TSA Begins Screening for Explosive Powders

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Security at U.S. airports will soon be getting a little tighter as security agents will be screening passengers for the presence of explosive powders.

The Transportation Security Administration has deployed special kits that will test for potential powdered explosives. The kits were tested late last year in airports in Los Angeles, New York, Detroit and Washington, D.C. The TSA says this new kit prevents terrorists from boarding a plane and using a chemical powder to assemble an improvised explosive device.

"Every day, TSA officers work at over 450 airports nationwide screening approximately 2 million passengers to keep the traveling public safe," said TSA Acting Administrator Gale Rossides. "These enhancements are part of TSA's efforts to stay ahead of emerging threats while continually strengthening our layered approach to security."

The kits cost $145 each. Nationwide there have been 1,250 kits distributed at a cost of more than $180,000.

The agency said procedures at security checkpoints will not change. Travelers will still be able to carry powders such as baby formula, makeup and medicines.

TSA screeners will use X-rays to determine if substances need additional testing. When substances are found and additional screening is necessary, security officers will use a 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, the agency said.

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