A few weeks ago Delhi International Airport got its first body scanner (ref. Economic Times, 16 March 2016). Does India really have to copy yet another questionable invention from the West? I just hope that the use of body scanners remains voluntary, and doesn’t get shoved down travellers’ throats. And then I hope that its optional use gets communicated properly at the airport.
I say this because I had a rather appalling experience in Hamburg / Germany last year. And this is relevant for any air traveller anywhere in the world:
I was about to enter the security check at Hamburg Airport when I noticed that ALL checkpoints featured body scanners, and that all the passengers let themselves be scanned without hesitation and without questioning it. Like lemmings*. I asked Lufthansa staff for other options for security check and was told there were none. I was literally told “Da müssen Sie durch.” (German for: “You have to get through it.”). Then I went directly to one of the officers at the security gates. Upon asking for an alternative check I was informed that the body scanner is actually VOLUNTARY. The officer pointed at a poster, where it was written, in smallest type: “voluntarily”. Good. That the patting of my body would be extra rough and invasive was not mentioned though.
Promemoria: body scanners, full body scanners (some models are also called “naked” scanners) and terahertz cameras are electromagnetic radiation devices with which the body of a person and objects under the clothes are screened and displayed, so that, for example, weapons or explosives can be made visible.
Two questions were running through my mind thereafter during the flight:
1) Why is the communication so UNCLEAR? Blatantly unclear. The possibility to go through security check “without body scan” was neither openly presented – for example by offering at least one (!) gate WITHOUT body scanning device – nor clearly communicated, e.g. there wasn’t any distinct signage. In addition to that, on each side of the body scanners, to their left and right, was a red barrier tape which prevented people to walk by. Only upon my express request for a “normal security check” one red band was opened and I could walk around the body scanner. An unusually intrusive and harsh pat-down followed.
Some airports in the EU have a special permit and test body scan devices under strict conditions set up by the European Commission. To perform a scan, the CONSENT of the passenger concerned must be obtained. BUT: How can I agree – or reject it – if I’m not directly and UNEQUIVOCALLY informed about my choices? Indications about risks / possible side effects weren’t openly available either.
2.) How can it be that travellers were so UNCRITICAL? As far as health but also privacy and data storage are concerned, this is questionable technology, but none of the passengers objected at the security gates. Body scanners are between microwaves and infrared waves. Microwaves do something with food and water, right? Why should they have no effect on our bodies, when our total weight consists of 60-80% water? Studies have long shown that microwave food loses its nutritional value and collapses in its molecular structure (becomes also visually unappetizing). And infrared lamps are surely still known as devices to influence the human body, to treat pain and tension.
Some argue that the kind of radiation beaming out from those body scanners doesn’t make a difference and that the actual flight radiation is much more burdensome. I see this differently.
A scanner, which can turn something physical into something transparent, and which can make the obscured visible, must be powerful. And it is impossible that such a radiation device has no effect on the human energy field (and accordingly on the physical body).
How high is the radiation exposure?
In 2010 the Federal Police Headquarters in Germany said a widespread use of body scanners in Germany before the summer of 2011 was unlikely as a health risk due to radiation exposure could not be ruled out AND as this method had partly failed in discovering explosives. On 27 September 2010 a field test began at the airport Hamburg, in which “volunteers” tried out the new security devices. The tests initially ran for seven months but were extended, but since 2014 “mature” body scanners are used at Hamburg Airport…
Dr. David Brenner, head of Columbia University’s centre for radiological research, said although the danger posed to the individual passenger is ‘very low’, he is urging researchers to carry out more tests, also to look at the way it affects specific groups who could be more sensitive to radiation.
In the US, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has sought a court order to stop the use of the scanners, citing privacy and health risks and calling for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to conduct a public rule making to assess the safety and security issues. Marc Rotenberg, president of EPIC, wrote on CNN.com: “The courts give the government a great deal of latitude in airports, but it is not unbounded, and the current screening procedures — the digital X-ray cameras called “body scanners” and the genital-groping searches called “pat-downs” — have never been reviewed by a court. Is a court really prepared to say that in the absence of suspicion, these search procedures — which the law would otherwise treat as sexual battery — are “reasonable?” No other country in the world subjects its air travelers to the combination of screening procedures that Americans are being asked to endure.”
I’ve experienced the “American-style” treatment already in Germany. It remains to be seen how India will conduct security checks of people who reject body scanning.
In 2014 the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS, Bundesamt für Strahlenschutz) in Germany has documented, what is known about body scanners. The experts conclude: a health risk can not be excluded. For systems that do not work with X-rays though, the risk can be classified as so low, that the BfS has “no fundamental objections”. However, the experts point out that further research is needed in order to make a final assessment. An investigation by the Federal Office for Radiation Protection revealed in two types a radiation exposure that was between 0.0001 % and 0.001 % of the “permissible EU limit”. (Note: who has defined this limit, based on what?). Nevertheless, the officers see a danger of a greater radiation burden near the transmitting antennae and in case of repeated checks within minutes, and recommend further research.
People tend to use far too quickly technologies that they have not fully understood, observed and analysed. Although they think they have, they usually are not aware of all possible effects. They are not aware of our multidimensional body anatomy, hence do not consider information that exists beyond the 5 senses perception and current scientific equipment. But just because certain data has not been scientifically detected yet, does not mean it does not exist. Consequently subtle potential side effects are not taken into account and can cause risks.
To cut a long story short:
Insist on your freedom of choice at airport security checks. In German airports the body scanner is STILL VOLUNTARY. Please remember this at the appropriate time. And tell others!
6 TIPS FOR FREQUENT FLYERS
1.) Avoid full body scanners
For obvious reasons.
2.) Fly at night
Flying itself brings us closer to cosmic rays with less protection from the atmosphere. Factors are: the plane’s altitude, the plane’s proximity to the poles of the Earth, the length of the flight and the presence of solar flares. On a typical transcontinental flight at 30,000 feet the protective layer of atmosphere that surrounds the Earth and deflects cosmic rays isn’t as dense. The Earth’s magnetic shielding is also weaker over the poles, which means that more radiation enters at high latitudes. And the sun sometimes lets loose with space weather, delivering 100 times more radiation than usual. The simplest solution is to fly at night or at least avoid flying from 8 am to 5 pm, with noon being the worst. If you fly at night you can reduce your radiation risk by 99% because nearly all of the radiation from the sun is being blocked by Earth.
3.) Take antioxidants before and during the flight:
Antioxidants protect from the free radical damage of radiation, so
Eat berries, nuts and leafy greens.
And chlorophyll-rich, detoxing foods like chlorella, kelp and spirulina.
Drink green tea and superfood Matcha.
Use healthy unsaturated fats like cold pressed olive oil etc.
4.) Shield yourself – not only when you are pregnant
While researchers are still arguing about the potential risks and health impacts of radiation, be proactive and protect yourself and your family from radiation. This is a no brainer especially if you want to conceive or are pregnant. Numerous studies have shown that radiation from laptops, cell phones, scanners, x-rays and flight travels impact cell growth, tissue and/or organ functions, DNA replication and brain cell function. There are companies out there that produce clothes, blankets and accessories that shield radiation effectively. For example:
5.) Take a detox bath after the flight
An epsom salt and baking soda bath will help detox radiation from your system. Take this bath as soon as you can after your flight, but do it when you can nap or sleep after because it is quite draining. Epsom salt dissolved in a hot bath is a widely applauded method of detox. It is also believed to combat the effects of radiation and EMFs. Dissolve the baking soda and epsom salts in a hot bath and soak for 20-30 minutes. Some literature suggests that you can also cover your lower abdomen with a bag of Epsom Salts during flights.
6.) Align with constructive thoughts and emotions
Don’t do fear and tension. Instead practice equanimity and drama immunity. Focus on the good things in your life and the energies you want to experience: creativity, abundance, aliveness, inspiration, awakening, vitality, joy, peace and kindness.
THE ELECTROMAGNETIC SPECTRUM
Terahertz waves and millimeter waves have a length of 0.03 to one millimeter. Terahertz radiation (also referred to as millimeter waves) is electromagnetic radiation in the boundaries of infrared light and microwave radiation.
Infrared is divided into three groups and the rule is: the shorter the wavelength, the deeper the radiation penetrates human skin.
Infrared A (IR-A): wavelength 780-1400 nm
Infrared B (IR-B): wavelength 1400-3000 nm
Infrared C (IR-C): wavelength of 3000 nm to 1 mm
Microwaves is a trivial name for the frequency range of electromagnetic waves from 1 to 300 GHz (wavelength of 300 mm to 1 mm). Microwaves are used in radar technology, in a microwave oven as well as in many industrial applications such as wireless communication systems (mobile, bluetooth, satellite radio, WLAN) or sensor systems (for example, radar or microwave resonator methods).
Ionising radiation: the effects of radiation are cumulative, which means that every time you walk through an airport scanner you’re adding to your dose. If you fly frequently or you’re exposed to other forms of radiation through CT scans, mammograms and other medical procedures, you could easily be on radiation overload.
– Bethesda MD. National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements
– Flying Boosts Radiation Dose: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/557340.stm
– Naish F. Roberts J. The Natural Way to Better Babies, Random House; 2000.
– Whelan EA. Cancer incidence in airline cabin crew: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14573708