Health concerns related to Backscatter and VACIS

The Union has learned that there are at least eight confirmed cases of cancer (seven Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma and one Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma) among agents who have primarily been detailed to perform Backscatter/VACIS duties at Border Patrol Checkpoints in the El Paso Sector.

We are reviewing data that has been provided by the agency; however, we urge Border Patrol agents who have been assigned to perform those duties to seek guidance from their personal medical doctor and submit a completed CA-2 if cancer or any other medical condition is found and linked to work. Once we have received, reviewed, and analyzed all of the information requested from the Agency, we will be in a better position to offer instruction on how to proceed further. Agents should share any concerns about operating the Backscatter/VACIS with management, and if ordered to do so, inform them of the concerns involving their health and well-being prior to being ordered to operate the Backscatter/VACIS. If you are still ordered to operate them after explaining this to your supervisor, please contact a Union Representative immediately.

Unfortunately, El Paso Sector and OBP Headquarters management have known about this issue for a significant period of time and they have not addressed it, nor, to our knowledge, have Border Patrol agents nationwide been advised of the issue.