TSA explores use of UV-C light to disinfect checkpoint bins

The assessment will initially take place at Washington/National Airport, with the aim of increasing hygiene at checkpoints

An assessment of new technology that uses ultraviolet-C light to disinfect checkpoint bins has been launched by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

This move is part of the agency’s venture to ensure safety and decrease the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus. The initial assessment will take place at two checkpoints within Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA).

With TSA’s innovation taskforce steering the operation, technologies will be assessed to establish each equipment’s ability to reach the expected UV-C dosage and its ability to reduce the number of pathogens on the bins.

Washington Airport
Photo Flickr/Alejandro Castro

Scott Johnson, TSA federal security director for DCA, believes that the testing will “eventually provide another layer of protection against viral and bacterial spread.”

The goal of the demonstration is to determine the efficacy in creating a more hygienic security checkpoint, all whilst balancing space and staff requirements.

The conveyer belt systems expose the checkpoint bins to UV-C light directly. Efficacy testing was conducted on the bins using digital and sticker dosimeters which help to evaluate the UV-C dosage, safety and processing times.

“These operational assessments are necessary as we consider any new technology, including those born out of the COVID-19 pandemic, as a permanent solution across our screening operations environment,” said Melissa Conley, executive director for capability management and innovation.

According to the TSA, the equipment will not impact passenger screening times or undermine the checkpoint screening processes.