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  • magnetics commented on the blog post TSA Gate Grope Demonstration Backfires on Capitol Hill

    2010-11-24 01:49:17View | Delete

    Beg to differ, but you are simply mistaken. X-rays are far more energetic visible light. Millimeter waves (on the other hand) are somewhere above RF and below visible light in energy — and there are some scanners that use millimeter waves. What you have said is in fact false for X-rays but true of millimeter waves, so maybe it’s just some simple confusion in the heat of typing.

    I’m not blowing smoke here. X-rays, microwaves, RF, have all been part of my job during a scientific/engineering career spanning almost 40 years. I started out with lead aprons and radiation badges — the whole bit. Now I do calculations of RF penetration into objects which model a human head.

    Low energy X-rays are dangerous exactly because they don’t penetrate beyond the skin, so the dosage is concentrated there. X-rays are ionizing radiation — that is, they create free radicals (i.e. they bounce electrons out of molecules.) Free radicals are highly reactive and dangerous to the cells, and can be mutagenic and, in consequence, carcinogenic. Millimeter waves are not ionizing radiation — far from it– and probably no more dangerous than your microwave oven — which can cook you, but will not generate free radicals.