TSA Reassures Passengers About Radiation Exposure Risk

By Michelle Durham

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – After recent published reports accused TSA officials of not maintaining their scanner equipment and questioning just how much radiation one receives when going through those machines, the question remains: to just how much radiation are you exposed before you board an airplane?

TSA Spokesperson Ann Davis says the amount of radiation you would get from one of the scanners is negligible and, in the case of Philadelphia International Airport, nonexistent.

“There are two types of body scanners. There is millimeter wave and that does not emit any radiation at all. Some airports you have the scanner which emits a negligible amount equivalent to two minutes in flight.”

Temple University Hospital Medical Physicist Edmuth Chao agrees. “The typical dose for a person going through a whole body scanner is very small — about point zero one millirram. If you compare that dose to the dose you receive from flying from New York to Seattle, that dose is three milliram.”

For that reason, Chao says there really is no cause for concern. As for testing the existing machines to make sure they are operating properly, Davis says the TSA is committed to doing that.

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More from Michelle Durham
  • Julie

    3 out of 4 members of my family cannot donate blood because we ate British beef that our military commissaries sold us during two overseas tours. My Air Force did not tell me this, my government did not tell me this. Blood Services told us this when we tried to donate blood. As a breast cancer survivor, I don’t want any more radiation from any source I can avoid. And, unfortunately, I don’t trust my government to be truthful and vigilant in these situations any longer.

  • Oppressed

    Big brother TSA reassures passengers about radiation exposure risk…

    And AT LEAST HALF of America dismisses the fact that TSA is not in a position to reassure us of anything. I wrote a lengthy analysis of TSA and airport security for Florida Institute of Technology Physics department to which I will not go into detail here. Suffice to say that financial interests (read CONTRACTS), personal financial interests (read INVESTMENTS), and many, many more factors are contributing to the paths of TSA and those who direct its efforts against an increasingly unintelligent American population.

    Is anyone even curious why the entire E.U. has banned active x-ray scanners in all European airports? Is anyone aware of the personal interests involved with the successive contractual obligations between TSA, corporate executives, and companies that produce these machines? Apparently, these questions have no place in the minds of the American public, let alone, the discoveries and answers after exhaustive research.

  • Jack

    So, Big Sis lied about there not being any strip search of these elderly women, the TSA has now admitted there was and they were wrong, BUT we are supposed to believe them about anything else they say? I don’t think so. An entire administration of LIARS is running this country.

    • david5300

      That’s a fact JACK!
      We can not trust these people to tell the truth even when its in their own best interests to do so.
      They are ROUGE, and must be abolished!

    • Pat

      That was my exact same thought as I was reading the article. What a laughingstock they’ve become!

  • WASPy

    NYC is installing experimental military metal detectors on the streets to scan everyone who walks passed for firearms and knives.

    Besides violating your 4th Amendment rights, the metal detectors transmit at a frequency that tears your DNA apart according to experts at MIT.

  • stopsopa

    A milliram isn’t a unit of radiation. Michelle Durham has trouble fact checking her stories. Millirem is likely what was meant. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roentgen_equivalent_man
    She couldn’t even spell this correctly; so how likely is it that there were other mistakes in her story?

    • Joe

      I couldn’t go to the link. Wiki is black.

      • Take it back!

        In protest of SOPA, a horrible bill that will kill the free exchange of news and information on the Internet.

        Tell your elected reps, “hell no to SOPA.”

        SOPA and other bills brought to you by the same people who brought you TSA scanners to fry you and your children.

        All about power, and if they can make a quick buck in the process of their control, bonus!

        Michael Chertoff is making a killing, literally, off these machines.

    • Scott

      Both the writer and editor missed this one.

  • Tommy Jones

    lol, the TSA is a joke. Biggest waste of an agemcy there is. Period.


  • SpasmDada

    Yes, yes. We are all scared that they are bad for our health. I get that. But is that really the point? I think not! No, ladies and gentlemen, you are all being treated like criminals and these scanners are just conditioning you to OBEY YOUR GOVERNMENT. But not me. If “We The People” want to molest our traveling public, then they are going to have to do it out in the open rather than in a back room on a computer monitor, if I have anything to say about it. I’ve been patted down over two dozen times at the airport. I don’t like having it done but neither do the TSA agents who have to stop what they are doing and spend time walking through the procedure with me. I’m always polite but they always know that it’s not a health concern that I have.

  • Wendy

    Glad to see there is no “journalist” name published on the article. I would never post lies and garbage like this. You failed to note that the radiation results the TSA relied upon and still quotes is from the company that sells them the products. The “journalist” is far to lazy to even attempt to do a google search and find the 3 independent studies on the equipment I was able to find. All of them note very significantly higher radiation exposure (up to 30 times or more radiation exposure) than the sellers company & government propaganda errr, lies. err marketing.

    All I can say is that if anyone wants to trust what the media tells you then you are a fool. If you trust what the government says and does without questioning it you an even bigger fool.

    Always look at the source of the information, content, agenda, intent, politics, and other factor and question everything. Especially when it comes to actually safeguarding you own health and well-being.

    Think, why would the government tell you these things are exposing you to high levels of radiation, even if they were high. That would cause the machines to be shut down require mandatory genital pat-downs of everyone and cause a huge bottleneck at the airports. The “agents” (not officers) that make roughly 20,000 a year are being dosed with this radiation constantly. They will all be suffering serious and likely deadly results from this over long-term exposure. It will take time for this to start to appear.

    Just like the “air quality was ok” at ground zero this is another government lie to get the puppets they need to perform the jobs of legalized criminals, especially when it comes to searching old women and children, let alone the rest of us.

    Think about it the audits of the tests for TSA actually stopping dangerous materials and weapons on planes fails with very high percentages every time. Google it. The fact is that if a terr orist wants to smuggle something onto a plane they can do it rectally or implant it surgically and many other ways. So what? Now we need to all get a rectal exam of everyone in order to “prevent terrorism”. The level of paranoia needed to prevent, many if not all, terrorist acts would have been incomprehensible years ago. But not now. Everyone that still flies and supports the implementation of the threat of fear and terrorism is supporting the terror being instilled upon us by our own government.

    Welcome to tyranny.

  • RB


    II any amount of radiation safe?

    There is no firm basis for setting a “safe” level of exposure above background for stochastic effects. Many sources emit radiation that is well below natural background levels. This makes it extremely difficult to isolate its stochastic effects. In setting limits, EPA makes the conservative (cautious) assumption that any increase in radiation exposure is accompanied by an increased risk of stochastic effects.

  • Dismantle Nazi DHS

    I don’t believe a GD word coming out of the government, especially DHS. Those liars, thieves and perverts won’t be putting me or mine into any radiation oven.

    • Take it back

      Look at the names behind the scenes. They have taken over our government behind the curtain of public scrutiny.

      The government is run by staffers, aids, lobbyists, lawyers; all working behind the scenes so they aren’t called out like a bolshivic.

      Chertoff, Mr. Homeland security is making big money off these machines.

      Look into who this guy is. Then search the other names involved.

      This government has been taken over. They work behind the scenes while Stalin (insert Presidents name) takes the fall as the bad guy (useful decoy). Didn’t work out too well for Russia, won’t work out well for us, especially with the modern technology at their neocon disposal.

      Relentlessly email your congressman! Nag him (diplomatically) until he gets it!

  • Tim

    ITS BS – your getting a low dose on EVERY INCH OF YOUR BODY, vs a random particle in flight – scientists know this – there’s no comparison – and all these great safety talking points come from the manufacturer’s brochure – now you right wingers will want to blame obama, but these contracts were setup by BUSH & CO…

  • cory

    Anyone who believes the TSA is an UTTER FOOL. Wake up and read “Brave New World Revisited or Google “Building 7.” Why did TV tell us nothing about building seven? It’s because mainstream media is OWNED BY THOSE WHO PROFIT FROM WAR. LISTEN AT INFOWARS DOT COM.

    • Newspeak 2012 Edition

      Alex Jones has turned out to be right about so much of what is happening. Only a matter of time now before mandatory scans, vaccines and DNA draws.

      • Cory

        Yes, Alex Jones may not have the smoothest delivery, like all those Ken and Barbie dolls on TV, BUT WHAT HE SAYS IS TRUE. Go to InfoWars dot com and listen.

  • denver bill

    “These scanners pose no threat to the travelling public. And please stop staring at my lead shorts.”

  • JS

    that’s why Germany and most of Europe has had independent study of these scanners and has consequently refused to use them at any of their air ports because the radiation levels increase the chance of cancer and pose a definite threat to the health and safety of citizens. Difference is in america they do not give a damn about the health and safety of its citizens they only care about training its citizens to be slaves an accept anything the slave master demand. TSA and DHS is nothing more than a system designed to get american to accept tyranny and slavery under the iron fist of the out of control fascist governemnt.
    Ron Paul would end the TSa and DHS for good.

  • hebe

    The backscatter XRAY is not the same Radiation that I get while flying; it’s measured using the same device, but it’s not the same kind of Radiation.

    It’s like inhaling a fart – TSA says it’s the same kind of Convection as breathing Oxygen. Or, like humping a cactus – TSA says it’s the same type of Conduction as flesh.

  • Conrad

    Only people from Philly would believe these lies.

  • Daryl Irwin


    • Montgomery

      And this bolshevic creature “skeletor” is now on Mitt Romney’s team.

      • Take it back

        Didn’t know that, thanks for the info., explains much.

        Bain capital is a spin off of Bain and Company. Sorted story there!

  • Terrence Aym
  • david7134

    So their logic is that they will give you even more radiation. Note that no test have been done on these machine, at all. In the medical world the government would shut you down and fine you or send you to jail for the same activity. Even with the radiation, you are not any more secoure. Cheap way to security: get rid of TSA and screen all Muslims.

  • Adam Smith

    The unshielded TSA employees are being irradiated daily hundreds or thousands of times. I wonder who will accept liability for them when the cancers begin? Meanwhile Chau is wrong. This form of radiation does not penetrate that deeply because it all impacts in a concentrated form at the superficial layers of the skin. The milliREM quantification is the wrong approach as Chau should know.

    • RaidE8

      Hopefully they have the best form of protection-being distance. See “inverse square law”.

  • Dennis

    ALARA !!!!!!!!!

    • RaidE8

      I like ALARA. Now define “reasonable”.

  • Brian

    Is it too much to ask that reporters who are covering stories about radiation understand (a) the difference between ionizing radiation emitted by the x-ray scanners and non-ionizing radiation emitted by the millimeter-wave machines (which most *certainly* emit radiation, despite the TSA stooge’s claim) and (b) the relevant units of measurement (It’s milli*rem*, not milli*ram*).

  • Mark

    Government reassures you that they have investigated themselves and found that they have done nothing wrong. The Constitution is suppose to restrict the power and scope of the ruling class know as the government. We now live under a tyranny.

  • morey

    I still don’t feel so safe or secure.I don’t want no more radiation than necessary.

  • James

    liars. as a cancer survivor I will always opt out

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