TSA Airport Scanners: Radiation Truths and Lies

5. The TSA needs a Barry White theme song It's unlikely that John Pistole, the Transportation Security Agency's dour chief who once warned that terrorism must "always be considered imminent," expected such public vilification over his agency's new airport screening procedures. But a protest that began with a few bloggers has, since Pistole announced the pat-down or body-scan policy in a one-paragraph note on TSA.gov a few weeks ago, become something closer to public execration. TSA screeners have been twitted by Saturday Night Live, Grammy-winning musician Steve Vaus, and cartoonist Tom Tomorrow. The agency itself has been rebuked by some of the same politicians who voted unanimously to create it a decade ago. The surprise is that, beyond exempting flight attendants and pilots, the TSA has remained unyielding and impenitent. All Pistole would tell CBS News this week is that he'll continue asking: "How can we be better informed if we modify our screening? Then, what are the risks that we deal with?" That's Washington-ese for "I'm Gonna Love You Just a Little More Baby." TSA

New TSA airport scanners: Millimeter wave technology produces whole body images.
New airport scanners are embarrassing to many, but are they safe? (TSA)


(CBS) Is the government keeping the truth about radiation risks from  unsuspecting passengers forced to go through the new "backscatter" scanners at our nation's airports?

Certainly, many Americans think the TSA isn't shooting straight.

So, CBS News asked leading radiation safety experts from MIT and the respected Health Physics Society for the real scoop on radiation levels on not just airport scanners but 12 other every day radiation sources, many of which you probably never thought about.

How much radiation comes from drinking a glass of water or spooning with your spouse?

You might be surprised at the answers.

Read our slide show for more.


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