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Backstabbed by Backscatter

January 28, 2011
The following first appeared on the wall of “All Facebook Against Airport Full-Body Scanners
From everyone at Scrap the Scanners, many thanks to Michelle for the story. We wish you all the very best with your treatment and hope you keep us up to date with all developments on this issue…. don’t let them get away with this!

Damage due to backscatter radiation – a first-hand account

While I was still in college I got a job with AS&E in Cambridge, MA.
I worked at their research facility on Mass Ave, a block away from the Orson Welles movie theater. Back then you didn’t have to buy pot to get high. All you had to do is to go to the movie theater. There was smoke everywhere. AS&E was a large four story beige building with huge lettering American Science and Engineering on it.

At that time AS&E had several grants from the Feds to develop scanning methodologies to be used at the airports. They had an interesting way of generating ideas. One of them was an ongoing interview process with literally hundreds of people who would come between 5 and 8 p.m. There was a team of 5 or 6 managers picking brains of all those scholars and physicists, and engineers. Many of the folks were either recent grads or worked at one of the many tech companies on Route 128. Managers would write reports after the interviews and argue pros and cons of all those ideas. Rarely did they extend a job offer.

One of my projects was to run comparison testing of different scanning methods, mostly backscatter and millimeter waves. Digital tech was still in its infancy and so most of the gear was analog.
I would vary the radiation dosages and place in the chamber cats and dogs with some weird clothing with lotsa pockets. I wore lead-meshed gloves to handle the pets and to protect myself from radiation.
Two or three weeks into the testing some of the dogs started shedding fur. I didn’t notice any changes with the cats.
After every experiment I would enter my observations into the journal. That would include time, day, dosage, pets name, intensity peaks, picture quality, etc. I also wrote about the shedding. My boss replaced the journals, and told me not to report any of that silly stuff.

Three months into the job, I noticed long white streaks on my arms and my chest. I showed them to my Physics professor who said that those are signs of the radiation poisoning. He suggested I quit working there. When I told my bosses at AS&E about my predicament they offered me money under the condition that I sign a waiver and a non-disclosure agreement. I was a student, poor, and foolish, and so I took the money.

Now, years later, those white streaks are still there.

Recently, I got admitted to the ER for an unrelated problem. Initially, the doctor who saw me said that they’ll fix me in no time. I had a CAT scan done all over my body. Two hours later the doc came to my room with several other doctors, and he looked grim. I was told that I have cancer spots all over my body, but the majority of spots were concentrated in the lungs. They asked me how long did I smoke. I told them I never smoked, and neither did anybody in my family.
They took pictures of my arms and my chest with the old x-ray burns. One of the gentlemen introduced himself as a clinical professor at the med school associated with that hospital. He asked me whether I’d be interested in their study. He’s offered me money to become a Guinea Pig, and said there will be more money later.

To be cont’d

Michelle Ng

3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 29, 2011 2:53 am

    I can’t believe I’m reading this. And I am very sorry this has happened to you. Michelle, go to . Call his office. He is a medical doctor who has reversed some advanced cases of cancer with nutritional excellence. No guarantees of course, but to fight cancer you need a weapon that won’t make you sicker.

    Good luck!


  1. Backstabbed by Backscatter « Lost on the Beltway
  2. Backstabbed by Backscatter « Michelle's Musings

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