Study: TSA Body Scans are Safe, but Critics Question Findings

A new independent study on Transportation Security Administration backscatter machines – often referred to as body scanners which are used at security checkpoints in many U.S. airports – indicates they do not expose travelers to dangerous levels of radiation.

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Radiation Levels: ‘Not Dangerous’

The study, which was conducted by the Marquette University College of Engineering, is reportedly believed to be the first independent report out on these scanners. Debate has raged over the safety of these machines and health concerns are one of the reasons that led to a ban on body scan machines in Europe’s airports.

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The TSA has long declared the backscatter machines safe, and the Marquette findings would seem to bear this out. As one media report put it, “the levels of radiation are much lower than other X-ray procedures.

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Critics say More Testing Needed

However critics note that the study was not based on testing of the machines themselves, but on radiation data released by the TSA. The TSA, meanwhile, has had further testing done by other agencies but critics – including Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) – continue to call for more.


Published: June 11, 2012