TSA Pat-DownDear Ones:
Well, I searched for it and here is a link on the TSA website which states that you have every RIGHT to ask TSA Officers to change their gloves when they touch your person and your property.
"You have the right to ask a Security Officer to change her/his gloves during the physical inspection of your accessible property, before performing a physical search (pat-down,) or any time a Security Officer handles your footwear."
I have already discussed contamination and contagion possibilites at the hands of TSA agents
Regular 'glove changes' are prudent for travelers and TSA Officers alike.
The only caveat is that since the gloves only cover up to the wrist, it is important to realize that any 'exudates', weeping/oozing fluids, bacteria, viruses, protozoans and so forth entrapped on the sleeves and other uniform parts of the TSA Officers (and on their bare skin for those wearing short sleeves) STILL HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO CAUSE PROBLEMS FOR YOU.
Should any of the above contaminate you via the TSA Officer's clothes, you may be at risk, especially, should the contaminated uniform make contact with your eyes, mouth, nose, ears, broken skin, mucous membranes, 'rashy areas' and other 'areas'.
Many microbes can live for an amazingly long time on so-called 'non-living surfaces' like clothing, pens, communication devices, clipboards, 'wands' and all the other items TSA Officers are likely to use when examining you.
And the contamination potential can be even WORSE when the TSA Agent has bare arms which can carry not only fellow travelers' contamination, but his or her OWN population of bio-organisms, both pathogenic and non-pathogenic, as well!
DON'T BE SHY! ASK FOR A GLOVE CHANGE FOR THE FOLLOWING:
--before anyone handles and inspects your carry-ons
--after anyone handles your shoes and intends to continue
--after a TSA Officer touches their face/nose/mouth/ears/hair or anywhere else on their own body
--after anyone sneezes and/or coughs and/or has a runny nose and/or drools or 'splatters saliva while speaking' during your pat-down
--after a cast or brace is 'swabbed for explosives'. It is virtually impossible to keep a cast or brace absolutely sterile and the swabbing procedure is essentially a 'microbe-collecting procedure' which will contaminate the TSA Officer's gloves no matter what he or she does.
--any time you feel uncomfortable with sanitation levels during your pat-down.
Of course, these suggestions are as much for the benefit of the TSA Officers as they are for the traveling public.
In an ideal world, TSA Officer's would be provided with new, clean disposable cover-ups and multiple sets of gloves for each and every passenger.
If it were up to me, they would wear face masks, as well.
But as it stands now, I suppose it will be necessary for some sort of airport and travel-related epidemic to break out before those safe-guards are in place.
I've already written about 'Dominican Republic/Haitian Cholera' in New York City:
And about the emergence of Dengue Fever in the United States:
I also have a word or two for those with allergies. Certainly, latex gloves themselves have a high allergenic potential for some people.
Please be sure to carry a note from your health care provider IF YOU ARE ALLERGIC TO LATEX and request the use of NON-LATEX GLOVES by any TSA Officers patting you down and touching your property.
For those of you allergic to strong scents, be sure to request a 'glove change' whenever you suspect that a TSA Officer's gloves are contaminated with perfume or any other highly odoriferous substance.
If the TSA Officer themselves has any overpowering odors themselves which are likely to aggravate your allergies, you may have to ask for a 'TSA Officer change', as well!
I imagine TSA Officers are counseled to not wear strong fragrance, etc and if not, they should be.
But in the course of the day, it is pretty likely that something or other from some one's Dopp kit will spill on a TSA Officer's clothing or work area, so you must be prepared to advocate for yourself if you or your loved ones have allergies.
I pray this information is of some help to you. Please be sure to read all the 'tips' provided on the TSA Pat-Down Page entitled "Tips For The Screening Process":
They're good ones as we attempt to 'cope' with the realities of modern air travel in an uncertain world.
God Bless You & Bon Voyage
Reverend Barbara Sexton
"The Biblical Biochemist-Where Science Meets the Cross"