Seriously, Enough With the Radiation Already

Written while waiting at gate A5 for an Atlanta-Washington flight that says 5:15 for departure but officially does not have an estimated departure time due to mechanical problems (how comforting)….and wishing Hudson News sold mini bottles of wine:

So I’ve now “opted out” of the crazy full-body scanner something like a half a dozen times, most recently yesterday on my way down to Atlanta.

Maybe I’m just paranoid, but I just don’t trust those machines. I’ve read up on them, both the “backscatter” and “millimeter wave” versions, and TSA swears that the amounts of radiation they give off are no more dangerous than carrying a cell phone or – irony of ironies – flying on a plane.

So why don’t I trust them?

I’ve also read accounts of how different airports calibrate the machines differently, and the lack of radiation standards for them. It’s totally possible that I’m jumping to conclusions or only seeing the most frightening reports, but I’m willing to be a little gun-shy when it comes to radiation. I feel like I’ve had quite enough in the past few years, thankyouverymuch.

So why, then, do I second guess myself every time I’m standing to the side, waiting for a “female assist”?

It’s not because of the actual pat down, which is pretty innocuous, after all the hysteria about the process a few months back. But I don’t like feeling like a complainer, or a conspiracy theorist, which is the way I’ve been made to feel every time. Last week in Las Vegas, I was asked (in public) whether I was opting out because I’m pregnant (always a fun question to answer for me, particularly in a crowd) and then made to stand to the side for 10 minutes while they tracked down someone to frisk me. When I asked if someone could pull my purse, laptop and suitcase off the belt so they wouldn’t be stolen, I was told that I’d “opted out, so this was the best they could do.”

After all that, I was glad to have picked a security lane today that only had a metal detector. But it makes me wonder, should I keep sticking to my guns, even when it adds 10-15 minutes to my check in? Or maybe there should be a list I can get on of people who have already been exposed to massive amounts of radiation and can be spared from these machines, at least until they know for sure what’s coming out of them?

Probably too much to ask.


3 thoughts on “Seriously, Enough With the Radiation Already

  1. Its kinda sad that it never even occured to me that radiation is what makes those things work. How crazy it is to think about all the things, radiation and other, that we are exposed to that we never even think about what possible effects it can have on us. Its scary when you think about it.

  2. Michele – I’m with you don’t do it! I try to avoid it unless I’m running really late (that’s late for Bridget time…). I have also gotten harassed by the TSA who say it’s safe, YET now that I have been traveling with a baby they tell me not to go through the scanner.

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