TSA open to more testing on airport scanners
The full-body scanners used at more than 100 airports nationwide have been tested for safety by federal agencies, but the Transportation Security Administration says it is willing to conduct additional tests to address ongoing safety fears about the radiation emitted by the machines.
In the last three months, TSA chief John Pistole has changed his position — twice — on whether new tests are needed. But TSA spokesman Greg Soule said Pistole is now open to conducting a new test.
“TSA is committed to working with Congress to explore options for an additional study to further prove these machines are safe for all passengers,” Soule said. There was no word from the TSA on when or who would conduct such tests if they are performed.
The safety of the scanners came up when the TSA recently issued a request for information from government vendors about the purchase of wearable dosimeters — devices that can measure radiation exposure.
“To ensure that its employees are provided safe and healthful working environment,” the document said, the TSA “is planning to perform radiation measurement using personal and area dosimeters at selected federalized airports.”
Even so, Soule said the TSA has made no final decision on whether to buy the testing equipment or do the employee testing. He called the request for information “a preliminary step to see what technology is available to meet our needs.”
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