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Hermosa Beach Woman Wins Legal Fight with TSA over Breast Milk

Stacey Armato said officers in Phoenix harassed her four years ago after she insisted in not exposing her 7-month-old son's milk to radiation.

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.

A Hermosa Beach woman who sued the Transportation Security Administration after she claimed officers at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport harassed her four years ago over her son's breast milk said in remarks published today that she has won a tentative legal settlement against the agency.

Stacey Armato sued in federal court in Phoenix after a 2010 incident in which she asked the TSA to provide an alternate form of screening that would not expose her 7-month-old son's breast milk to radiation. During the incident, Armato claimed in court papers, she was forced to wait in a glass enclosure for more than 40 minutes while she was "frequently harassed and abused by the TSA agents."

Under the terms of the proposed settlement, which should become official within the next month, the TSA will take steps to retrain its officers on proper breast milk-screening procedures, Armato told the Daily Breeze.

The agency also will pay her $75,000, which she plans to use for her legal fees and to donate to BreastfeedLA, a group dedicated to promoting breast- feeding across the region.

"Moms can now travel more confidently with their breast milk," Armato told the Breeze. "It's a big day for breast-feeding moms."

Ross Feinstein, a spokesman for the TSA, declined to comment on the lawsuit.

But he cited current TSA policies that permit mothers to travel with breast milk in quantities greater than 3 ounces as long as "it is presented for inspection at the security checkpoint."

The milk does not necessarily need to go through the X-ray machine to satisfy the inspection requirement. But Armato told the Breeze that screeners are not always aware of the agency's rules.

kristin c April 26, 2014 at 01:01 PM
I think we have the option to opt out of the radiation screening and be patted down instead.
ChrisG April 27, 2014 at 08:42 AM
I think these TSA measures are a joke. I flew through Denver yesterday and it was the most disorganized bunch of BS I've ever witnessed.
Martha Spalding Kern April 27, 2014 at 09:52 PM
Hats off to this woman for stepping up to protect all babies.
Brenda Renfroe April 28, 2014 at 12:34 PM
I may be the only one thinking this way and good to see a mother looking out for her child but I don't think everything is a law suit. A strong comment to TSA requesting correction may suffice. If the mother was scanned with the same exposure to radiation, then the milk still in her body (breast) is subject to the same dangers and will be in all milk expressed afer that. The only difference would be is if the milk in the bottle has more direct exposure to the radiation than that in the body. Just a thought.
Brian Bowman April 30, 2014 at 12:36 PM
The milk would not be affected by the radiation. Hold a geiger counter up to a salt shaker and listen to the radiation sing. Radiation is all around us. Her going on a jet aircraft will dramatically increase her exposure to radiation. This is a first world non-problem.

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