Are you radioactive?

By Joseph Normandin
Posted by John McHale

Are you radioactive ? This is a question no one is asking you yet at airport security lines or at the federal building checkpoint, but it may come some day.

It also may surprise you to find out that you are glowing more than the smile on your face may say.

If someone undergoes radiation drug treatment such as thallium stress testing -- when the patient reaches his or her maximum level of exercise, a small amount of a radioactive substance called thallium is injected into the bloodstream -- they may be radioactive for as much as four weeks, thus setting off potential radiation detectors, says Bob Durstenfeld, director of PR and investor relations at RAE Systems in San Jose, Calif.

Durstenfeld told me this during a chat for an upcoming feature in Military & Aerospace Electronics on sensors for perimeter security .

He says the U.S. has no procedures in place for how to approach someone who sets off a radiation scanner.

Durstenfeld says his company has suggested a simple procedure -- just approach the citizen in question, tell them they have been found radioactive, and then ask if they would they mind being scanned.

Would you mind being scanned?

It's an important question. How far are we willing to let technology intrude upon our personal space to protect us from terrorism?

Knowing the havoc that a dirty bomb can cause makes a radiation scan seem a bit harmless ? but Americans like their privacy.

Just something to think about.

Easily post a comment below using your Linkedin, Twitter, Google or Facebook account.

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The Mil & Aero Bloggers

John Keller is editor-in-chief of Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine, which provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronic and optoelectronic technologies in military, space, and commercial aviation applications. A member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since the magazine's founding in 1989, Mr. Keller took over as chief editor in 1995.

Ernesto Burden is the publisher of PennWell’s Aerospace & Defense Media Group, including Military & Aerospace Electronics, Avionics Intelligence and Avionics Europe.  He’s a father of four, a runner, and an avid digital media enthusiast with a deep background in the intersection of media publishing, digital technology, and social media. He can be reached at ernestob@pennwell.com and on Twitter @aero_ernesto.

Courtney E. Howard, as executive editor, enjoys writing about all things electronics and avionics in PennWell’s burgeoning Aerospace and Defense Group, which encompasses Military & Aerospace Electronics, Avionics Intelligence, the Avionics Europe conference, and much more. She’s also a self-proclaimed social-media maven, mil-aero nerd, and avid avionics geek. Connect with Courtney at Courtney@Pennwell.com, @coho on Twitter, and on LinkedIn.

Mil & Aero Magazine

December 2013
Volume 24, Issue 12
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