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I share your concerns about the safety of these scanners. But just to be clear on the risks of mammograms: The panel weighed all sorts of "harms," including those of unnecessary biopsy, overtreatment (including radiation for treating cancers that might never have become invasive), and severe anxiety. However, we don't have very good data on the extent to which mammograms may themselves cause cancers. So it's not true that the panel "decided that the radiation exposure from a yearly mammogram (a kind of x-ray) would kill more women in the 40-50 age bracket than early breast cancer detection would save." These scanners pose another risk, as well, which has been well described at the epidemiology blog, Effect Measure. Basically, if you want to catch 100% of the potential terrorists (or close to it), the scanner has to be highly sensitive. But high sensitivity leads to a high number of "false positives." Thus, it won't take long until TSA personnel start waving people through secondary screening, since the scanners will typically be crying wolf. I'm glad you're bringing some attention to these issues. Sungold is now following The Typepad Team
Jan 2, 2010