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Airport Scanners & Lead: Reason to Panic?

Linda Howe disagrees! - As mandated by the Transportation Security Administration in the wake of the failed attempt by would-be bomber Umar Farouk, many airports in the United States may soon have full body scanners, and people want to know if they are safe. Does their radiation pose a health risk to those who are scanned? While many critics of the program have argued such scanning can increase the risk of cancer, others, including the American College of Radiology (ACR), say this technology has little risk, so we can breathe easy (at least for the coming year). NOTE: In her current Dreamland report, Linda Howe disagrees with this assessment!

If you're sick of airport security, you can visit (or revisit) last year's Dreamland Festival on DVD.

Meanwhile, there's something that effects every American right now, whether we get on a plane or not. We are all exposed to low levels of the toxic metal lead, and nearly all children have measureable levels of it in their bodies. It's hard to avoid: In the environment, it's found in air, soil, dust and water. Current exposure sources include lead paint, folk remedies, glazed pottery, soil and drinking water in some urban areas with older housing. It may be one of the causes of the mysterious malady known as ADHD, or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, which is a combination of inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity that leads to accidental injuries, school failure, substance abuse, antisocial behavior and more.

It's also known that young adults who have higher blood lead levels are more likely to become depressed and to have panic disorders, even if they have exposure to lead levels generally considered safe. Researcher Susan Furth says, "Our findings were particularly striking because we saw slightly decreased kidney function in healthy children without conditions that could account for it, and this could spell more kidney trouble down the road as these children get older or if they acquire additional risk factors for kidney disease, such as high blood pressure and diabetes." Chronic kidney disease affects 26 million people in the United States.

Researcher Jeffrey Fadrowski says, "To our knowledge, this is the first study to show that very low levels of lead may impact kidney function in healthy children, which underscores the need to minimize sources of lead exposure."

To learn more, click here, here, here and here.

Art credit: Dreamstime.com

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