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Tentative deal reached in TSA breast-milk lawsuit

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 23, 2014 at 5:16 pm •  Published: April 23, 2014
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PHOENIX (AP) — A Southern California woman who was held at a Phoenix airport four years ago after refusing to have her breast milk X-rayed said Wednesday she has reached a tentative settlement with the Transportation Security Administration.

Stacey Armato, who filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Phoenix, said TSA officials have tentatively offered her $75,000, along with promises to retrain agents and clarify its guidelines on screening breast milk.

The reassurances about revised training and rules were more important than the monetary compensation, she said.

"We had been waiting for them to really kind of confirm that they would be retraining everybody and making these policy updates," Armato said. "When we finally got confirmation of that, that was really reassuring."

TSA spokesman Ross Feinstein declined to comment on a "pending matter." He confirmed that current TSA regulations classify breast milk as liquid medication. As a result, parents are permitted to bring an amount larger than the 3 ounces normally allotted for liquids.

According to the agency's website, officers now use a bottled liquid scanner system in most airports to screen medically necessary liquids for explosives or other threats. The system uses lasers, infrared or electromagnetic resonance, rather than X-rays.

That was not an option at the time for Armato, who said she was accustomed to having a visual inspection for breast milk when traveling.

Armato, of Hermosa Beach, said she asked for an alternate screening of her breast milk at a security checkpoint at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport on Feb. 1, 2010. She cited concerns about exposing the milk to radiation.

According to a 2013 complaint from Armato, agents denied her request and then detained her in a glass enclosure for 40 minutes. Armato, who was traveling alone, alleged their action was partly retaliation for a complaint she filed over a similar incident a week earlier.

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