Airport body scanner and pregnancy - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 122 Old 10-08-2010, 04:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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well, i'm going on a trip tomorrow and just thought of the body scanner at the airport. Waiting for a call back from my midwife but wanted to know if any of you know anything about this? Is it just like an x-ray, like should be avoided during pregnancy? I don't know what to expect from airport security, like if they will give me a hard time for not wanting to walk through the machine, or if they will understand and check me the old way.
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#2 of 122 Old 10-08-2010, 05:42 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mauraa629 View Post
well, i'm going on a trip tomorrow and just thought of the body scanner at the airport. Waiting for a call back from my midwife but wanted to know if any of you know anything about this? Is it just like an x-ray, like should be avoided during pregnancy? I don't know what to expect from airport security, like if they will give me a hard time for not wanting to walk through the machine, or if they will understand and check me the old way.
I think if you want to avoid it, you can opt to be patted down instead. It would make me wary, too, and I'm glad you reminded me because I have a flight coming up.

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#3 of 122 Old 10-08-2010, 05:50 PM
 
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Not all airports have them. Where are you flying out of? I know Austin and Detroit don't have them because I was just there like 2 months ago.

The machines that are x-ray based (not all are) use backscatter xray. I guess its different than a regular xray because it isn't meant to penetrate the skin. Even though they do use a form of xrays you are still going to get more harmful exposure from the sun while being 30,000 feet up in the plane. Its estimated that one scan equals about 2 minutes of flight time.
The machines that are not xray based use milimeter waves. Not something I know much about but supposedly less radiation than the typical cell phone gives off.

If you choose not to get scanned the alernative is a physical pat down. I had a 'random search' at Austin (yes TSA, that IS in fact a baby bump) and it only took like 10 seconds. Not really as big a deal as I thought it would be.

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#4 of 122 Old 10-08-2010, 05:53 PM
 
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Because the radiation from the scanner is no worse than the radiation from flying, I was not concerned about walking through one. But the TSA guy pulled me aside and had me skip it anyway (I was obviously pregnant). You can always opt for a pat-down if you're uncomfortable with it.

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#5 of 122 Old 10-08-2010, 07:04 PM
 
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I went through Ohare in June... all they had was the usual old metal detectors, no new body scanner yet.

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#6 of 122 Old 10-08-2010, 07:17 PM
 
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I went through an airport that had one of the new scanners at the beginning of 3rd tri. They won't give you a hard time if you opt out and go for the pat-down. Even if they do, you certainly don't owe them any kind of explanation. I think lots of people are opting out since it's such a new thing, plus there's the knowledge that some TSA employee somewhere would be basically looking at you naked.

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#7 of 122 Old 10-08-2010, 07:51 PM
 
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wow... good thing i caught this thread.. i don't know if any of the airporta i'll be in will have anything like this but good to remember.... i fly at the end of the month

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#8 of 122 Old 10-08-2010, 08:02 PM
 
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Buffalo airport (a pretty dinky little regional airport) has them. I agree that there isn't much risk, but you can opt out and go through the regular machine if they still have it there (it was still in BUF, and they directed me through that because my DD was in the ergo...another lady asked for that as well with no explanation or questions) or a pat-down.

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#9 of 122 Old 10-08-2010, 09:07 PM
 
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i was them here in DC when i flew last week, but the line had both types old and new, they sent folks thru both of them, so i just went thru the old style. i dont know if i have any opion on their safety, but i didnt feel like thinking about it so i made sure i got in the line for the old style

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#10 of 122 Old 10-08-2010, 10:38 PM
 
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I noticed I was in the security line with one of those newfangled machines and just walked over to the regular metal detector. No one said anything. I'm pretty sure if you're visibly pregnant they just assume you're opting out to be on the safe side.

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#11 of 122 Old 10-09-2010, 12:59 AM
 
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Aren't these machines totally new though? I can just picture a study a few years from now like "Airport scanners 30,000 times stronger than previously thought." No way would I walk through one of those while pregnant. Even not pregnant I don't think I would. Lots of things when they come out are "proven" to be safe that are later shown not to be. Like x-rays during pregnancy were recommended way back when - things like that make me try and think for myself.
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#12 of 122 Old 10-09-2010, 09:25 AM
 
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I just flew transatlantic this past week and none of the airports I was in had the new machines. The security person in Frankfurt pulled me aside so that I didn't have to walk through the even the old machines....none of the other airports (both Midway and Ohare and Indianapolis) gave me an option and I just went through them, but I am sure I probably could have asked for a pat down if I had wanted.

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#13 of 122 Old 10-09-2010, 01:41 PM
 
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I wouldn't do it, pregnant or not. I read a while back that many countries don't like kids under 16 go through them, so I'm not taking chances with a fetus.

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#14 of 122 Old 10-09-2010, 03:07 PM
 
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I flew this summer early in my second trimester and the airport was using the body scanner and didn't have the old metal detector. I opted out and no one minded at all. I just had to go through the whole pat down process. I definitely wouldn't walk through one while pregnant.
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#15 of 122 Old 10-09-2010, 03:32 PM
 
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I didn't realize they ever planned on using the whole body scanner for every person who went through security. How long does it take to scan and check each scan??

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#16 of 122 Old 10-09-2010, 03:46 PM
 
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I think maybe 5 seconds a person at most. Step in, raise your arms, get the okay (from the guy on the other side of the airport staring at the screen), and walk through.

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#17 of 122 Old 10-09-2010, 04:09 PM
 
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I just flew through: Frankfurt, Chicago O'Hare and Denver. None of those airports have the new scanners, just plain old metal detectors. I would opt out of the new ones just to be safe.

@ Teeg: What, they didn't let me skip the metal thing in FRA! Admitted though, I don't look very pregnant at all, especially since I was wearing a dress and the stewardesses were surprised when I said hey I'm 22 weeks! I should have worn something tight to show off the bump, ha, will do so in 2 weeks on the way to SFO...
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#18 of 122 Old 10-09-2010, 04:36 PM
 
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not too sure about the source but they do provide links to their articles to back the story up.

Sounds like in addition to possible negative problems with exposure to the scanners, human rights are being violated as well.

http://www.prisonplanet.com/big-sis-...-backlash.html

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#19 of 122 Old 11-14-2010, 06:27 AM
 
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So, are the old style machines considered safe to walk through while pregnant, then?


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#20 of 122 Old 11-14-2010, 09:03 AM
 
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Yes, the old metal detectors are considered safe. Though I have heard of pregnant women who were asked by TSA to not go through them. But I always have so far.

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#21 of 122 Old 11-14-2010, 10:47 AM
 
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I have a friend who is a radiation safety expert (his job is to examine places and equipment to make sure people don't get exposed to bad stuff) and he explained : "The scanners barely penetrate the dead layer of skin.  In this case the only exposure is to a single, rather radio-resistant organ: the skin.  Skin dose limits, by contrast, are 50,000mrem/yr.  Dose per scan is roughly .02mrem." and "The unborn are just fine.  They get to use your skin." I was weirded out by them at first, but after he explained to me how they work I'm indifferent.


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#22 of 122 Old 11-15-2010, 11:04 AM
 
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There is absolutely no way I would subject my unborn babe to completely untested technology like this.  People freak out about dopplers which have been used for decades and we know about the technology used.   There have been many many studies....

 

These scanners have not been studied.. we have no idea what they do.  It is a new type of radiation that humans have not be subjected to on large scale studies yet.  Im actually amazed more MDC mothers arent absolutely appauled by this. 

 

If you opt out they touch you palm up on your mons pubis and labia majora!!!!  Palm up.  Intimately, like only my husband should.  If you opt your children out, you teach them to let authority figures touch them in completely inappropriate and private places.  They SQUEEZE your breasts, lifting them, feeling under them.. with pressure.  When my husband opted out last week they reached UNDER the waistband of his boxers.  They moved his testicles to each side, groping them and feeling underneath them.  Ive heard of women who were made to remove their children's diapers because they were too bulky.

 

This is disgusting and unnessecary.  1 in 4 women have been victims of sexual assault.  1 in 5 women have been victims of molestation.  To be forced to allow strangers to grope our bodies or see our naked bodies on a screen is horrible.  I cannot tell you how triggering this is to me as a woman who has been a victim of both sexual assault and molestation.  I know I will sob the whole time those people touch me and if I hadnt of booked a trip 4 months ago before any of this was happening I never would fly and subject myself and my 2.5 year old daughter to this!  Now, if I cancel I literally lose almost 2 thousand dollars.. and I still havent decided if that is actually better then traumatizing my daughter and myself this way. 

 

What a way to start a vacation.

 

I really urge everyone to opt out of this.  I also beg you to write your senators, congressmen, mayors and news agencies.  This is too much and it needs to be stopped.

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#23 of 122 Old 11-15-2010, 11:32 AM
 
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have you seen this first hand? becasue i went thru a pat down just a few weeks ago and it was nothing like that AT ALL.

i agree that if that is indeed fact what they are doing it is wrong, but im just guessing here but that this is not what they are directed to do, if folks are going too far they need to be reported on the spot, if it is actually in writing to do this then i agree that needs to be changed, but untill i see in first person (and i fly a ton!) i am going to stay calm and assume something got out on wack in the story getting passed from person to person


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#24 of 122 Old 11-15-2010, 12:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ~Adorkable~ View Post

have you seen this first hand? becasue i went thru a pat down just a few weeks ago and it was nothing like that AT ALL.

i agree that if that is indeed fact what they are doing it is wrong, but im just guessing here but that this is not what they are directed to do, if folks are going too far they need to be reported on the spot, if it is actually in writing to do this then i agree that needs to be changed, but untill i see in first person (and i fly a ton!) i am going to stay calm and assume something got out on wack in the story getting passed from person to person

 

Well, my husband experienced it first hand on Nov 6th as I detailed above.  The enhanced pat downs changed after that whole yemen/ bomb thing happened.  I have a close friend who flew a couple days after from SEA to Vancouver that verified that yes they did feel her mons pubis with their palm and squeeze her breasts.  If you do a search you will find several persons first person accounts there are also videos.

 

http://www.thousandsstandingaround.org/

http://pncminnesota.wordpress.com/2010/11/08/rape-survivor-devasted-by-tsa-enhanced-pat-down/
http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local-beat/TSA-Pat-Down-Like-Sexual-Assault-Passenger-108147589.html

 

http://consumerist.com/2010/08/tsas-enhanced-pat-down-procedure-lets-their-fingers-do-the-searching.html  - note palms of their hands and fingers will now be used..

http://www.nbclosangeles.com/station/as-seen-on/Woman_claims_new_TSA_Security_Protocol_amounts_to_legalized_groping_Los_Angeles-106802483.html

http://bostonherald.com/business/general/view.bg?articleid=1276131

 

http://www.myfoxphilly.com/dpp/news/politics/local_politics/TSA_Screenings_New_Jersey_Legislation_111510

 

 

That was less then a few moments of a search. 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaChef View Post


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ~Adorkable~ View Post

have you seen this first hand? becasue i went thru a pat down just a few weeks ago and it was nothing like that AT ALL.

i agree that if that is indeed fact what they are doing it is wrong, but im just guessing here but that this is not what they are directed to do, if folks are going too far they need to be reported on the spot, if it is actually in writing to do this then i agree that needs to be changed, but untill i see in first person (and i fly a ton!) i am going to stay calm and assume something got out on wack in the story getting passed from person to person

 

Well, my husband experienced it first hand on Nov 6th as I detailed above.  The enhanced pat downs changed after that whole yemen/ bomb thing happened.  I have a close friend who flew a couple days after from SEA to Vancouver that verified that yes they did feel her mons pubis with their palm and squeeze her breasts.  If you do a search you will find several persons first person accounts there are also videos.
 

And they do this to CHILDREN as well???  There is no way I'd let someone touch my child in that way.
 


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#26 of 122 Old 11-15-2010, 12:26 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ILoveMyBabyBird View Post

I wouldn't do it, pregnant or not. I read a while back that many countries don't like kids under 16 go through them, so I'm not taking chances with a fetus.


I agree.  I read an article, and now I'll have to go find it, about backscatter radiation accumulating in the skin due to it not penetrating and diffusing through the body.  The article said there may be a risk for skin and breast cancers.  While that risk may be low, I feel like these machines are way too new for me or my kids to be a guinea pig.  Luckily I do not have plans to fly in the near future, but when I do even if I'm not pregnant I will opt for the pat down.  They can send me through the metal detector and pat me down, but I won't be going through the body scanner.


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#27 of 122 Old 11-15-2010, 12:34 PM
 
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Wow.  I had a pat-down in August (random security check) and it was nothing like that.  Are you sure that wasn't like a strip search?


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#28 of 122 Old 11-15-2010, 12:38 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Liora View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaChef View Post


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ~Adorkable~ View Post

have you seen this first hand? becasue i went thru a pat down just a few weeks ago and it was nothing like that AT ALL.

i agree that if that is indeed fact what they are doing it is wrong, but im just guessing here but that this is not what they are directed to do, if folks are going too far they need to be reported on the spot, if it is actually in writing to do this then i agree that needs to be changed, but untill i see in first person (and i fly a ton!) i am going to stay calm and assume something got out on wack in the story getting passed from person to person

 

Well, my husband experienced it first hand on Nov 6th as I detailed above.  The enhanced pat downs changed after that whole yemen/ bomb thing happened.  I have a close friend who flew a couple days after from SEA to Vancouver that verified that yes they did feel her mons pubis with their palm and squeeze her breasts.  If you do a search you will find several persons first person accounts there are also videos.
 

And they do this to CHILDREN as well???  There is no way I'd let someone touch my child in that way.
 


Liora,

I know!!!  bawling.gif  Im seriously beside myself about this.  My husband said he heard that as of this morning the head of the TSA said they would no longer be doing the advanced pat downs on children under 12.  I have to find the links to verify this.  I hope so.  I think any pat down is ridiculous, but the thought of someone intimately touching my child between her legs sends me into such a rage I think Id be escorted out of there in hand cuffs.  Im teaching my daughter to scream if anyone touches her inappropriately, we are focusing on this alot in the weeks before we fly, if we fly. Im planning on calling Hawaiian and asking for their refund policy in light of these new pat downs.  If I can get them to refund our tickets there is just no way in heck we are flying.

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#29 of 122 Old 11-15-2010, 12:40 PM
 
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Wow.  I had a pat-down in August (random security check) and it was nothing like that.  Are you sure that wasn't like a strip search?



No, it is the new enhanced pat downs.  Do searches folks and educate yourself.  Im not being a chicken little here.  This is real and it is coming to an airport near you if it hasnt already.

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#30 of 122 Old 11-15-2010, 12:40 PM
 
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Originally Posted by WifeofAnt View Post

Wow.  I had a pat-down in August (random security check) and it was nothing like that.  Are you sure that wasn't like a strip search?


The rules have changed since August.  I even flew in the beginning of October, and it was nothing like it is now.  This has just been implemented in the past couple of weeks.

 

Also, the head guy at TSA was on the Today show, and he is saying that children under the age of 12 are exempt from the pat-down.


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