What You Should Know About Airport Full Body Screenings

Pregnant and Single? This can’t be! The headlines have been booming as Eva Mendes and Ryan Gosling make various apperances without the other. Maybe their schedueles are organized to spend quality time with one another later on. Whatever it may be, Actress Eva Mendes replies to the rumors circulating through the media about her being pregnant by current boyfriend Ryan Gosling and how they’re no longer together.

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On Wednesday, February 12th, 2013 Mendes guest starred on The Ellen Show to discuss these matters. Her response was simple and to the point, joking about how it gave people a reason to assume she was expecting. Mendes says: “It all started because I didn’t want to go through the scanners at the airport. You know, those X-ray scanners, which are really creepy. They basically see you naked, right? And not only that, but there’s a radiation aspect to it, so I always opt out.”

Wait, say whaaaat? Who knew that the scanners at the airport could see you naked? There’s an option for people to ‘opt out’ of walking through them? Why are we walking through radiation? I had to look into this. No one knows this option is avaialble, which is a problem. Oh and by the way, Mendes and Gosling are still together, no worries.

Apparently, if you’re traveling by air and you don’t want to walk through the scanners to be checked, you can tell an employee at the airport “I opt out.” Doing so allows them to give you an enhanced pat down which may feel a little uncomfortable do to their palms feeling for any weapons and/or safety hazards. What the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) does not tell us is that the use of the Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) is a whole virtual body strip search. These scanners are efficient enough to see through your clothing and verify with your nude images if you are a male or  if you are a female. Currently 45 airports are using these scanners and since 2010, the Transportation Security Administration has been issuing the equipment to perform the search. I’ve personally never cared to walk through the scanner because I know the importance of safety precautions and ensuring that no terriorist attacks occur. To know that I have been scanned and seen naked is mind blowing.

The radiation used in the scanner is strong enough to pass through your clothing and it allows the virtual image to be seen. The fact that radiation is being used is a health and safety conflict within itself. When someone is exposed to radiation, regardless of the amount of time, it affects the body. It;s important to know that there are different kinds of radiation and they all pose completely different degrees and kinds of hazards. Depending on what scanner you walk through you could be exposed to ionizing radiation which is really harmful to the body. This explains why those who spotted Mendes in the airport assumed she was expecting. There are two kinds of scans and you can see the difference in the images below.

1. Backscatter X-Ray (extremely detailed and hazards are noticeable)

2. Millimeter Wave (detailed to an extent and images are challenging to see)

Now that you know about these whole body virtual scanners, understand that it is your right to be informed. I’m still in shock that many of us who travel regularly are unaware of the images being seen by employees working for the TSA. Going through the scanning device is not required in any way by law. Say “I Opt Out” and protect your image from being seen. Remember that you will still have to undergo a pat down, which in my opinion is better than being scan and seen naked. Looking more into this problematic action, people are reporting that TSA wants a new generation of scanners to be distrubuted so that they can get rid of passengers having to undergo pat downs that cause controversy and disrobing before departure. Creating a new generation of scanners will increase the amount of passengers that can be checked per hour and establish a greater security service. I don’t how I feel about this program being applied, but I can see the benefits in boarding and departing on time. How do you feel about being scanned?