Thursday, June 30, 2011

TSA Cancer Cluster Myth Buster

This is old news, but it’s back in the news and since it’s such an important topic, we wanted to address it again to alleviate any concerns it might be causing.

Myth: There is a TSA employee cancer cluster at the Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) related to the backscatter body scanners.

Fact:  There is no relationship between any cancer diagnoses in Boston and the technology in the airport. (Based on a survey by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health). In fact, there were no body scanners at BOS when the complaints were filed.

I blogged about this back in May, but all of our X-ray technology (backscatter body scanners, and all baggage scanners) has been tested and retested and our scanners are operating safely. You can actually take a look at the reports and read about how we test the machines here

Common Questions: 

Q: Why aren’t your officers permitted to wear dosimeters? 

A: There is a really good reason for this. The emissions from our X-ray technology are well below the requirements that would require their routine usage. To  help reassure passengers and employees that the technology is safe, however, health physicists with the U.S. Army have been conducting area dosimeter surveys at multiple airports nationwide.

Q: Why doesn’t TSA allow third party testing for the backscatter technology?

A: We have. Independent third party testing and analyses of TSA backscatter technology have been conducted by the U.S. Army Public Health Command, the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL). They all came to the same conclusion by the way. It’s safe…

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog

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