TSA X-ray Backscatter Body Scanner Potentially Worse Than Medical Chest X-ray

Jason Bell, a UC Davis graduate student doing research on single molecule biophysics and the biochemistry of DNA repair, shares his views on the safety of TSA’s Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) at My Helical Tryst:

According to the TSA safety documents, AIT uses an 50 keV source that emits a broad spectra (see adjacent graph from here). Essentially, this means that the X-ray source used in the Rapiscan system is the same as those used for mammograms and some dental X-rays, and uses BOTH ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ X-rays. Its very disturbing that the TSA has been misleading on this point. Here is the real catch: the softer the X-ray, the more its absorbed by the body, and the higher the biologically relevant dose! This means, that this radiation is potentially worse than an a higher energy medical chest X-ray.