TSA and FDA say airport scanners not a health risk


HAWTHORNE, CA – The US White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) requested confirmation on the safety of airport x-ray scanners, and scientists from the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) reported that backscatter technology, which is used in Rapiscan’s Secure 1000 passenger screening system, poses “miniscule” health risks to individuals.

“This latest confirmation of the technology’s safety echoes past scientific evaluations by independent experts,” said Rapiscan Executive Vice President Peter Kant. “Rapiscan uses extremely low energy x-rays to identify potential threats while ensuring the safety of individuals who pass through the Secure 1000. For example, in two minutes of a typical commercial airline flight, a person receives the same amount of radiation exposure that they would from one inspection by the Secure 1000. We have said all along that travelers can pass through our machines safely. It is again confirmed by the FDA and TSA.”

A portion of the letter, which can be viewed in full here, is below.

“In summary, the potential health risks from a full-body screening with a general-use, x-ray security system are miniscule. Several groups of recognized experts have been assembled and have analyzed the radiation safety issues associated with this technology. These experts have published recommendations, commentaries, technical reports, and an American national radiation safety standard as a result of their analyses. This technology has been available for nearly two decades and we have based our evaluation on scientific evidence and on the recommendations of recognized experts…. As a result of these evidence-based, responsible actions, we are confident that full-body x-ray security products and practices do not pose a significant risk to the public health.”