Nudists say airport scans OK - so do radiologists

I wasn't going to write any more this week about the airport scanners because the topic really seems to, uh, get under the skin of some folks. But then this morning in my e-mail I had a press release from the American Association for Nude Recreation (who knew?) endorsing the use of full-body scanners at airports.

Calling the recommended scans "common sense," Erich Schuttauf, the executive director of the group said: "Polls regularly show that about one in five North Americans have skinny-dipped in mixed company already. So if travelers just think of the screen as a virtual skinny dip, something regarded as American as apple pie since before Norman Rockwell, everyone wins in the name of better air travel security."

A virtual skinny dip, huh? Never thought of that. It makes so much common sense. Another sensible group, the American College of Radiology, has also weighed in on the full-body scans and how they affect fliers' health. The ACR released a statement saying that a U.S. passenger flying cross-country is exposed to more radiation during the flight than from one of these scans.

There are two types of scanners used by TSA: backscatter, which uses low-energy x-rays and millimeter wave which uses low-level radio waves. The group says a traveler would have to undergo 100 backscatter scans a year to even reach a level considered negligible. "By these measurements, a traveler would require more than 1,000 scans in a year to reach the effective dose equal to one standard chest x-ray," the group said in a statement.

Does that make you feel better about taking a virtual skinny dip? Perhaps it should.

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