Senate presses TSA to study health risks posed by X-ray scans

"TSA's response lacked any detail as to why the agency no longer believes an independent study on the health effects of X-ray backscatter machines is warranted, nor did it explain how the IG's review would be a sufficient substitute for an independent study," Collins said. "That is why I have introduced this bill today."

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Under her bill, S. 2044, the Department of Homeland Security and the National Science Foundation would have to study how X-ray radiation might affect passengers' health. The measure would require TSA to prepare other screening options for "sensitive groups" of people, such as pregnant women.

Collins said her bill was also prompted in part by the story of a pregnant woman who unknowingly went through an X-ray scanner at an airport, then miscarried.

"Only two weeks later, she suffered a miscarriage which she attributes to the radiation she received from this scan," Collins said. "We will never know for certain the cause of this family's loss, but they believe in their hearts that the backscatter radiation is to blame."

Sens. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), Scott Brown (R-Mass.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and Carl Levin (D-Mich.) are co-sponsors of the bill.

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