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Radiation Concerns Over New TSA Security Regulations

Health Concerns Following New TSA Security Regulations

With heightened news coverage due to the impending holiday season, the new TSA security screening devices have many worried about privacy concerns, but some are also worried about potential exposure to radiation. There are two types of new body-scanning devices making their way to airports across the country: one that uses millimeter-wave technology, and a second that uses backscatter X-ray technology. The former is of minimal concern because it doesn't expose passengers to any notable level of radiation. The backscatter technology, though, has some health experts concerned, even though officials from the TSA and FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health have certified that the machines are completely safe.

Backscatter technology exposes travelers to a small amount of radiation as they walk through the scanner; a concern especially for pilots, frequent fliers, and children, who, some say, could have to worry about skin cancer. According to the director of the Center for Radiological Research at Columbia University, the risks associated with one-time exposure are very, very low. But every time a person is exposed to radiation, the small associated risk is multiplied by the number of exposures. If you're a person who flies several times a month (or each week), the seemingly small risk could potentially turn into a larger problem.

For now (and to protect your holiday sanity), casual travelers — especially those who will be flying for the holidays — shouldn't worry about the effects of these machines.

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
tigr3bianca tigr3bianca 6 years
I had to pat down Iraqis before they were allowed into certain buildings so I know the procedure. The type of pat down the TSA does is unnecessary and humiliating. There is no need for a boob or crotch check. These machines are also unnecessary. The terrorists already found a way around American security procedures; they get on a plane in another country and fly into the US. Its what the underwear bomber did. Also, if people need to be searched getting on a plane in the US, just have a bomb sniffing dog check out each passenger before they hand their boarding pass.
imLissy imLissy 6 years
with all the controversy around these machines, I don't see them lasting very long. I know it's important to be safe, but I think all of this is going a wee bit overboard.
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