Akaka Supports Study of Backscatter X-ray Airport Scanners

January 31, 2012, 1:47 PM HST · Updated January 31, 4:01 PM
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Kahului Airport screening area. Maui Now file photo.

By Wendy Osher

Senator Daniel Akaka of Hawaii joined colleagues today in introducing legislation that seeks an independent study of backscatter x-ray scanners.

The measure would also require signage to alert travelers of screening alternatives other than the backscatter machines.

Akaka, who is a senior member on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, was among the co-sponsors of the legislation.

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The bill would require the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate, in consultation with the National Science Foundation, to commission the independent study.

The study would be aimed at identifying potential health effects of the x-ray radiation emitted by some of the scanning machines in airports.

It would also give airline passengers, especially those in sensitive groups, such as pregnant women, a notice of the ability to choose another screening option.

“I have repeatedly expressed concerns about the potential health effects of backscatter x-ray whole body scanners at airport checkpoints,” said Senator Akaka.  “This legislation will finally give peace of mind to the millions of people who pass through and operate these machines,” he said.

***Supporting information courtesy Office of Sen. Daniel Akaka.

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