Radiation From TSA Scanners May Be More Than We Thought

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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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