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Nobody's Checking to Ensure TSA Scanners Are Safe

No group in charge of regular investigations
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 20, 2010 2:52 PM CST
Nobody's Checking to Ensure TSA Scanners Are Safe
Activist Lori Lamb distributes stickers to travelers to protest against TSA's new security procedures at Los Angeles International Airport, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2010.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The TSA claims its scanners are safe when they’re working right—but who’s making sure they’re working right? The agency lists a number of watchdogs, including the FDA, the US Army, and Johns Hopkins scientists. But these groups say they’re not responsible for the scanners, AOL News finds, and the Department of Homeland Security won’t release its exposure data to outside experts.

Do the scanners really pose any threat? Yes, experts say, if there’s a flaw, such as a surge in the beam’s power. But the FDA says it doesn’t routinely inspect any non-medical x-ray machines. An Army health rep, meanwhile, says members only inspected scanners at three airports—far fewer than the 75 airports the TSA suggests. A Johns Hopkins spokeswoman says despite reports, experts there weren’t “tasked” to “declare the equipment to be safe.”
(More TSA stories.)

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