Local mayor wants ban on airport body scanners
FORT LAUDERDALE-HOLLYWOOD INT'L AIRPORT, Fla. (WSVN) -- Broward County's mayor wants to get rid of certain airport security body scanners that may be a health risk at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport.
The advanced imaging technology machines used at security check points at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport uses radiation while scanning passengers.
The problem Mayor John Rodstrom has with these particular scanners is the potential health risk to South Florida flyers. "The Europeans have outlawed them. I don't think they do things lightly, and I want to know if our flying public is safe," said Rodstrom.
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is operated by the Broward County Commission. The commission cannot tell the Transportation and Safety Administration to remove the scanners, but Rodstrom and other Broward commissioners want to ask the TSA to stop using the scanners that emit radiation. "Whether they would listen to us remains to be seen," said Rodstrom. "But I think they have an obligation to demonstrate to us and to prove to us that these machines are safe for the traveling public."
TSA employees at Boston's Logan International Airport, which use the same scanners, are reporting that they have an inordinately high number of TSA screeners that now have cancer. These employees stand next to the scanners throughout their shifts.
The TSA released a statement regarding the question of health risks from the body scanners saying in part, "All results from independent scientific evaluations confirm that these machines are safe for all passengers."
Some passengers familiar with the body scanners do not have a problem with the body scanners. "As far as the radiation goes, I don't think it's that much of a liability as we're making it out to be," said airline passenger Tim Federowicz. "I think it's better for our security and our safety than to not have a check, which is essential for us being safe in airports."
"I kinda just trust the government and what they use. It doesn't phase me," said airline passenger Megan Sciarrino. "I don't think they would put something that's unsafe out there."
Passengers are allowed to refuse the body scanner and receive a pat-down or body search at airports instead, but passengers have complained about their recent experiences with the option. "I felt so violated," said Ruth Sherman, after she was singled out for having a colostomy bag.
Last month, an 84-year-old South Florida woman claims she was strip searched after being asked to be patted down instead of going through the body scanner. "They took me into a private room, pulled my pants down," said Lenore Zimmerman.
Tuesday, the Broward County Commission will vote whether or not to suggest that the TSA discontinue the use of the scanners.
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