On June 24, 2011, EPIC released documents obtained from DHS as a result of EPIC’s lawsuit.
The disclosed documents include agency emails, radiation studies, memoranda of agreement concerning radiation testing programs, and results of some radiation tests.
The documents raise new questions concerning the radiation risks posed by the TSA full body scanner program. The records demonstrate:
- TSA employees have identified cancer clusters allegedly linked to radiation exposure while operating body scanners and other screening technology. However, the agency failed to issue employees dosimeters – safety devices that would warn of radiation exposure.
- The DHS has publicly mischaracterized the findings of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, stating that NIST “affirmed the safety” of full body scanners. NIST stated that the Institute did not, in fact, test full body scanners for safety, and that the Institute does not do product testing.
- A Johns Hopkins University study revealed that radiation zones around body scanners could exceed the â€œGeneral Public Dose Limit.â€
- A NIST study warns airport screeners to avoid standing next to full body scanners.
I’m usually rather skeptical of public health fear mongering, but this is a case where no one asked people whether they wanted to take screening this far. TSA just did it, and screw you if you don’t agree. Now we know there’s really been no testing on back scatter devices, and that NIST warned workers no to stand next to them.
Now granted, they would be getting some dose throughout the day, whereas you’ll just get it once, but how much leaks? And what’s the dose for the person in it? How do we know the dose being delivered is within specifications?
I don’t think we do. I don’t think TSA does.