Unfortunately, yesterday’s LA Times story missed the mark and you may have seen a few additional inaccurate stories in the news claiming that TSA was buying equipment to test for radiation exposure. Truth is, we continuously test all of the technology we use and post the results to our website for all to see.
Why the confusion you might ask? TSA routinely puts out Requests for Information (RFI) that are basically market research, asking industry to tell us what else is out there. In this case, TSA put out an RFI to gather information on available tools to continue to monitor our technologies. This is simply designed to ask industry what new technology might be available.
Testing our equipment and exposure to employees is not new. TSA routinely monitors radiation levels to ensure the safety of both passengers and our workforce. We've never found any radiation concerns and the safety reports can be accessed publicly at TSA.gov. TSA made a commitment to post new reports as they're completed to our website so passengers can see for themselves that the machines are meeting safety standards.
Based on all of our previous testing, as well as monitoring from independent sources, we’re confident that all of our equipment meets national safety standards, and is safe for all passengers and our workforce.
As far as another backscatter (body scanner) test is concerned, TSA is committed to working with Congress to explore options for an additional study to further prove these machines are safe. All tests so far, have shown they are well within the national safety standards and each scan is equivalent to the exposure one receives during approximately 2 min of flight.