TSA orders ‘re-tests’ of radiation levels on airport body scanners.
The Transportation Security Administration on Friday ordered re-testing of all radiation-emitting full-body scanners after an internal review showed calculation errors, missing data and other discrepancies on paperwork by contractors who routinely check the machines’ radiation levels.
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said the TSA found problems with more than one-quarter of the reports it reviewed, “including gross errors about radiation emissions.”
The TSA said all “backscatter” full body scanners will be re-tested by the end of March, the TSA said. It will also require contractors to re-train machine testers, while increasing TSA oversight over the tests.
The announcements came as the TSA, responding to public pressure, posted raw data about radiation tests on its website. The agency also promised to post all future radiation checks on the web site for public review.
Marc Rotenberg, president of a privacy rights group and a critic of the full-body scanners, said the latest development is “more evidence” that the TSA should suspend use of the machines.
A House government oversight subcommittee will hold a hearing on TSA oversight of the full-body scanners on Wednesday.
News reports dating back to November warned travelers to avoid the scanners stating:
“Most people are unaware about the fact that there is significant radiation exposure associated with air travel because they are well above the Earth’s atmosphere,” said Robert J. Barish, a radiological and health physicist in New York City. “You’d get as much radiation in a whole-body scanner as you’d get in two minutes at 30,000 feet.”
Even TSA agents themselves have complained over the amount of radiation they are exposed to on a daily basis operating the scanners. And states like Texas are already drafting legislative to make the scanners illegal in their state.
It’s interesting to note that the lobbyist for the body scanners is the former Homeland Security secretary:
Michael Chertoff, Former Department of Homeland Security secretary, is the head of the Chertoff Group, the lead cheerleader for what is being called the Full Body Scanner Lobby, reports the Washington Post and the Washington Examiner
Hm, is it possible for someone who used to work in the department of homeland security to still have friendships with her former coworkers, friendships that may or may not be able to influence TSA policy….
But don’t just sit there and be shocked (health errors like these are common), Contact your local politician and express your concern. Don’t forget to opt out either.