TSA Abandons Independent Investigation on the Dangers of Body Scanners

by  Grace Beehler | Nov 17, 2011
TSA security checkpoint
TSA security checkpoint / PhonlamaiPhoto/iStock

While the European Union announced Monday that they would be putting a halt to the use of potentially carcinogenic body scanners, the TSA holds that these machines are “still completely safe” and are “well within applicable national safety standards.” This is following an investigation conducted by ProPublica/PBS NewsHour that found that the X-ray scanners might cause a small number of cancer cases.

At first, the Transportation Security Administration announced that they would begin their own independent study of the effects of their X-ray body scanners. However, at a Senate hearing last week, TSA Administrator John Pistole abandoned his previous commitment and stated that he believed the machines “are still completely safe” after reading a draft report on the body scanners that was conducted by the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general.

There are currently 500 body scanners in use in airports across the United States, half of which employ the potentially carcinogenic radiation known as backscatter. The amount of radiation from a backscatter is equivalent to the amount of radiation received when flying at a high altitude for two minutes.

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