A joint report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in September 2008 found that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) did not take proper care of some baggage-screening machines, exposing TSA employees to dangerous amounts of radiation. These findings prompted Congressman Ed Markey (D-Mass.) to question TSA’s handling of other radiation-emitting machines, namely their full-body scanners.
This article from HSToday.us explains the congressman’s argument.
In two letters dated Dec. 6 – one addressed to TSA Administrator Joe Pistol and the other to Inspector General Richard Skinner of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – Markey wrote, “I am concerned that TSA’s past history in this area as well as its lack of expertise in radiation health and safety could lead to unintentional exposures to radiation of both TSA employees and members of the public.”
Markey, who serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, noted that full-body X-ray screening machines give off substantially more radiation than baggage-screening machines, meaning the risk of exposure is greater.
“If one of these machines were to malfunction for an extended period of time, the possibility of adverse risks to public health and safety are much higher than that associated with baggage screening systems since so many passengers and TSA employees could be exposed to potentially unsafe levels of radiation,” wrote Markey.
TSA has not yet formally responded to Markey’s comments, but the organization has publicly defended its current inspection practices and has reassured passengers that they are, in fact, safe.
“There are no health hazards associated with the use of these systems provided appropriate operating procedures continue to be followed,” said TSA spokesperson Greg Soule.
For any questions on the safety of whole body imaging, simply contact ARK Systems at 1-800-995-0189 or click here today.