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TSA screening… is it safe?

TSA inspection

Have you ever stood in line at TSA and watched your carry-on luggage – shoes, keys, cell phone, laptop and ‘personal items’ about to enter an x-ray machine? Did you ever wonder, how does that thing work? What about radiation? Is this dangerous? Of course, we all have. Especially at this time of year with the Holidays just around the corner. Many of us will travel to be with loved ones. So we wonder, what is this doing to me and my luggage? The answer is easy… little or nothing.

What’s in your suitcase?

What you experience in the TSA line is ‘Computed Tomography’, or CT scans. In simple terms, CT takes a series of slices through an item and then puts them back together on a computer monitor, and they are extremely safe. In fact, the scanners are so well shielded that TSA operators can work beside the equipment all day long without harm.

Millimeter wave machine

As for the full-body scanners used in all airports since May 2013, they are called “millimeter wave” machines, which bounce electromagnetic waves off the traveler to provide an animated image where a suspicious item might be located. No x-ray, no radiation. Click the link for more information.

But some critics weren’t convinced and challenged the use of devices over privacy and health concerns. The legal battle went all the way to an appeals court, which said TSA could keep the machines if it took legal steps to justify their use. The agency said the devices provide “the most effective and least intrusive” way to search travelers for weapons hidden under their clothes. And with that, the agency finalized its regulation governing the machines. Besides, test prove an individual receives about one tenth of one percent radiation walked through the scanner, less than laying by the pool.

Have a great trip!