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Public Health Service
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Robert A. Taft Laboratories 4676 Columbia Parkway Cincinnati OH 45226-1998
September I, 2010 HETA 2010-0134
Dear Confidential Requestor:
In June 2010 you submitted a request to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) for a health hazard evaluation (HHE) concerning potential radiation exposure to transportation security officers (TSOs) working near Rapidscan Secure 1000 full-body scanners. You explained that TSOs may remain near these scanners for several hours during a typical workday and that radiation dosimeters were not provided to measure radiation exposures.
As discussed during our telephone conversation on July 20,2010, NIOSH does not have the authority to do an investigation because you are the only requester and our regulations require that the request must come from three current employees when there. are three or more employees at the facility. For further information about our regulations, please refer to the end of this letter. Per your request, I am enclosing a copy ofNIOSH HETA 2003-0206-3067. This report describes the results from a NIOSH evaluation of radiation exposures to TSOs working with airport explosive detection system equipment used to check passenger checked and carry-on baggage. Because your HHE request concerned newer security screening technology than what we previously evaluated, I contacted the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Director of Occupational Safety, Health, & Environment (this individual also serves as the Radiation Safety Program Manager) to learn more about the Rapidscan Secure 1000 full-body scanners. I obtained information about these scanners from the TSA iShare employee intranet website. I also learned about an ongoing interagency agreement between the TSA and the U.S. Army Public Health Command (USAPHC) to conduct independent operational radiation safety surveys on the Rapidscan Secure 1000 scanners at airports across the United States. Data from these surveys will be used to estimate the possible radiation doses to the TSO operators. Finally, I visited the Greater Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport on July 8, 2010, to observe a survey of the Rapidscan Secure 1000 scanners conducted by USAPHC health physicists. Following a review of the TSA iShare website information and discussions with USAPHC health physicists, it seems that a TSO operating the Rapiscan Secure 1000 single pose scanner is exposed to radiation levels that are barely discernable from background levels. This conclusion is further supported by a TSA-commissioned laboratory study conducted by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory verifYing that the radiation dose per screening for the Rapiscan Secure 1000 single pose general-use advanced imaging technology is less than 5 microrems reference effective dose per screening (a very low radiation dose). Therefore, having a TSO wear a radiation dosimeter should not be needed. When complete, the ongoing
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independent USAPHC operational radiation safety surveys should provide additional scientific evidence regarding potential radiation exposure to TSOs from these full-body scanners. If you would like more information on the USAPHC survey I suggest contacting Ms. Jill Segraves, CSP, at (571) 227-2292. Ms. Segraves, as the TSA Director of Occupational Safety, Health, & Environment and Radiation Safety Program Manager, should be able to provide more information on the USAPHC survey and when the results will become available to TSA employees. This letter closes our file on this HHE· request. If you are interested in submitting an HHE request in the future, please be aware that NIOSH has the authority to do a workplace investigation when it receives a request from one of the following: (I) the employer, (2) an authorized representative of the employees for collective bargaining purposes, (3) a current employee who is authorized, in writing, by at least two other current employees to represent them for purposes of submitting such a request, or (4) one current employee when three or fewer employees are exposed to the potential hazard. NIOSH is not able to initiate a workplace investigation based on your request because your name's the only one on the request form, yet you indicate that more than three people are exposed to the potential hazard. Thank you for your cooperation with this evaluation. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call me at (513) 841-4582. Sincerely yours,
Gregory A.:.surr, elH Industrial Hygiene Team Leader Hazard Evaluations and Technical Assistance Branch Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies