Airport scanning machines said to be safe

A report released by the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general says the full-body scanners used by the TSA at airport security checkpoints emit an “extremely low dose” of radiation that is not harmful to passengers. 

According to USA Today, in his report, Carlton Mann, an assistant inspector general, “cited previous scientific findings,” including “a Johns Hopkins University assessment in August 2010 that said a passenger would have to be screened 47 times a day for a year to exceed yearly limits of radiation set by the American National Standards Institute.”

TSA Administrator John Pistole said that the report “fully endorses TSA’s extensive efforts to keep the traveling public safe, which is our agency’s ultimate priority.”

The Washington Times reports, however, that “the review did not satisfy Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, the ranking Republican on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, who said she still wants to see an independent review by a non-government body.”

Sen. Collins stated, “This report is not the report I requested. … An independent study is needed to protect the public and determine what technology is worthy of taxpayer dollars.”

Collins said a study is needed to examine the scanners’ effect on certain groups of people, such as pregnant women and TSA employees.

CNN reports that despite the report’s conclusion that the scanners are safe, “federal investigators” nevertheless “issued a half dozen recommendations, including making sure backscatter calibrations are ‘consistently conducted and documented, ensure Transportation Security Officers complete annual radiation safety training … and develop procedures to ensure appropriate notifications of unintended radiation emissions or overdoses.'”

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