radiation

TSA to retest airport body scanners after reports expose extreme radiation safety violations

Tuesday, March 22, 2011 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: airport scanners, radiation, health news

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(NaturalNews) After repeatedly refusing to publicly release safety reports for its airport X-ray machines and naked body scanners -- even after lawmakers ordered their release -- the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) now says that the same reports are flawed anyway (http://www.naturalnews.com/031321_naked_body...). TSA insists data showing that some naked body scanners emit as much as ten times more radiation than normal is a "math error," and that a retest will be required to obtain accurate results.

The TSA's secrecy in withholding the safety reports since early December led many to question the integrity of the agency. And now that the reluctantly-released reports have revealed potentially extreme safety violations, many more have lost whatever remaining confidence they still had in the nation's airport security bureaucracy.

"It is totally unacceptable to be bumbling such critical tasks," said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), concerning the fiasco. "I'm tired of excuses. The public has a right (to know the truth) and deserves to know. It begs the question, 'What are they still not sharing with us?' These are things you cannot make mistakes with."

TSA claims that the dangerously high readings from some of the naked body scanners is the result of a division error in which inspectors failed to properly average a series of radiation readings, and instead simply added them all together. And the many other supposed errors implicit in at least 25 percent of the safety reports has prompted TSA to conduct a whole new set of tests.

Despite reassurances by TSA and other federal officials that naked body scanners and other airport scanning equipment is safe, many remain unconvinced for several reasons. First, a recent USA Today story explains that some of the flawed safety records were written by employees of Rapiscan Systems, the company that produces the scanning equipment. And some experts say claims that radiation emissions are low fail to take into account malfunctions, which TSA clearly cannot properly ascertain.

"What happens in times of failure, when [the machines] can give very, very high radiation doses? I'm totally unconvinced they (TSA) have thought that through," said Peter Rez, a physics professor at Arizona State University, to USA Today. "I just see a large, bumbling bureaucracy. Of course it's not very reassuring."

Many scientists also says the backscatter naked body scanners are dangerous even under normal operation. They subject the body to focused radiation blasts which do not occur in the normal, everyday background radiation circumstances to which the machines are often compared (http://www.naturalnews.com/030607_naked_body...).

Sources for this story include:

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2011...

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