WASHINGTON, May 21 (UPI) -- The Transportation Security Administration says it is scrapping a bomb detection system for U.S. airports because of the unreliability of the machines.
TSA spokeswoman Sterling Payne said the $36 million program, which focused on dislodging explosive particles from passengers through blasts of air, will cost nearly $1 million to remove from airports nationwide, USA Today reported Thursday.
Payne said 94 of the 207 so-called puffer machines were installed in 37 U.S. airports, while the remaining machines have been kept in storage.
The TSA official said the machines, which cost $160,000 each, began breaking down as a result of dirt and humidity. Payne said 60 of the installed devices have already been removed, but offered no timeline for the removal of the remaining puffers.
Smiths Detection Vice President Hasbrouck Miller, whose company manufacturers the anti-terror devices, told USA Today the machines have faced numerous repair efforts since the government purchased them in 2004.
"It was a torturous four years," Miller said. "The TSA finally got tired of pursuing that angle and moved on to something else."