Sunday, July 3, 2011

Why don't TSA agents wear dosimeters?

And not just when operating the new body scanners, but also the carry on and checked luggage scanners? Some agents are starting to wake up. EPIC has found out that Boston workers who expressed concerns were ignored and were denied a request to wear dosimeters.

In the same FOIA request, EPIC also confirmed that the TSA's statements regarding the safety testing by experts at NIST and Hopkins were untrue. (Shocking, I know.) Here's one concise report:

But in an email obtained by EPIC, a NIST official stated that the agency had not tested the scanners for safety and does not in fact do product testing. Rather NIST had merely measured the radiation dose from a single machine against the standard of what is considered acceptable. It had not done the rigorous product testing required to determine safety over time.

Although TSA union reps at Boston's Logan Airport asked that the agency allow its screeners to wear radiation-monitoring devices, the TSA has yet to provide the dosimeters, EPIC said. Meanwhile, another document obtained by EPIC shows that NIST recommends that TSA screeners avoid standing next to the scanners whenever possible, and a Johns Hopkins University study finds that radiation zones around body scanners could potentially exceed the "General Public Dose Limit."