OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at https://www.osha.gov.

June 9, 1989

Mr. Gene Simpson
Post Office Box 1596
Lahaina 96767
Maui, Hawaii

Dear Mr. Simpson:

This is in response to your letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requesting information as to whether "anyone is monitoring the possible harmful effects that may be caused by exposure to rays emitted from airport scanning devices". Your letter was forwarded to the Directorate of Technical Support for reply.

OSHA has no data regarding the health effect of exposure to rays emitted from scanners. The Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for the monitoring of scanning devices located in the nation's airports. Normally, x-rays and in some cases fluoroscopy type devices are used to scan luggage. This equipment, like most industrial x-ray emitting devices, is so designed as to minimize the public and the employees' exposure to harmful rays.

As with the baggage x-ray scanning units, the walk-through metal detectors are also evaluated by the FDA. These units operate by either low intensity magnetic fields or radio frequency. In all cases, exposure to radiation from any scanning device is kept as low as possible. For additional information, you may wish to contact FDA. The name of contact, address, and telephone number are:

Ms. Pamela G. Chissler
Division of Consumer Affairs
Center for Devices and Radiological Health,
Food and Drug Administration
Rockville, MD 20857
Telephone: (301)443-4190

If you have any questions, please contact Mr. Mac Arthur Cheeks of our staff on (202)523-7056.


Edward J. Baier
Directorate of Technical Support