The Transportation Security Administration said it will soon start additional screening for powder explosives at airport checkpoints but expects only a small percentage of powders will require the special screening.
TSA said it will begin using powder explosives detection kits at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and other airports around the country this week, following a pilot test of the kits in late 2008 at airports in Los Angeles, New York, Detroit and Washington, D.C. At about $145 each, the 1,250 kits distributed nationwide cost close to $185,000.
Typical security checkpoint procedures will not change, the agency said. Security screeners will use X-rays to determine which substances need additional screening.
When substances are selected for additional screening, security officers will use a powder test kit to collect a sample and apply a solution to test for potential explosives. Powders that are “determined to be a potential threat” will not be permitted past checkpoints or in checked baggage, according to TSA.
Common powders are not prohibited and the vast majority of commonly carried powders, like most medication, infant formula and makeup, are unlikely to need further screening, TSA said.
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