Earlier this year, TSA News wrote about an RFI (request for information) issued by the TSA to companies that produce dosimeters — devices that measure radiation exposure.
The RFI seemed to indicate that the TSA was getting ready to buy dosimeters for its employees, who are exposed to who-knows-how-much radiation from the backscatter scanners every day.
So where are the dosimeters?
A Washington-DC-area physician is wondering the same thing. Dr. Alex Mohseni thinks TSA employees deserve to know how much radiation they’re being exposed to. He worries that the longterm health effects could be serious. Mohseni writes:
Although articles from January 2012 state that the TSA is intending to buy dosimeters, it is now many months later, and our TSA screeners are still without the most basic radiation safeguard that every other institution requires of its staff. This is dangerous, unacceptable, and unfair. The only excuse I was able to find was the TSA reply that the amount of radiation from a single body scan is minuscule. No radiation expert would deny the fact that even minuscule doses of ionizing radiation can have a cumulative dangerous effect when multiplied by hundreds of exposures per day times day after day times thousands of exposed staff.
It is time for the scientific community and concerned citizens to voice their outrage. TSA workers deserve the same protections and safeguards afforded to radiation workers in all other industries. Otherwise, what is TSA trying to hide?
Mohseni has started a petition on Change.org to urge the TSA to buy dosimeters and provide them to its front-line employees at airport checkpoints.
(Photo: Flickr Creative Commons/621st Contingency Response Wing)