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The Obama Administration wants to X-RAY you and your car
at U.S. land borders with massive numbers of people
exposed to medically unnecessary and damaging X-radiation to
promote the national security state;  it also effects DHS employee
occupational radiation exposure.  

DHS Border Protection published a notice in the Federal Register today that is reprinted below the squiggle with a finding of no significant environmental impact.

Expect to see these developments for those transiting Michigan borders soon,
at newly constructed or reconstructed border crossings
in the Detroit area, unless someone brings litigation over this.

The draft notice also contemplated gamma radiation exposure as well.

The Obama Administration didn't want to release this before the
election....it is like more of TSA's security theatre combining a choice between
X-radiation scanning exposure and TSA's 'groin check' and 'breast groping'
--- the de facto federal TSA sexual assault procedures for X-ray scanning objectors.

When I last looked at this, the DHS border X-radiation exposure was not
'backscatter' type exposure but through and through exposure with
an X-radiation source on one side of your car and an image detector
on the other side.....  i.e.   the X-radiation used is intense enough to
penetrate through your entire car (and you and your children).
 

Federal Register Volume 77, Number 219 (Tuesday, November 13, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 67659-67660]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-27555]

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Notice of Availability of the Final Programmatic Environmental
Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for the Deployment and
Operation of Low Energy X-Ray Inspection Systems at U.S. Customs and
Border Protection Operational Areas

AGENCY: U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland
Security.

ACTION: Notice of availability.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announces that a
final Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) and a Finding of No
Significant Impact (FONSI) for Low Energy X-Ray Inspection Systems
(LEXRIS) at CBP operational areas have been prepared and are available
for public review. The final PEA documents a review of the potential
environmental impacts from the deployment and use of LEXRIS at CBP
operational areas throughout the country. Based on the final PEA, a
determination was made that the proposed action will not significantly
affect the quality of the human environment and a FONSI was issued. As
a result, a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) is not
required.

DATES: The Final PEA and FONSI are available for review through
December 13, 2012.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the final PEA AND FONSI may be obtained by
accessing the following Internet addresses: http://ecso.swf.usace.army.mil/... or www.dhs.gov/nepa, or
by sending a request to David Duncan of CBP by telephone (202-344-
1527), by fax (202-344-1418), by email to david.c.duncan@dhs.gov or by
writing to: CBP, Attn: David Duncan, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW.,
Suite 1575, Washington, DC 20229.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Antoinette DiVittorio, Environmental
and Energy Division, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, telephone
(202) 344-3131.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

LEXRIS

    LEXRIS is a low energy x-ray inspection system. The purpose of
deploying and operating LEXRIS is to non-intrusively scan vehicles for
the presence of contraband, including weapons of mass destruction,

[[Page 67660]]

explosives, and illicit drugs. The use of LEXRIS at, for example U.S.
ports of entry, directly supports CBP's mission of securing the U.S.
borders and homeland from terrorists and other threats while
simultaneously facilitating legitimate trade and travel by assisting
CBP personnel in preventing contraband, including illegal drugs and
terrorist weapons, from entering the United States.
    Two different LEXRIS systems are available. One system is mobile,
mounted on a truck or van type platform and will be used at CBP
operational areas. The system can be driven alongside a parked vehicle
in a controlled area and will scan the vehicle as it drives by. Before
the vehicle is scanned, the driver and passenger(s) will exit the
vehicle and be escorted outside the controlled area. The other system
is a stationary, portal configuration that will be installed along an
existing traffic lane. Vehicles will be scanned as they are driven
through the portal. Occupants of the vehicle will have the option of
remaining in the vehicle while the driver drives it through the portal
or exiting the vehicle and having CBP personnel drive it through the
portal. Examples of CBP operational areas include, but are not limited
to, ports of entry, CBP checkpoints, and locations of events designated
as national special security events.
    LEXRIS is needed to fill a unique capability to detect objects that
are not effectively visualized by other non-intrusive inspection
technologies currently used by CBP. LEXRIS gives a clear image of
objects in the vehicle, including objects that may be hidden in
fenders, tires, trunks, gas tanks, and under hoods. LEXRIS provides CBP
personnel with information about what may be encountered during a
manual search and, in some cases, will eliminate the need for CBP
personnel to manually enter vehicles to search for contraband. As a
result, LEXRIS will increase the safety of CBP personnel.

The NEPA Process

    The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C.
4321 et seq.) requires an agency to evaluate the environmental
implications of any proposed major action that could significantly
affect the quality of the human environment. Generally, to meet the
NEPA requirements, an agency prepares an Environmental Assessment (EA)
to determine whether a more thorough analysis of the environmental
implications is necessary. If such an analysis is necessary, the agency
will produce an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). If additional
analysis is not necessary, the agency will issue a Finding of No
Significant Impact (FONSI). A Programmatic Environmental Assessment
(PEA) is an EA that evaluates a major action on a broad, programmatic
basis. Environmental evaluations at specific project locations are
conducted later.

LEXRIS PEA

    On January 18, 2012, CBP published a notice in the Federal Register
(77 FR 2562) entitled: ``Notice of Availability of the Draft
Programmatic Environmental Assessment for the Deployment and Operation
of Low Energy X-Ray Inspection Systems at U.S. Customs and Border
Protection Operational Areas.'' This notice announced that a draft PEA
concerning LEXRIS had been prepared and made available to the public in
accordance with NEPA, the Council on Environmental Quality Regulations
for Implementing the NEPA (40 CFR parts 1500-1508), and Department of
Homeland Security Directive 023-01, Environmental Planning Program
(April 19, 2006). The draft PEA addressed the potential effects on
resources present at CBP operational areas, including: Climate, soils,
water quality, air quality, vegetation, wildlife, noise,
infrastructure, aesthetics, and radiological health and safety. The
notice informed the public on how to obtain a copy of the draft PEA and
requested comments from the public on the draft PEA. The draft was made
available for a 30 day public comment period, beginning on the date of
the publication of the notice. The comment period ended on February 17,
2012. Two comments were received.
    CBP has now prepared the final PEA addressing the potential effects
on resources for the deployment and operation of LEXRIS at CBP
operational areas. The comments received on the draft PEA have been
reviewed and are addressed in the final PEA. On the basis of the final
PEA, CBP determined that the deployment and operation of LEXRIS will
have no significant impact on human health or the environment and that
preparation of a PEIS is not necessary. A FONSI was issued on April 10,
2012. This document announces that the final PEA and the FONSI for
LEXRIS can be reviewed by the public. The environmental implications
for individual CBP operational areas will be considered as LEXRIS is
deployed.

    Dated: October 25, 2012.
Karl H. Calvo,
Executive Director, Facilities Management and Engineering, Office of
Administration, U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
[FR Doc. 2012-27555 Filed 11-9-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 9111-14-P

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Comment Preferences

  •  DHS is a continuing disgrace. (6+ / 0-)

    I opt for groping going through airports. Gratuitous exposure to radiation is stupid.  There is no level at which there is no effect. Exposure should be for medical purposes, only.

    The state races are more consequential for our daily lives than the presidential race. GOTV

    by 2laneIA on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 10:40:21 AM PST

  •  This sounds horrible but is it really? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fleet, Lujane

    What do they mean by "low-energy"? Because if it is truly low-energy x-rays they won't even pass thru your epidermal layer. The problem with a term like 'x-ray' and 'low-energy' is they don't convey enough information to be useful but they sure sound scary.

    To me progress is not so much a goal as it is a process and I believe it will not follow a straight course. Remember, the drops of water that form the river may not take the shortest path but they will still reach the ocean.

    by ontheleftcoast on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 10:42:05 AM PST

      •  But that begs the question (0+ / 0-)

        What are the limits of the device? Is it designed to create 1Mv and is dialed down or is it only capable of 10Kv no matter how poorly operated? We really don't know from the description given. Sadly we should probably expect the worst from industry. But that doesn't mean all x-rays are harmful.

        To me progress is not so much a goal as it is a process and I believe it will not follow a straight course. Remember, the drops of water that form the river may not take the shortest path but they will still reach the ocean.

        by ontheleftcoast on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 10:53:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No dose threshold for X Radiation effects. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lujane, debedb

          There isn't any X radiation dose threshold that ensures there is no health damage for exposures below such a 'threshold'

          If you take a population of people and expose them all to a non-zero x radiation dose, there will be an elevated risk of cancer in that population.

          •  But it could fall below the "risk v. reward" (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Lujane

            threshold. Face it, we expose ourselves to all sorts of EM radiation every day. Even x-rays. We let doctors zap us with them because the benefits outweigh the risks. I don't personally think the proposed security benefits outweigh the risk but an argument could be made for it. But I don't want the choice to be between fear-mongering of terrorists v. fear-mongering of x-rays.

            To me progress is not so much a goal as it is a process and I believe it will not follow a straight course. Remember, the drops of water that form the river may not take the shortest path but they will still reach the ocean.

            by ontheleftcoast on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 11:23:25 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  This is not like most medical xradiation exposures (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Lujane

              In most medical x radiation exposures, there is a very strictly controlled time frame of exposure with an intermittent generation of xrays.   That is not how these X-ray imaging processes planned for border deployment will work.   They will be on and generating Xray emissions constantly at cars drive through.   Your exposure will depend in part on how long you are stuck inside the device.

            •  X-rays that can penetrate (5+ / 0-)

              the metal of a motor vehicle body is not "low-level." Unless they mean "low level" gamma. Metal is pretty good gamma shielding too, so I can't see how that would work either. Then again, I don't see how a linear beam through the windows can resolve anything at seat-to-floor level. Do any of your sources have a link to the specs?

              Meanwhile, both X-ray and gamma are ionizing radiation. There is no 'safe' level, any exposure ionizes atoms in your body on its way through. No one can know whether or not any given destabilized atom in any molecule in any cell of a person's body will end up triggering a cascade of effects that develops into cancer down the line, but there are molecules in your cells which if damaged, have that tendency. Like DNA and RNA. There is only the risk-benefit ratio, and that's not something the targets of this exposure get to weigh in on. DHS gets to decide THEY are willing to waive the risk to YOU, in case you are a smuggler/terrorist. Which isn't very probable either.

              Word: don't apply for the job of the grunt who gets to drive the vehicles through the portal if the driver and passengers decline the exposure.

              •  Sorry...no additional links now (4+ / 0-)

                I realize the diary is very limited and I was just trying to get news of this out to the public....I am planning to do a more detailed and descriptive diary in the furure on this, including the real reason for these X radiation imagers....someone is going to make a lot of money manufacturing them.

                •  This is the most important thing (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  LakeSuperior, debedb, Joieau
                  ....someone is going to make a lot of money manufacturing them.
                  Because that is all that matters in the end. Nobody will be "safer" because of these scanners. And even at best they're still not perfectly safe. But someone is expecting to make huge piles of money on this boondoggle and that's all the folks in Congress seem to care about. And unfortunately too many of them have (D) after there names.

                  To me progress is not so much a goal as it is a process and I believe it will not follow a straight course. Remember, the drops of water that form the river may not take the shortest path but they will still reach the ocean.

                  by ontheleftcoast on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 04:43:16 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  exactly (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Lujane, LakeSuperior, debedb, Joieau

                Thank you for setting forth the correct explanation.  As you inidcated, any individual x-ray photon has enough energy to ionize an atom and therefore break a chemical bond, say, in your DNA. However, the total energy involved can be reduced by using fewer of these photons, which no doubt is their excuse for calling it "low level". Be that as it may, no matter how you cut it, x-ray radiation is ionizing, and is unsafe at any level.

                •  "Enough" X-ray or gamma photons (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  wilderness voice

                  to pass through two metal-clad sides of a vehicle and resolve what's inside in enough detail to determine what it is is not going to be classified as "few" any more than it can be classified "low level." It remains to be determined whether this is really low level (and if so it cannot penetrate metal or resolve what's inside the vehicle) or it's just another scam being perpetrated by the security industry's flim-flam gang.

                  Which, believe me, is entirely possible.

            •  yes (0+ / 0-)

              I, for one, trust my doctor far more than DHS -- from the top whose Secretaries go on to peddle airport scanners to the bottom where it looks like people who can't get hired anywhere else go.

        •  What about (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lujane, debedb

          those of us who have already been exposed to more radiation than is safe?  Should we be exposed to more for mere suspicion that something might be happening?

          There are more humane ways.

          I am not religious, and did NOT say I enjoyed sects.

          by trumpeter on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 02:40:38 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Planned land border X-ray imaging is not a... (3+ / 0-)

      ..X-ray backscatter system, like used by TSA.   It is through and through radiation exposure.....Xray source on one side of your car and an xray image detector on the other side of the car.   The X radiation intensity must be sufficient to penetrate all the way through your vehicle.

      •  That doesn't sound feasible (4+ / 0-)

        To penetrate multiple levels of sheet metal you'd need a lot more than 100Kv (that's the limit of 'low-energy') used in airport security luggage scanners. Not the TSA scanners which use a lot less. To get reasonable, say 50%, penetration of x-rays thru 6mm of steel (roughly 4 layers of metal) you'd need around 250Kv. Toss in other materials, bodies, etc. and you'd need more than that. This doesn't sound like a good thing, not a good thing at all.

        To me progress is not so much a goal as it is a process and I believe it will not follow a straight course. Remember, the drops of water that form the river may not take the shortest path but they will still reach the ocean.

        by ontheleftcoast on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 11:14:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Wouldn't it be cheaper to hire 100,000 (6+ / 0-)

    new border patrol agents to physically inspect stuff crossing the border?

     

    Filibuster reform now. No more Gentleman's agreements.

    by bear83 on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 10:55:04 AM PST

  •  Low Energy X-Rays (4+ / 0-)

    In the medical field, these are filtered out of the spectra radiating the patient.  Low energy X-rays are more likely to be absorbed by the patient's soft tissues. This causes non-stochasic radioactive effects, and does not contribute to image quality.

    Per our own FDA:

    Steps for Consumers

    Consumers have an important role in reducing radiation risks from medical X-rays. FDA recommends these steps:

    Ask your health care professional how an X-ray will help. How will it help find out what's wrong or determine your treatment? Ask if there are other procedures that might be lower risk but still allow a good assessment or treatment for your medical situation.

    Don't refuse an X-ray. If your health care professional explains why it is medically needed, then don't refuse an X-ray. The risk of not having a needed X-ray is greater than the small risk from radiation.

    Don't insist on an X-ray. If your health care professional explains there is no need for an X-ray, then don't demand one.

    Tell the X-ray technologist in advance if you are, or might be, pregnant.

    Ask if a protective shield can be used. If you or your children are getting an X-ray, ask whether a lead apron or other shield should be used.

    Ask your dentist if he/she uses the faster (E or F) speed film for X-rays. It costs about the same as the conventional D speed film and offers similar benefits with a lower radiation dose. Using digital imaging detectors instead of film further reduces radiation dose.

    Know your X-ray history. "Just as you may keep a list of your medications with you when visiting the doctor, keep a list of your imaging records, including dental X-rays," says Ohlhaber. When an X-ray is taken, fill out the card with the date and type of exam, referring physician, and facility and address where the images are kept. Show the card to your health care professionals to avoid unnecessary duplication of X-rays of the same body part. Keep a record card for everyone in your family.

    If we have no knowledge of doses, or of being radiated how can we be informed?

    Are they scanning pregnant women? Are they asking?

    Again, this is really necessary, because we can't have inspections of cargo by humans any more? Expedience is not always the correct answer.

    Another flaw in the human character is that everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance. Kurt Vonnegut

    by ToKnowWhy on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 10:56:16 AM PST

  •  My diary is limited (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    turn blue, Joieau, young voter

    This diary is all I was able to write today on this.   I'm intending to write a more detailed diary in the future that will look at the equipment, the numerical X ray exposures, the risk assessment and campaign contributions by vendors of the X ray imaging equipment.

  •  Are the agents behind a screen? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joieau

    I would think if there was a problem they'd be the first to raise hell.  Exposure on a daily basis has to be bad if there's any danger.

    "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

    by sceptical observer on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 11:44:00 AM PST

    •  I don't think so...imaging is translated to TV. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sceptical observer

      The image detection for the land border systems will incorporate that image for close circuit television viewing by an operator/observer who does not have to be present or near the device.

      However, if a person refuses to drive through the device, the border protection agent will drive your car through the x radiation imager.   This effectively means that to avoid xradiation exposure to a person in the public, the DHS agents will increase their occupational exposure to Xrays and their lifetime total dose.

      In addition, having to invite the DHS border crossing guard to drive your car through the detector means you have been
      forced to consent to a personal search of your vehicle by the federal government...thus waiving rights you would otherwise have not to have the interior of your car inspected by a human inspector inside your car.

  •  This doesn't make any sense to me. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LakeSuperior

    1) I don't understand how X-rays with low enough intensity to not be a health problem could penetrate any part of a vehicle.

    2) The energy levels must be miniscule if they are going to routinely expose agents to them (by driving cars through for people).

    3) The agents are going to have to wear radiation badges, and there are strict limits to radiation exposure by both month and lifetime. If a designated driver goes through a hundred times a day, over a month that is going to add up. If you think that the TSA is an anal group of control freaks with no sense of humor then you have never had the pleasure of going through an NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) inspection. And I can tell you from personal experience that they don't cut any slack for another federal agency.

    4) The "park and scan" systems wouldn't have any of these problems. But with all that metal, there might be a fair amount of scattered energy in the area.

    5) Perhaps this is "security theater". Maybe it would find things, maybe it wouldn't; but would you want to take a chance on getting caught?

  •  Please retitle: Optional exposure (0+ / 0-)

    Drivers and passengers will only be exposed if they choose to be.

    Two different LEXRIS systems are available. One system is mobile,
    mounted on a truck or van type platform and will be used at CBP
    operational areas. The system can be driven alongside a parked vehicle
    in a controlled area and will scan the vehicle as it drives by. Before
    the vehicle is scanned, the driver and passenger(s) will exit the
    vehicle and be escorted outside the controlled area.
    The other system
    is a stationary, portal configuration that will be installed along an
    existing traffic lane. Vehicles will be scanned as they are driven
    through the portal. Occupants of the vehicle will have the option of
    remaining in the vehicle while the driver drives it through the portal
    or exiting the vehicle and having CBP personnel drive it through the
    portal.

    If you want to know the real answer: Just ask a Mom.

    by tacklelady on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 12:46:03 PM PST

    •  No retitle (0+ / 0-)

      DHS Border Protection is designing a system that is counting on most of the general public going through these Xray detection systems.   With every car getting xrayed in circumstances where they install these as continuous inlane traffic, such a system would never work if even just a small number of people didn't want to go through the device.   The entire issue is being managed to downplay health risks and damage from these non-medical exposures.   DHS Border Protection is counting on the public's ignorance and indifference about X Radiation exposure to make this practically work.

      The park and scan systems will likely only be used at low traffic crossings and places where there isn't enough room to stage the in-traffic-lane devices.

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