Chance of Dying From Airport Backscatter Radiation About the Same as Chance of Getting Killed by Terrorists

| 4 Comments

H/T Daring Fireball, from MSNBC Chance of Dying From Airport Backscatter Radiation About the Same as Chance of Getting Killed by Terrorists

"Peter Rez, a physics professor at Arizona State University in Tempe, did his own calculations and found the exposure to be about one-fiftieth to one-hundredth the amount of a standard chest X-ray. He calculated the risk of getting cancer from a single scan at about 1 in 30 million, "which puts it somewhat less than being killed by being struck by lightning in any one year," he told me.

While the risk of getting a fatal cancer from the screening is minuscule, it's about equal to the probability that an airplane will get blown up by a terrorist, he added. "So my view is there is not a case to be made for deploying them to prevent such a low probability event.""

4 Comments

Yeah, the kids are still not going through the x-ray machine.

But the risks to the airport staff operating the scanner, although even less per scan, may be higher given 20+ years of service.

Also the radiation risks need to be added to the radiation risks associated with flying (higher altitude gives increased exposure to cosmic rays). Again, this probably isn't an issue for most air passengers, but for air crew the total risk over a career may be more significant.

Thats an interesting way of putting it mr levinson but lets look at it this way... Would the probability of terrorists blowing up a plane not increase if this measure was not in place?

Since the scanner itself is part of a (cartoonish) effort to prevent terrorism, it seems like the small dosage nevertheless outweighs the benefit of catching terrorists.

David Levinson

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