Man goes through a full-body scanner at the airport (file/Photo: Joern Pollex/Getty Images)
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island congressman is calling attention to the potential danger of radiation exposure at our nation’s airports.
Congressman Steve Israel has called on the Transportation Security Administration to launch an independent investigation on potential health risks from the full-body Backscatter X-ray scanners.
“I have a high regard for the TSA, but I also know that when government says ‘trust us and we don’t have to open this up to more scrutiny,’ you should open it up to more scrutiny,” Rep. Israel told WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs.
The congressman cited records over the past year in stating that there have been 3,778 mechanical malfunctions with the Backscatters, but radiation safety surveys were conducted in only 2 percent of the calls, CBS 2′s Jennifer McLogan reported.
“What happens if the scan pauses for a moment and concentrates on one specific area,” Rep. Israel said.
Israel said he doesn’t want to spread fear; he only wants answers to safety concerns about the radiation.
“We do have an obligation to make sure that our security is safe and that people know that it’s safe,” Rep. Israel told Xirinachs.
A doctor from North Shore-LIJ Health System agreed with Rep. Israel that there needs to be more research about the safety of Backscatter X-ray scanners.
“Have we thoroughly looked at the safety considerations here? Until we get better studies to answer these questions, the questions will linger,” said Dr. Kenneth Spaeth, who is board certified in environmental medicine.