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Nitroglycerin – but Not Explosives – Found on KLM Flight

A random search on a LAX to Amsterdam flight revealed a seemingly random trace of nitroglycerin.

On Sunday, Transportation Security Administration officers were doing random explosive residue swab tests on items from a KLM Flight 602 from Los Angeles to Amsterdam. During the course of the test, they found a positive reaction for nitroglycerin, a chemical commonly used when making explosive devices.

The TSA found the positive results shortly before the flight was supposed to take off at 2 p.m. They then notified the airport police, who brought in search dogs to sweep the plane. The dogs and police found no evidence of explosives though. The flight departed about two hours late and landed without issues in Amsterdam.

Though the test results showed no explosives — nitroglycerin is also used in ointments and prescriptions — some officials still expressed concern over the search mission. The TSA has been conducting tests like these for more than 10 years due to an agreement between the TSA and the European Union. But some officials that work at LAX weren’t aware of this agreement and were not informed of the check before it happened. Those officials are now requesting a meeting with the TSA to develop a standard operating procedure that will inform all groups of upcoming checks.

In a statement to NBC, the TSA noted that it uses multiple tools for passenger safety, including both highly visible and mostly unnoticeable processes, in order to keep security efforts flexible.

“In addition to introducing a high level of unpredictability, and therefore deterrence,” a TSA spokesman told NBC, “this type of random and unpredictable screening/inspection program represents another formidable layer of security and mitigates both unknown and insider threats.”

[Photo: Shutterstock]

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SandmanDFW March 4, 2017

Oh what the hell? As a pharmacist, I used to dispense NTG (med-speak for nitroglycerin) for angina pectoris patients every day of the week! Why is anybody so surprised that it is still used? It's effective, cheap, and on the World Health Organization's list of essential medications for ANY health care system in the world. We still dispense the sublingual tablets, the ointment, the patch and the intravenous forms. Get over it, already!