H. R. 4068
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
February 16, 2012
Mr. Rogers of Alabama (for himself, Mr. Chaffetz, Mrs. Blackburn, and Mr. Walsh of Illinois) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Homeland Security
To require the Under Secretary for Science and Technology in the Department of Homeland Security to contract with an independent laboratory to study the health effects of backscatter x-ray machines used at airline checkpoints operated by the Transportation Security Administration and provide improved notice to airline passengers.
Study of health effects of backscatter x-ray machines
The Under Secretary for Science and Technology in the Department of Homeland Security shall provide for the conduct of an independent study of the effects on human health caused by the use of backscatter x-ray machines at airline checkpoints operated by the Transportation Security Administration.
Requirements for study
The study required under subsection (a) shall be—
initiated not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act;
conducted by an independent laboratory selected by the Under Secretary, in consultation with the National Science Foundation, from among laboratories with expertise in the conduct of similar studies; and
to the maximum extent practicable, consistent with standard evaluations of radiological medical equipment.
In conducting the study, the laboratory shall, to the maximum extent practicable—
use calibration testing equipment developed by the laboratory for purposes of study; and
use commercially available calibration testing equipment as a control.
In conducting the study, the laboratory shall, to the maximum extent practicable and consistent with recognized protocols for independent scientific testing—
dismantle and evaluate one or more backscatter x-ray machines used at airline checkpoints operated by the Transportation Security Administration in order to determine—
the placement of testing equipment so that radiation emission readings during the testing of such machines are as accurate as possible; and
how best to measure the dose emitted per scan;
determine the failure rates and effects of use of such machines;
include the use of alternative testing methods in the determination of levels of radiation exposure (such as an examination of enzyme levels after x-ray exposure to determine if there is a biological response to cellular damage caused by such an exposure);
assess the fail-safe mechanisms of such machines in order to determine the optimal operating efficacy of such machines;
ensure that any tests performed are replicable;
obtain peer review of any tests performed; and
meet such other requirements as the Under Secretary shall specify for purposes of the study.
The Under Secretary shall provide for an independent panel, in consultation with the National Science Foundation, with expertise in conducting similar evaluations, to evaluate the data collected under the study to assess the health risks posed by backscatter x-ray machines to individuals and groups of people screened or affected by such machines, including—
frequent air travelers;
employees of the Transportation Security Administration;
other individuals who work at an airport; and
individuals with greater sensitivity to radiation, such as children, pregnant women, the elderly, and cancer patients.
In conducting the evaluation under subparagraph (A), the panel shall—
conduct a literature review of relevant clinical and academic literature; and
consider the risk of backscatter x-ray technology from a public health perspective in addition to the individual risk to each airline passenger.
Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, and periodically thereafter until the final report is submitted pursuant to clause (ii), the Under Secretary shall submit a report to Congress that contains the preliminary findings of the study conducted under this subsection.
Not later than 90 days after the date on which the panel completes the evaluation required under this paragraph, the Under Secretary shall submit a report to Congress that contains the result of the study and evaluation conducted under this subsection.
Signage requirement relating to backscatter x-ray machines
The Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration shall ensure that large, easily readable signs or equivalent electronic displays are placed at the front of airline passenger check point queues where backscatter advanced imaging technology machines are used for screening to inform airline passengers, particularly passengers who may be sensitive to radiation exposure, that they may request to undergo alternative screening procedures instead of passing through a backscatter x-ray machine.