"TSA Puts Off Safety Study of X-Ray Body Scanners"

After promising Senators that he would conduct new studies of the health effects of airport X-ray scanners, TSA Administrator John Pistole seemed to say yesterday that the agency did not need to do the study.

"Earlier this month, a ProPublica/PBS NewsHour investigation found that the TSA had glossed over research that the X-ray scanners could lead to a small number of cancer cases. The scanners emit low levels of ionizing radiation, which has been shown to damage DNA. In addition, several safety reviewers who initially advised the government on the scanners said they had concerns about the machines being used, as they are today, on millions of airline passengers.

At a Senate hearing after the story ran, TSA Administrator John Pistole agreed to a request by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, to conduct a new independent study of the health effects of the X-ray scanners, also known as backscatters.

But at a Senate hearing of a different committee last week, Pistole said he had since received a draft report on the machines by the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general, or IG, that might render the independent study unnecessary."

Michael Grabell reports for ProPublica November 16, 2011.

SEE ALSO:

"U.S. Government Glossed Over Cancer Concerns As It Rolled Out Airport X-Ray Scanners" (ProPublica)

Friday, November 18, 2011