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New Procedures for Traveling with Powders

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Tuesday, September 08, 2009
talc powder photo

TSA is enhancing its ability to test powder at checkpoints across the nation. We haven’t received any specific threats that led us to this new procedure but certain types of powders can be used in improvised explosive devices (IED) so it just makes sense.

Q: How will you test my powder?
A: Our officers will be using explosives detection tools including X-ray machines and mobile test kits.

Q: How much powder can I bring?
A: As much as you like as long as it’s not one of the prohibited powders such as black powder or other hazmat.

Q: Is this new procedure going to slow down the screening process?
A: No. Based on the frequency of the inspections during the pilot phase, you stand a very small chance of having your powder inspected. However, some items will alarm which TSA may not be able to clear.

Q: What should passengers do if they are carrying powders?
A: Nothing different. Just be aware that some powders may require further screening. The majority of most commonly carried powders such as baby formula and makeup are unlikely to require any additional screening.

Q: Will my powdered baby formula need to be inspected?
A: Probably not. During the pilot phase, we found that powdered baby formula did not cause any problems, but there is always the chance that it could happen.

Q: Is this new?
A: No. We’ve been looking at various ways to screen powders since late 2008 at several airports: LAX, JFK, DCA, DTW. Also, we’ve been screening powders all along, but now we have a new tool we can use when we need to take a closer look.

Q: Does this timing of this have anything to do with 9-11?
A: No. We’re starting this procedure now because the kits we tested in 2008 are ready to be deployed nationally. What we’ve learned from 9-11 and the UK liquids plot is that those who wish to do us harm are looking to use items that aren’t prohibited, and in the case of August 2006, items that seem harmless, to do damage to planes. This kit allows powders to come through checkpoints without inconveniencing the vast majority of passengers.

Q: Is this an effort to find narcotics?
A: No.

Q: What types of powders can be used as explosives?
A: Certain types of explosives, mixtures of fuels and oxidizers, can come in a powdered form and could be used as components of an improvised explosive device.

Q: Will TSA require passengers to open urns with human remains to test the contents?
A: No. We have procedures in place to screen urns in a very respectful manner without opening them. But there might be a need for an officer to swab the exterior of the urn and run a test using this same kit.

Q: What will officers do if they find a threatening powder?
A: They will follow the same procedures that are in place now. Bomb Appraisal Officers will be summoned to the checkpoint, and possibly law enforcement officers if necessary.

Key Takeaways:

  • There is no ban on powder;
  • Inspections of powder are few and far between.

On the lighter side of things...

Q: Am I allowed to powder my nose?
A: Yes.

Q: Can I wear a powdered wig through the checkpoint?
A: Only if you’re a barrister or a member of the UK Parliament.

Q: Have you seen the movie “Powder?”
A: Yes and it really creeped me out.

Bob Burns
TSA Blog Team

Comments

Submitted by Anonymous on

So is this your way for skirting the ruling in Fofana so you can continue to look for drugs?

Al

Submitted by Anonymous on

Anonymous said...

"So is this your way for skirting the ruling in Fofana so you can continue to look for drugs?

Al"


Nope, the test does not look for drugs, and wouldn't even determine a substance was a drug if it were conducted on such a substance.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I can see the headline:

TSA takes a Powder.

Submitted by Anonymous on

the mobile kits we have do not have the capability to detect drugs or narcotics. they detect explosive materials

Submitted by Sandra on

Mind boggling beyond belief.

However, it does explain why gate checks have been increasing: the screeners at checkpoints are not capable of looking for all the threats that the TSA believes exist, so they have to institute gate checks.

A tacit admission of failure.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Q: Will this new policy be in writing and available to passengers so we can be sure a TSO is following the proper procedure?

A: All of our policies and procedures are SSI so TSO's not fully aware of the policy can invent rules to cover their ineptness.

Bob, lets remember what happened with the "shoes on the belt" policy. Because the policy was not explained properly we still have TSO's who think that having your shoes on the belt instead of the bin is mandatory, not suggested.

Submitted by Anonymous on

So since cocaine, while illegal, is not a dangerous (to the plane) powder you won't be confiscating it if I transit the checkpoint with it? :-)

Submitted by Off Scale High on

Not looking drugs in powders. I'm sorry but I don't trust or believe you tsa( and there is a long list of incidents) you have a habit of violating the limits of a administrative search and the 4th amendment based on what you were chartered to do, not the violations/ mission creep you keep doing ad neasuem.

I agree with the first post this a way to skirt fofana, which is nothing new because tsa has obeyed a court decision agianst it yet.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Thanks for the post Bob. I'm glad I can still powder my nose. :)

Submitted by Anonymous on

Bob et al,

This post raised one HUGE question in my mind:

When will (or why won't) the TSA implement the exact same policy for LIQUIDS?

Are there really more people who'd want to bring powders on planes than liquids, to make this policy a priority over dealing with the liquids ban?

This policy on powders seems sensible. But I personally don't really care as it will likely never affect me, nor many others. If you had the exact same policy with regard to liquids, it would positively affect nearly every traveler.

Submitted by RB on

When TSA blocks all people who want to travel by air will be the day that TSA can say they are successful in preventing any possible air piracy event.

It does seem that TSA's goal is to put the airlines out of business.

Submitted by TSO Bill on

Anon Sept 8, 9:16PM said:
"When will (or why won't) the TSA implement the exact same policy for LIQUIDS?"

These kits will only be used on certain powders that have certain characteristics on the xray screen, not every powder.

TSA is currently deploying Advanced Technology xray systems that will be able to detect dangerous liquids. Until then there is no easy way to tell the difference between threat and non-threat liquids so the restrictions must stay in place.

In short, the number of powders that come through the checkpoint that would need testing are very small compared to the number of liquids that would need testing.

Hope this helps!

Submitted by Al Ames on

Anon: "Nope, the test does not look for drugs, and wouldn't even determine a substance was a drug if it were conducted on such a substance."

I didn't say that the test would determine that it's a drug. What I was getting at was that TSA will now be searching for powders, perhaps concealed. You know, like in the contraband that was found in Fofana that wasn't a WEI? TSA couldn't search for powders unless it was in plain sight, hence putting powders in things like envelopes would have exempted it from the search.

TSA now declares powders something that should be investigated for explosives and now has a carte blanche to look at all powders and go looking for them wherever they may be. Well, if one of them happens to not look right despite not testing, can you tell me with a straight face that it WON'T be referred to an LEO?

TSA finds drugs, it makes a Big Catch® and jutsifies the program as a success even if no powdered explosives are found.

Yet TSA will still be looking for
terrorists ...

BTW - first post was mine but I misclicked and didn't get to type my name in before submitting.

Al

Submitted by Anonymous on

"When will (or why won't) the TSA implement the exact same policy for LIQUIDS?"

TSA has invested far too much time, effort, and money into its fraudulent claims that liquids pose some sort of a special threat to aviation to back off and implement a sensible screening procedure now. Ironic, since the liquids nonsense is the precise moment at which the entirety of the traveling public realized that TSA is a pathetic joke worthy only of scorn and ridicule.

Submitted by Anonymous on

"During the pilot phase, we found that powdered baby formula did not cause any problems"

Wow. Brilliant. Baby formula is not dangerous to commercial aviation!!

Submitted by NoClu on

Since powdered coffee creamer can burn, will that be banned?

Since flour can burn explosively, will that be banned?

Since corn dust can burn, will that be banned?

If I compress my powder into a solid cake or block, will that be allowed?

Can you tip us off to some "allowed" powders that might cause a search? I'd like to avoid your silliness, and if leaving my legal powder at home saves me from dealing with you I'd do it.

Submitted by Isaac Newton on

Oh great.

All over America, your screeners are inconsistent about the liquid rules. Is it 3 or 3.4 ounces? (Yes, I know you said it's 3.4 but your website, all your signs and too many of your screeners say 3.0). Are medical liquids allowed in sizes larger than 3.4 ounces? Some of your screeners say no. Are gel-packs allowed for breast milk? At least one airport said no. And so on.

Now you introduce a war on powders. Why should we expect that your inconsistent, poorly trained workforce will be any better with powders than with liquids? (Yeah, I know: you say they'll all be trained. But that's what you said about liquids.) By the end of the month, I have no doubt there will be reports of screeners barking "all powders must be removed from the bag", of screeners requiring powders in a freedom baggie, of medical powders and baby food which "probably" won't require testing being tested (and contaminated) anyway, of screeners confiscating powders in containers larger than 3.4 ounces and more.

And as usual, when these are reported, you and your colleagues will just say, "Oh well, that wasn't supposed to happen" and go on as before.

Big thumbs down on this one.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I am just curious as to why so many posts/persons here are SO offended or upset that TSA might catch them doing something illegal as in possibly transporting an illegal drug? I understand that TSA is NOT the DEA, but they are a human beings with a right to report something illegal right??? Or is the right/privledge taken from them when the put the blue uniform with the badge on?? Just curious....

Submitted by J on

"since the liquids nonsense is the precise moment at which the entirety of the traveling public realized that TSA is a pathetic joke worthy only of scorn and ridicule."

You do realize that the liquid explosive "plot" was going to have the bombers originate from Heathrow. Which would have meant NO TSA INVOLVEMENT. (Hint: TSA is in the US, not UK)

For those who are now worried that TSA may take their cocaine, there is a very easy explanation for it. Just like a TSO finding drugs during a pat-down: if you have it on you, you are going to be talking to the LEOs. If a TSO goes into a bag and discovers drugs, they are obligated to make notifications. If you don't want TSA to take your drugs, don't bring illegal materials into a federal checkpoint. If you are that stupid, you have probably done enough drugs, and consider TSA's involvement your intervention.

----

Because 99.8% of the public is ignorant to what type of threats exist, let me break it down.

Explosives can come in practically any form. Plastic explosives, liquid explosives, powder based explosive materials, crystalline powders, gelatinized explosives, etc.

Can TSA stop every type of explosive material out there? No. Not even the biggest team of the world's best explosive detection canines and scientists could find every explosive material.

----

As far as weapons are concerned, just because TSA doesn't mail every finding to USA Today doesn't mean they do not average 2-4 guns found at checkpoints everyday. Not to mention knives, brass knuckles, stun guns, razor blades, etc.

----

Please realize, our nations intelligence community is working more and more at being 1 team, in 1 fight. That way, nothing is missed, and proper information is dissemenated to all agencies. Sometimes, you have to change policy to correlate to changes in this arena we call "security".

I assume most of the posters here are McDonald's employees (former or present), so let me put it into an analogy that relates to burgers and fries. You have been ordering hamburger buns from one baker for 5 years. Then, you hear some information from your buddies at Burger King that the baker you buy from has been doing lazy business and is not providing the same quality product he did 5 years ago. So, you change the way you do business and you buy from somebody else. You essentially change tactics, to ensure the customer gets the best product possible.

That is how business works, and it applies to all sectors of every industry.

If you don't like TSA, stay out of the airport. I heard Greyhound has some awesome deals. Nice long bus ride to sit and read Alex Jones or Scott Schneier blogs.

-J

Submitted by Anonymous on

Of course, one should note that all powders are potentially explosive.

See: Dust Explosion (Wikipedia)

Submitted by Bubbaloop on

So,

Liquids can be explosives. The TSA decides to limit all liquids in a complicated set of incomprehensible rules.

Solids can be explosives. The TSA does not limit solids.

Powders (also solids, but I digress) ca be explosives. The TSA decides to occasionally, unpredictably, test them.

Why such differences for the different states of matter?

Stop limiting all liquids. It makes no sense. Test for explosives, so you find the dangerous stuff no matter what state of matter it is.

Submitted by Michelle on

From your article: "Will my powdered baby formula need to be inspected?
A: Probably not. "

That's really great news, but a followup question. Similac makes these little 4 oz packets of formula. When I fly with my baby, I put a bunch of those in my purse so a) I don't have to deal with a liquid, and b) I don't have to deal with loose powder in a baggie or bottle. If formula were to start being inspected, how would I be able to fly with those without having to open them up?

Submitted by Anonymous on

What I see here is not the worry or concern for safety. I see here is the worry or concern if you got caught with an illegal drug. First of all if you have possesion of illegal drugs why should the constitution protect you? If I was dumb enough to carry it on me while traveling and knowing that I am subject to additional screening procedures, which everyone should know by now, I would have to be an adult and accept the fact that I got busted.

Yes definitely a shame that some people feel it is invasion of privacy and a discomfort if they get busted. There are different modes of transportation you can take. Bus, boat, train,your on POV.

Quit whining and grow up...

Submitted by Nashid on
Q: Will my powdered baby formula need to be inspected?
A: Probably not. During the pilot phase, we found that powdered baby formula did not cause any problems, but there is always the chance that it could happen.

Thanks for this tidbit. My family and I will be traveling soon and with my name, I don't want anymore hassle than necessary.
Submitted by Anonymous on

What about my sterile-packed medically necessary powders? To test these powders, you would have to open the sterile packaging, rendering them medically useless. This would leave me without my physician-prescribed medication.

Submitted by Txrus on

As Anonymous reminded us on September 8, 2009 7:47 PM..

Bob, lets remember what happened with the "shoes on the belt" policy. Because the policy was not explained properly we still have TSO's who think that having your shoes on the belt instead of the bin is mandatory, not suggested.
**********************************

This would be bad enough, but it is further compounded by a report made by a traveler on Flyertalk the same day that, "ATL-This morning had a sign at each machine telling everyone to place their shoes directly on belts only."

So, let me get this straight. Someone, presumably pretty high up in the TSA food chain @ ATL, decided to use station budget dollars to have signage made up that directly contradicts nat'l TSA policy, which was merely a 'suggestion' to begin with, & turned it into a requirement.

If the TSA senior mgmt in one of, if not the, biggest airports in the country can't get something like 'we SUGGEST shoes be put on the belt' right, there is absolutely no way the low level screener will understand this new policy is not giving him/her carte blanche to search every passenger for drugs.

I would love it if the TSA could prove me wrong, but I'm not holding my breath for it to happen. What I do see happening, unfortunately not for a couple of years probably, is a case similar to Fofana happening & the court finally putting an end to this.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Anonymous said...
So since cocaine, while illegal, is not a dangerous (to the plane) powder you won't be confiscating it if I transit the checkpoint with it? :-)

Anonymous said...
Thanks for the post Bob. I'm glad I can still powder my nose. :)

-------------------------------
This explains a lot! I knew that no one in their right mind would write these comments.

Submitted by RB on

No specific threats of powder explosive but TSA feels the need to increase its control over the populace.

I know one thing, if TSA has a role to play in anything you can bet it will be/get fouled up straight away.

Submitted by Anonymous on

When are these magical x-ray machines than can determine the chemical structures of liquids coming on-line? Or do they just 'alert' based on density for additional screening?

Submitted by CITY OF INDIANA... on

Anonymous said...

I am just curious as to why so many posts/persons here are SO offended or upset that TSA might catch them doing something illegal as in possibly transporting an illegal drug? I understand that TSA is NOT the DEA, but they are a human beings with a right to report something illegal right??? Or is the right/privledge taken from them when the put the blue uniform with the badge on?? Just curious....

September 9, 2009 9:42 AM

----------------------
To get an understanding read the following article.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405297020455680457426194084237251...


"Congress charged TSA with protecting passengers and property on an aircraft “against an act of criminal violence or aircraft piracy” and prohibited individuals from carrying a “weapon, explosive or incendiary” onto an airplane. Without search warrants, courts have held that airport security checks are considered reasonable if the search is “no more extensive or intensive than necessary” to detect weapons or explosives."

Basically, most people are concerned not because they are drug mules, but rather that the TSA is working outside the scope of its mission (for example large amounts of cash). For example in the recent Fofana case, the TSO had been instructed to “be alert for anything that might be unlawful for him to possess, such as credit cards belonging to other people, illegal drugs or counterfeit money.”


I don't believe most people like being screened to begin with (if there was, you could run down to your local strip mall and find a shop where you pay to be screened for fun), but see it as some sort of necessary evil to ward off the "casual" i.e. not highly trained/motivated/supported terrorist. If the TSO happens to find something illegal in the course of the search, I have no problem with them reporting it. If however they are instructed to look specifically for illegal materials (and receive training on how to recognize them), then most would consider that problematic as it is outside their mission. This would be particularly worrying given the results of various in house testing that we see reported in the news where weapons and explosives are able to pass undetected.

The supreme court has already ruled numerous times regarding checkpoints, that they should not be used for general law enforcement.

http://www4.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/99-1030.ZS.html

Submitted by Dunstan on

J said:

"I assume most of the posters here are McDonald's employees"

Really? I never would have suspected that. Explains a lot, doesn't it. All the sugar, fat, salt and grease. What other observations do you have in store for us? I can hardly wait.

"As far as weapons are concerned, just because TSA doesn't mail every finding to USA Today doesn't mean they do not average 2-4 guns found at checkpoints everyday."

It does defy logic, doesn't it? What are they planning to do, force the FA to give them free drinks and a first class seat?

"That is how business works, and it applies to all sectors of every industry."

Somehow being nice to the "customer" escapes TSA. That is usually part of a business, making sure the end user is happy. Otherwise, it is just another ripoff.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Anonymous @ 9/9 10:12 AM said...

What I see here is not the worry or concern for safety. I see here is the worry or concern if you got caught with an illegal drug. First of all if you have possesion of illegal drugs why should the constitution protect you? If I was dumb enough to carry it on me while traveling and knowing that I am subject to additional screening procedures, which everyone should know by now, I would have to be an adult and accept the fact that I got busted.

--

To paraphrase Sir Thomas More from "A Man for All Seasons", a funny thing happens when you're willing to ignore the law to catch the devil. You're going to find yourself in a barren field, without the laws to protect you. So what do you do when the government then turns around on you?

The fourth amendment doesn't have an "unless they did something bad, then this doesn't apply" clause. It applies to "bad people" just as much as it applies to "law abiding" people. If you don't like it I'm sure there are Middle Eastern countries that would welcome you and have a law more to your liking. Or go ahead and write your congressman to get a new constitutional amendment passed to overturn the 4th. I'll wait to hear your results.

Submitted by Isaac Newton on

"J" said:

I assume most of the posters here are McDonald's employees (former or present), so let me put it into an analogy that relates to burgers and fries. You have been ordering hamburger buns from one baker for 5 years. Then, you hear some information from your buddies at Burger King that the baker you buy from has been doing lazy business and is not providing the same quality product he did 5 years ago. So, you change the way you do business and you buy from somebody else. You essentially change tactics, to ensure the customer gets the best product possible.

That is how business works, and it applies to all sectors of every industry.

So, you take the word of your competitor rather than checking the product yourself or listening to customer feedback? I guess you work for TSA.

If that's the way "business works", no wonder the US economy is such a mess.

This is a perfect example of TSA "changing tactics" with no substantial reason. Even this blog post stated: "We haven’t received any specific threats" but you're doing it anyway.

Oh, and world class scientists don't work at McD's. Thanks for playing, though.

Submitted by TSOWilliamReed on

TSA is not testing for drugs, in fact if these tests alarm we call the BAO not the LEO who handles drugs. We are testing for powder explosives that currently have no screening procedures in place to cover. You should all be happy we are filling in a gap you people were just complaining about us not covering. Now you are all complaining because we found the solution, and we aren't even restricting the powders. We aren't even going to search every powder that comes through. There are very strick detailed requirements to register a powder for being searched by this test. I will be suprised if I come across a bottle of powder for myself to test at least once every two months.

Submitted by TSOWilliamReed on

As for the age old argument over TSO's looking for drugs. If a TSO goes into a bag and finds drugs, he finds drugs. I don't understand why there has to be a complaint about it. He just stopped who knows how much narcotics from being sold on the streets and you want to punish him just because he didn't follow the rules exactly to catch the bad guy? Who cares if the government has the ability to take advantage of stopping bad guys, would it really hurt you or anyone else if TSA started testing or looking for drugs? Or would the advantage of searching for these items on one of the easiest ways to transport them be advantageous to the war on drugs? I am going to go with answer B and I will applaud any person, no matter what their occupation is, that turns in drug trafficers however they possibly can.

Submitted by Xxxxxxxxxx on

So since cocaine, while illegal, is not a dangerous (to the plane) powder you won't be confiscating it if I transit the checkpoint with it? :-)

Submitted by Anonymous on

TSOWilliamReed said...
You should all be happy we are filling in a gap you people were just complaining about us not covering.

***********
What complaints would that be? I haven't seen any articles in the news decrying this massive security gap. The gap I would like to see filled is to have TSO's and baggage handlers screened when they leave work at the end of their shift to reduce theft. As well as them being screened when they arrive. If you can take something out of someone's luggage you can also put something, like a bomb, into it.

Submitted by Dunstan on

SOWilliamReed said...

"As for the age old argument over TSO's looking for drugs. If a TSO goes into a bag and finds drugs, he finds drugs. I don't understand why there has to be a complaint about it. He just stopped who knows how much narcotics from being sold on the streets and you want to punish him just because he didn't follow the rules exactly to catch the bad guy? Who cares if the government has the ability to take advantage of stopping bad guys, would it really hurt you or anyone else if TSA started testing or looking for drugs? Or would the advantage of searching for these items on one of the easiest ways to transport them be advantageous to the war on drugs? I am going to go with answer B and I will applaud any person, no matter what their occupation is, that turns in drug trafficers however they possibly can."

And if a few thousand people get wrongly accused of drug trafficking because TSOs are not trained in drug identification, what's the big deal? A few lives ruined in the process, well, collateral damage is just unavoidable, right? Arrest them all, and let somebody else deal with the resulting mess.

Submitted by Anonymous on

TSOWilliamReed said...
As for the age old argument over TSO's looking for drugs. If a TSO goes into a bag and finds drugs, he finds drugs. I don't understand why there has to be a complaint about it. He just stopped who knows how much narcotics from being sold on the streets and you want to punish him just because he didn't follow the rules exactly to catch the bad guy? Who cares if the government has the ability to take advantage of stopping bad guys, would it really hurt you or anyone else if TSA started testing or looking for drugs? Or would the advantage of searching for these items on one of the easiest ways to transport them be advantageous to the war on drugs? I am going to go with answer B and I will applaud any person, no matter what their occupation is, that turns in drug trafficers however they possibly can.

September 9, 2009 6:00 PM
......................
You display a severe lack of training about the difference between a limited Administrative Search and a violation of a persons constitutional rights to be free of unreasonable search and seizures.

Submitted by TSOWilliamReed on

Isaac Newton said...

This is a perfect example of TSA "changing tactics" with no substantial reason. Even this blog post stated: "We haven’t received any specific threats" but you're doing it anyway.

Oh, and world class scientists don't work at McD's. Thanks for playing, though.

----------------

There is a very substantial reason for this added measure. Explosives come in powders, home made explosives especially. If you would prefer we could wait for some soldiers or a plane to be blown up with a home made powder IED. But I think alot of people would rather us take the initiative and make sure that doesn't happen to a plane.

Submitted by GSOLTSO on

Bubbaloop sez - "Solids can be explosives. The TSA does not limit solids.

Powders (also solids, but I digress) ca be explosives. The TSA decides to occasionally, unpredictably, test them.

Why such differences for the different states of matter?

Stop limiting all liquids. It makes no sense. Test for explosives, so you find the dangerous stuff no matter what state of matter it is."

Solids are fairly simple and cheap to test for. They are also easier to determine on the xray. Powders are more difficult to clear on xray, and therefore need more scrutiny. Liquids are much harder to clear on xray, they cost quite a bit to test at this point. As the organization moves forward with better tech for the xrays and the training that goes with it, the liquids will be able to be cleared more efficiently.

West
TSA Blog Team

Submitted by TSM, Been Here on

Quoted;
" Dunstan said...

And if a few thousand people get wrongly accused of drug trafficking because TSOs are not trained in drug identification, what's the big deal? A few lives ruined in the process, well, collateral damage is just unavoidable, right? Arrest them all, and let somebody else deal with the resulting mess.

September 10, 2009 8:03 AM"

Wow! Way to overdramtatize! No one is getting arrested, certainly not "thousands"! If something seems to be drugs, the LEOs are notified. They make the determination on the spot (ever hear of narcotics test kits?), THEN, they determine if an arrest is warranted.

Don't know about you but if someone is just plain STUPID enough to come through a Checkpoint with drugs - they deserve to be not only arrested but dummy smacked just for being stupid!

Submitted by Anonymous on

Anonymous said...
What about my sterile-packed medically necessary powders? To test these powders, you would have to open the sterile packaging, rendering them medically useless. This would leave me without my physician-prescribed medication.


There are procedures specifically in place for powder items that are deemed necessary for testing but can not be opened or factory sealed items, which will not require the opening of the item. Therefore, your medical items can be tested if need be without rendering them unsterile.

Submitted by Anonymous on
Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
What about my sterile-packed medically necessary powders? To test these powders, you would have to open the sterile packaging, rendering them medically useless. This would leave me without my physician-prescribed medication.


There are procedures specifically in place for powder items that are deemed necessary for testing but can not be opened or factory sealed items, which will not require the opening of the item. Therefore, your medical items can be tested if need be without rendering them unsterile.

September 10, 2009 2:30 PM

*******
What are those procedures and will they be made publicly available? Lets face it if TSO's can't even get the policy about shoes on the belt be suggested and not mandatory. To you honestly expect us to trust them to not open sterile medical supplies.
Submitted by Dunstan on

TSM, Been here... said..

not worth repeating...


Can't tell the difference between sarcasm and drama?

Submitted by Sandra on

What is the TSA doing to protect its screeners and the flying public from what we read on TS/S is a very potent testing process?

Has the public been warned through ADEQUATE signage that exposure to the testing chemicals might be injurious to anyone with lung disease?

Submitted by TSO Jacob on

I know many of you are still worried about some TSO arresting you when you try to carry your cocaine onto the aircraft. Let me put your mind at ease, TSOs will NOT arrest you or confiscate your drugs. However, we will inform the local police department that you are carrying something that looks like drugs and those police officers might decide to arrest you and confiscate your cocaine. I hope that clears up your confusion.

If you are planning on carrying any sterile powders that you don’t want opened the easiest thing you can do (to make yourself feel more comfortable) is ask to speak to a supervisor when you are told your powders will need to undergo extra screening. Although every TSO in the country will be able to screen your sterile powders without contaminating them, the supervisor will be happy to take the extra time to explain the whole procedure so that your mind will be put at ease.

Submitted by TSO Jacob on

RB said… “No specific threats of powder explosive but TSA feels the need to increase its control over the populace.”

Actually our soldiers in the Middle East have been injured and killed by powdered explosives. I suppose you believe that the bad guys won’t jump on an airplane, come to the states, and try to do the same thing to our civilians. This is why TSA is in charge of security and you are not.

Dunstan said… “Somehow being nice to the "customer" escapes TSA. That is usually part of a business, making sure the end user is happy."

TSA is totally focused on making the passengers happy. We truly believe that you are happier being alive then being killed by a terrorist.

Submitted by Bob Hanssen on

TSOWilliamReed incredulously said...


As for the age old argument over TSO's looking for drugs. If a TSO goes into a bag and finds drugs, he finds drugs. I don't understand why there has to be a complaint about it. He just stopped who knows how much narcotics from being sold on the streets and you want to punish him just because he didn't follow the rules exactly to catch the bad guy? Who cares if the government has the ability to take advantage of stopping bad guys, would it really hurt you or anyone else if TSA started testing or looking for drugs? Or would the advantage of searching for these items on one of the easiest ways to transport them be advantageous to the war on drugs? I am going to go with answer B and I will applaud any person, no matter what their occupation is, that turns in drug trafficers however they possibly can.


Yes, William. That's exactly what I want to do. How would you like it if some over-zealous drug warrior fellow screener (or maybe yourself) didn't follow rules of our own Constitution and normal LE rules of evidence gathering and custody(Like it or not, you are part of in the war on drugs.)? You could cause the evidence to get thrown out of court. That's exactly what the Fofana case is all about, although it was about the War on Money as well as general illegal search and detention.

How would you like it if an overzealous screener detained someone from drugs and unwittingly broke up a gigantic multi-state sting operation involving transporting drugs by commercial air and/or blown the cover of an undercover narc? The FBI actually does this from time to time, you know.

But, I understand your point. If I were you, I would be tempted to all a bag check for nearly every powder I saw on the x-ray because I would now have the justification to "discover" drugs while clearing the powder.

Submitted by Anonymous on
TSO Jacob said...
If you are planning on carrying any sterile powders that you don’t want opened the easiest thing you can do (to make yourself feel more comfortable) is ask to speak to a supervisor when you are told your powders will need to undergo extra screening. Although every TSO in the country will be able to screen your sterile powders without contaminating them, the supervisor will be happy to take the extra time to explain the whole procedure so that your mind will be put at ease.
September 11, 2009 10:43 AM

I’m confused so why don’t you explain it to me. Sterile medical supplies are kept sterile by being placed in a sealed container, in order for you to test a powder you would need to remove a sample of the powder and in the process making the rest of the contents no longer sterile. So how is the TSA going to test sterile packaged powders without contaminating all of the powder?

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