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TSA Interested In Purchasing Dosimeters 117

Posted by timothy
from the for-the-doers-not-the-doees dept.
OverTheGeicoE writes "TSA recently announced that it is looking for vendors of 'radiation measurement devices'. According to the agency's Request for Information, these devices 'will assist the TSA in determining if the Transportation Security Officers (TSO) at selected federalized airports are exposed to ionizing radiation above minimum detectable levels, and whether any measured radiation doses approach or exceed the threshold where personnel dosimetry monitoring is required by DHS/TSA policy.' A TSA spokeman claims that their RFI 'did not reflect any heightened concern by the agency about radiation levels that might be excessive or pose a risk to either TSA screeners or members of the traveling public.' Concern outside the agency, however, has always been high. TSA has long been criticized for its apparent lack of understanding of radiological safety, even for its own employees. There has been speculation of a cancer cluster, possibly caused by poor safety practices in baggage screening."
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TSA Interested In Purchasing Dosimeters

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 07, 2012 @09:29AM (#38620984)

    Don't want to be mean but I think it would be really really really cool if they find plenty of radiation.

    • I wish I could you mod you up. You have to love the irony. My question is, "its ok to expose millions of americans to radiation, unless they work for the TSA?"
      • by Joce640k (829181)

        They aren't worried about the people that go through yet, they're only worried about the people standing next to the machines all day.

        Finding they've irradiated all their workers would be a good thing for the public.

        The question is...did they not bother to find this out before the machines were deployed? Assuming they're safe, do they not go around the area with Geiger counters after installation to make sure they're installed correctly?

    • by justthinkit (954982) <floyd@just-think-it.com> on Saturday January 07, 2012 @01:29PM (#38622606) Homepage Journal
      This might be a great talking point for those flying the friendly skies: "Gee, I've heard you guys have to wear dosimeters now. Are they still trying to tell you it is safe for you to operate this 40 hours per week? I don't envy your situation...heh, are you guys unionized?"
      • unionized (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        "Hey, are you guys unionized?"
        "No, we're exposed to ionizing radiation."

      • by raisch (235012)

        From this report, workers would seem to be ionized rather than "un-ionized."

    • by Phoghat (1288088)

      Don't want to be mean but I think it would be really really really cool if they find plenty of radiation.

      Don't get your hopes up, all it probably means is that someone's brother-in-law makes dosimeters.

      • by Meski (774546)
        Can we bribe them to include a source of ionising radiation *inside* the dosimeter? Not enough to do harm, just enough to show up and scare sh*t out of them.
  • Ask Slashdot!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    No job is so important, and no service is so urgent, that we cannot take time to perform our work safely. The question is, why weren't these put in when the body scanners were first put into use?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      What does this have to do with body scanners? You must realize that x-ray machines have been used for luggage and carry-on bags for years and years, and pre-date the TSA taking over operations. It is amazing that they were ever able to put them in place without requiring dosimeters badges for employees in case of leaks from the devices.
      • by Idbar (1034346)
        Well, because a leak in a device is abnormal, and people may be exposed without knowing. But radiating people directly and intentionally is certainly another matter. I know both have consequences to the "radiated", but the second one has a bigger legal consequence for the TSA.
  • by The_REAL_DZA (731082) on Saturday January 07, 2012 @09:44AM (#38621038)
    More like "I'll believe it when I see it" -- someone somewhere (probably the DOJ) will "realize" that just admitting the possibility there's any risk of cancer from their "radiation scanners" [naturalnews.com] opens them up to a zillion liability suits and the iron wall will come back down because denial is their chief weapon. That and fear, of course ('cause it sure ain't surprise...or a ruthless efficiency [youtube.com], etc.!!!)
    • by jbeaupre (752124)

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sovereign_immunity#United_States [wikipedia.org]

      A bit more powerful than denial.

        • But any information about how the security equipment works could compromise our security and thus fall under the umbrella of "state secrets", right? And the manufacturers of the equipment will get the same sort of deal the telecoms got for their participation in the alleged-and-unofficially-confirmed wireless wiretapping incident.

        • by jbeaupre (752124)

          Probably in this case too. "torts committed by persons" So people could sue the government if a TSA agent knowingly injures them. A lawsuit over the scanners would have to prove that a person knew installing scanners would hurt the public more than not installing them, but made the decision to have them installed.

          In the end, the asshats will point to some sort of congressional authorization and invoke sovereign immunity.

          My original point was that the government has better weapons than denial. Plain ol'

      • "Sovereign Immunity" is nothing more than the government denying responsibility for some action it takes. Usually this works to everyone's advantage (government would grind to a halt under the crushing weight of lawsuits over mangled front-end-alignments by potholes in the nation's roadways, for instance) but when a double-standard set up by government allows one arm of the government to act in a manner that willfully disregards the rights and/or safety of the people in general (let alone the government's
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Eh, technically this only applies to the minority of full body scanners used by the TSA. The more numerous scanners are millimeter wave, which utilize millimeter length radio waves (yes, technically still "radiation" but no with regards to common medical usage of the term) that are non-penetrating to the skin.

      It's about like standing in front of a radio - or surrounding yourself with radio frequency emitting devices (such as cell phones, computers, monitors, televisions, printers, power lines, etc, etc, etc

      • by tftp (111690)

        the concept of TSA employees getting cancer from their foul and nefarious acts (y'know, getting a job they probably like less than you do because hey, it's better than starving on the streets)

        Is this the excuse that the guards of concentration camps used?

        In other words, how many other people one should be willing to hurt or kill to feed his family?

        Or I can put it in another way. What is the minimum salary that can convert Mahatma Gandhi into someone like Carlos the Jackal [wikipedia.org]? The pay of a hired assassin

    • Um, yeah... shouldn't they have tested for the effects of any potentially dangerous radiation BEFORE implementing the technology now in question? Or am I being Anti-American for even questioning the necessary and prudent security practices of our great nation, affording comfort to terrorists? Screw science, we need to search more kids and grandmas. For AMERICA!
  • Perhaps they can start offering free screenings for testicular and breast cancer. They are going to be grabbing them anyway.
  • And don't be shy about calling them traitors to their faces.

  • Surely if they're being exposed to X-rays a film badge would be a better idea?

    • Surely if they're being exposed to X-rays a film badge would be a better idea?

      Film badges are one common type of dosimeter.

  • There has been speculation of a cancer cluster, possibly caused by poor safety practices in baggage screening.

    It couldn't have happened to a nicer bunch of folks.

  • by Pirate_Pettit (1531797) on Saturday January 07, 2012 @10:55AM (#38621366)
    Even hospital personnel with only occasional, incidental proximity to x-ray devices wear film badges. I'm honestly surprised that people operating technology that emits ionizing radiation aren't wearing exposure devices already!
    • Even hospital personnel with only occasional, incidental proximity to x-ray devices wear film badges. I'm honestly surprised that people operating technology that emits ionizing radiation aren't wearing exposure devices already!

      Guess how highly educated the average TSA line worker is. Now compare this with the average education level for hospital personnel. I suspect this disparity might have something to do with the lack of dosimeters among TSA workers.

  • The TSA should consider that dowsing rods and e-meters would be just as effective for the purpose of screening passengers, and much safer all around

    • This is for protecting the TSA workers, not for scanning transit passengers.

      I would strongly urge they use special bubulous rectal dosimeters. Then, every passenger can thank them, shake their hand, and commend them on the sacrifice they make to keep travel in America safe.

  • Maybe those back scatter x-ray devices aren't as safe as the TSA says they are.

    • by rtb61 (674572)

      Maybe if those idiots who allowed them in didn't operate with blinders http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blinders [wikipedia.org] on they might have thought about things for a bit.

      What could possibly go wrong with exposing airline workers to radiation, hmm, cumulative effects, airport radar, aircraft radar (radar altimeters), xray machines, plus of course the workers exposure to random events like dental and other xrays. Now what could possibly go wrong with adding eight hours of backscatter xrays to that load.

  • Why don't you waste a few billion on some of these?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ADE_651 [wikipedia.org]

    Oh wait, you already have? Not fucking surprising, you bunch of brainless fuckwits.

  • No-bid contract? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by zwede (1478355) on Saturday January 07, 2012 @11:44AM (#38621692)

    And this being the TSA I bet the dosimeters will be purchased under a no-bid contract from some politician's buddy at the low cost of $100,000 each.

    • by dgatwood (11270)

      The cynic in me says that they'll probably also be of a kind that doesn't change color until you've gotten a fatal dose....

      • by SvnLyrBrto (62138)

        > they'll probably also be of a kind that doesn't
        > change color until you've gotten a fatal dose....

        Considering who will be wearing them, I have to ask...

        So?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    We dont have the budget for this. Hire people smart enough to follow the rules and you wont have a problem.
    We have had baggage handlers for years with no problems.

    Or let them learn the hard way. could not happen to a nicer group of ass holes.

  • In times of famine, anyone in the military gets dibs. (Keep in mind, 5% of the total population is in the Korean Peoples Army)
  • Forget the bureaucrats, the people to talk to about this are the TSA workers doing the screenings, since they're the ones (a) making minimum wage; and (b) facing death from cancer. When you fly, opt out of the scanner and request a groping, and then talk to the TSA worker while they're feeling you up. Talk about the JHU cancer study; talk about the finding that the backscatter machines unzip DNA; talk about the fact that no one's wearing dosimeters; talk about the fact that many of the X-ray machines have been found to be leaky beyond manufacturer tolerance; talk about the fact that people excuse all this because the public is only exposed for a few seconds to a minute at a time, but no one ever thinks about the workers; talk about the fact that they should contact their union reps about OSHA regulations- except, oh, wait, they aren't allowed to form unions.

    If all of the employees are starting to raise a fuss and filing lawsuits, that'll get more traction than trying to lobby some senator who (i) flies on a private plane and bypasses security; and (ii) has several million dollars of stock invested in the companies that make the machines and gets campaign donations from their executives.

  • WTF? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    How do the personnel who work with ionizing radiation NOT have dosimeters already? I'm a graduate student at a state university who works with X-ray diffraction (XRD) occasionally. To just TOUCH the XRD equipment, I had to have ~6 hours of 'ionizing radiation safety training' plus a required dosimeter to track how much radiation I had been subjected to.

    The fact that these people have been working around ionizing radiation without any documentation of how much radiation they have been exposed to is trouble

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I suppose I also could have posted this in the other recent TSA article [slashdot.org]. I'm flying to the US (Newark) for the first time in years (last time wasn't long before 9/11), and given everything that's been written about the TSA over the last while, what advice do other Slashdotters have about dealing with them at the airport?

    I'm thinking especially, what kinds of potentially dubious scanners does one encounter these days, and is it practical to refuse any without undergoing a particularly intrusive search or
    • by zwede (1478355) on Saturday January 07, 2012 @04:39PM (#38624468)

      My only experience with the scanners was the Dallas International airport. I just politely told them I'd like to opt out of the scanner. The guy pointed me over to another guy and told him I was an "opt-out" in a loud voice. Several people in line looked surprised there was such a thing as "opt out" (sigh). I got a pat down without any junk-grabbing and I was on my way in about 30 seconds.

      • by Mitreya (579078)
        Several people in line looked surprised there was such a thing as "opt out" (sigh).

        I too find it sad that so many people go in as sheep. There is no way these scans are a good thing for your health.

        I got a pat down without any junk-grabbing and I was on my way in about 30 seconds.

        You don't have enough data, my friend. While I do find the pat downs reasonably professional (just pointless), I do have some other data points for you:
        Once, a TSA employer tried to explain to me how media portrays them unf

        • by Anonymous Coward

          When I loudly demand opt out I follow that immediately with "I need to be able to observe my belongings at all times" and if I cannot I demand a manager be summoned immediately. They are always cooperative.

          I further demand private screening as this take two of the little Nazis time, and if two of them start searching my stuff I tell them only one at a time as I cannot maintain observation of the two of them at once.

          And yes I am a pain in the ass, thank you very much.

  • There's absolutely no evidence of any relation between exposing people to radiation for silly reasons and cancer! Oh, wait...

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