possibly taking pictures of their young son or daughter’s naked body with his iPhone, and sending it around to his buddies at the bar on Friday. What kind of people do you think are going to want that job, huh??

    Those of you ok with the scanners aren’t really thinking about whether you want your and your families’ reproductive organs damaged. There is a real possibility of birth defects, leukemia and other diseases caused by these things; it’s why they limit the number of X-rays you can get from the doctor and dentist, why they use the lead shielding, why the X-ray technician goes and stands behind a wall.

    Furthermore if you think TSA aren’t going to want to save these images in case they find anything that looks dangerous, you’re kidding yourself.

    I just do not believe that this is making us safer. The Israelis know how to do airport screening, why aren’t we doing it that way? Because it doesn’t make for good security theater and because it’s toooo haarrrrrddd, waaahhh!!!

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  • Dr C

    This is a damn police state and a complete inavasion of our privacy!!!!!!!!!

  • Mike Hanley has more info on radiation and cancer risk including an online calculator that lets you calculate radiation dose and estimate cancer risk from CT scans, x-rays and procedures. It also has info on airpoirt scanners.

  • R.C. Cooper

    Trust us; we’re the government.

  • bill

    Why is this even necessary? If you think they can’t save the images I have a bridge to sell you. They say they’re safe? Well the air was safe to breathe in Manhattan on 9/11/2001 also.

  • Deborah A Pagano

    Really? Just today they were introduced to JFK? My sister and myself walked through that scanner last Friday , Octobeer 15th when we were on our way to Tampa via JFK on Jet Blue. We were NOT given a choice of a “pat down” and had no idea we were being seen naked….I may file a law suit….Disgusting….

  • NoNewTaxes

    Clearly a violation of rights beyond any shadow of a doubt. So I ask all of you, would it be ok if you were taken in another room and strip searched? So the fact that this is a virtual strip search makes it different somehow? That means I can leave a camera in a womans bathroom because I’m not really there looking at the time? That’s a virtual peak too! America has lost it’s spine and has stopped fighting for its rights and therefore deserves to lose them one-by-one. You have to earn freedom. Osama Bin Laden has won afterall.

  • Nick

    “Mr. MRS” / “CSI”, science is not exactly your strong suit is it?

    I was on the fence with this issue. But if dum dums like you are all gung ho for it, it has got to be bad.

  • Mr. MRS

    Which is more offensive: invisible light waves touching me, or strange people touching me? I will take the light waves any day of the week.

  • brian

    jesus christ heather…..the only privacy we have is in our homes now…its not gonna get any much as we liked to fight it.

  • Heather

    @ CSI. It’s not that people necessarily feel ashamed at their body, they just don’t want strangers looking at them naked. what’s so hard to understand about that? I think I have an attractive body and I don’t want any TSA staff being able to see me naked. Im very picky about who gets to see my breasts and vagina, if you don’t mind.

  • Roy

    way too invasive for me, I’ll opt for the pat down anytime………

  • DanTe

    Radiation? What’s that? Don’t worry about. It don’t use radiation, it uses magic.

    Twits like CSI will always give away their freedoms for the temporary illusion of security (to paraphrase Benjamin Franklin).

  • CSI

    Are people so self conscious about their bodies that they have to make a big deal about this. It will get you through faster. Everyone is always complaining about the line at the airport. This will cut it down. Plus what will you prefer. Someone feeling up on you or just a simple x-ray. Plus after doing millions of these. you think security guards are going to care what your shape is. They obviously cant see your skin just an outline.

    • Freethinker

      It takes 3-4 times longer to go through a naked body scanner than a metal detector. So this is not saving anyone’s time at all. Though please go ahead and line up like the little sheeple that you are…

    • Canceraware

      What about the increased risk of Cancer??

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