Radiation From TSA Scanners May Be More Than We Thought


airportAfter the huge nuclear reactor explosion in Japan, it has been confirmed that at least three people have been exposed to radiation. While we can only imagine the fear in that country on top of all the devastation, we have some radiation issues to deal with in the United States as well.

It turns out those TSA scanners that we've repeatedly been told are safe and aren't filling our bodies with radiation, may not be as safe as we thought. On Friday, the TSA ordered a re-test of all the full-body scanners. And not just because they want to be extra cautious, but because mistakes -- lots of mistakes -- have been found. For instance, some were found to be emitting radiation levels 10 times higher than was thought!

While the TSA admits to errors, they maintain that safety hasn't been compromised and it was just some math problems.  But when those mistakes involve "gross errors about radiation emissions" it certainly doesn't do anything to ease travelers' minds. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) told CNN:

That is completely unacceptable when it comes to monitoring radiation. If TSA contractors reporting on the radiation levels have done such a poor job, how can airline passengers and crew have confidence in the data used by the TSA to reassure the public?

We all know how ripe with problems our alternative -- the pat-down -- has been. So  now what? Thankfully, it looks like they're going to act fast -- all the backscatters are supposed to be re-tested by the end of March -- but who's to say there won't be errors then and in the future.

It's infuriating that TSA let these errors occur. There's already enough fear and uncertainly for fliers with regards to these machines, and this news just makes us trust the agency even less ... if that's possible.

As U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz told USA Today

It is totally unacceptable to be bumbling such critical tasks. These people are supposed to be protecting us against terrorists.

I'm tired of excuses. The public has a right and deserves to know. It begs the question, 'What are they still not sharing with us?' These are things you cannot make mistakes with.

Will knowing about the TSA errors make you less likely to fly or more likely to request a pat-down rather than go through the scanners?

Image via kalleboo/Flickr

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AngiDas AngiDas


nonmember avatar Shelly

We've decided to never fly. If we can't drive somewhere, we're not going. I won't support all this nonsense, by throwing my money at them.

nonmember avatar Chris

Every radiation device except the TSA scanners are strictly monitored by state health officials. If I were a TSA worker I would be seriously worried about exposure to radiation.

Pishyah Pishyah

(Totally said in a slow, monotone, sarcastic way.)  Oh, no.  How surprising.  Wish we could have seen that coming. 

nonmember avatar Kevin

CafeMom - Physicists who bake cookies and wipe noses. Pretty tasteless blog, I'm sure the cookies are no better.

nonmember avatar siona

According to the American Nuclear Society, the following are the typical dose levels from various medical tests: * Extremity (arm, leg, etc) Xray: 1 mrem * Dental Xray: 1 mrem * Chest Xray: 6 mrem * Nuclear Medicine (thyroid scan): 14 mrem * Neck/Skull Xray: 20 mrem * Pelvis/Huip Xray: 65 mrem * CAT Scan: 110 mrem * Upper GI Xray: 245 mrem * Barium Enema: 405 mrem OK, so total them up. This would be over 3,000 mrem a year over 80 years, for example. This estimates presumably assume a linear risk factor between dose and the chance of getting cancer, and there are those who now dispute such assumptions, which means the risks from low levels of radiation may be overstated. A single dose of around 450 R (450,000 mR) is usually considered produce death in 50% of the cases. before you post something such douchebag-ery inform yourself. you're comparing a 400 times LESS of a level of radiation with a nuclear fallout level. Unless of course you've taken about 10 barium enemas a month. then you should probably worry. on the upside, you wont be that constipated.

jeni0323 jeni0323

And how many people actually go through those scanners? I have flown many times out of Logan Airport in Boston and never have I seen one used.  I have also been to airports that dont even have them.  So what is the big deal

zestf... zestforlife

We decided that we will no longer fly anywhere.. We will take a car, a boat, a bike, a horse, or walk before we pay to have our 4th ammedment rights violated. Anyone who willingly accepts their 4th ammendment rights being taken away is anti-american.

momto... momtothemax2910

There is no where I want to go that would be worth putting up with any of that crap.

nonmember avatar garettk1


This is just a beta test for a much more massive rollout of these things. The plan is to put them in malls, stadiums, train stations, you name it. READ THE DHS documents and WAKE UP.

This is about liberty vs tyranny pure and simple. If we will put up with this we will accept anything.

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