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Opponents of new airport x-ray "backscatter" screening devices are preparing for a National Opt Out Day tomorrow Wednesday, November 24, 2010. The day before Thanksgiving is typically the busiest travel day of the year.

Critics of the new security measures complain that the backscatter x-ray machines invade privacy by posting images of naked bodies and the radiation used may cause serious health risks including genetic disorders and cancer. Others, Like Michigan resident Tom Sawyer, complain of invasive personal searches for those who opt out of the new scanning devices.

Opponents of the high-tech security scanners want travelers to refuse to be screened using the backscatter machines and, instead, to opt for the manual pat down. A Phoenix Fox affiliate reported that Ernest Hancock helped to organize the event in Phoenix:

"I am more concerned about the abuses of my freedom form my very own government than from any terrorists," he says. "I think that they’re dangerous. And a lot of people have a personal abhorrence to being scanned naked…. I don’t think they’re effective in doing what they say they’re doing.

Some — including airline pilots — worry that the backscatter x-ray machines may pose serious health risks. The TSA just announced that pilots will no longer need to use the backscatter machines. These "virtual strip" machines use x-rays to see through passengers’ clothes and reveal their naked bodies. According to the Health Freedom Alliance, these x-rays may cause cell damage, genetic mutations or other problems while passing through the body. One study by the Center for Nonlinear Studies at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico found that nonlinear resonances in this kind of radiation could literally unzip DNA strands and cause significant problems with gene expression and DNA replication.

What will you do the next time you travel? Will you pass through the new x-ray machines or will you opt out for the pat down? In either event, you should allow yourself some additional time when traveling through the airport this holiday season.

[Other posts: Size of Package Joke After Full Body Scan Leads to Arrest]

(c) Copyright 2010 Brett A. Emison

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