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And you thought liquid checks were bad....Here come powders

And you thought liquid checks were bad....Here come powders

Old Sep 10, 09, 11:12 am
  #241  
 
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I just love the nonsense approach to all of this.
  1. Is the sample taken in a sterile environment?
  2. Is the sample taken using sterile technique?
  3. Is the sample taken using equipment that prevents both contamination of the sample from the environment and contamination of the environment by the sample?

The first time some minimally-trained TSO opens a hazardous powder in the non-sterile, non-laboratory environment that is a TSA C/P...
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Old Sep 10, 09, 1:40 pm
  #242  
 
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The Unpowder Plot

Originally Posted by HSVTSO Dean View Post
The sheeple in me demands to know: Why isn't TSA keeping me safe by Banning Gummy Bears immediately?

Originally Posted by HSVTSO Dean View Post
It's actually similar to this in terms of physical procedure. Note, however, that this stuff is NOT what we're going to be using,
I hope not! Tax Ripoff! Got to love selling to the government. "MSRP: $10,971.68 (GSA)" for three one ounce dropper bottles. For the same thing sold on the open market for $244.95

If OBL does show up with a pound jar of KClO3 The Mystery Banned Powder, the LAST thing I want to see five feet from me, WHILE I'M STANDING THERE WITH NO SHOES ON, is a non-chemist TSO, excited with thoughts of being awarded The Big Catch™ pin, fumbling and OPENING the jar then dropping it on the floor. (Plus cleanups of unknown chemical spills are not fast, easy or cheap.)

Only an outfit like TSA, who does not have to pay for a liability insurance policy, could propose such a bonehead idea as opening containers of unknown chemicals in a crowded public place, with no place to run, and the public in bare feet.

Of course, TSA's announcement about taking samples (opening containers) has already rendered the procedure obsolete. There are all sorts of nasty chemical and physical surprises, most of them not as harmless as this , that can be rigged in a jar if you know someone is going to open it. No batterys, wires or detonator needed--it looks exactly the same on the xray. TSA has just made the checkpoint a very dangerous place to be, both for pax and for TSOs, by providing the bad guys the opportunity to rig a jar.
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Old Sep 10, 09, 2:01 pm
  #243  
 
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Originally Posted by DevilDog438 View Post
  1. Is the sample taken in a sterile environment?
  2. Is the sample taken using sterile technique?
  3. Is the sample taken using equipment that prevents both contamination of the sample from the environment and contamination of the environment by the sample?
Predicted answers from TSA:
  1. Of course. The passengers have been screened by Highly Trained Professionals, and everyone else has had super-duper extra-strength Background Checks. (What do you mean, "not that kind of sterile"?)
  2. Does a dirty spoon with instant coffee gunk on it count?
  3. Blah blah blah we've thought of all that blah blah blah SSI blah blah blah sure whatever.

Originally Posted by DevilDog438 View Post
The first time some minimally-trained TSO opens a hazardous powder in the non-sterile, non-laboratory environment that is a TSA C/P...
I'm (still) thinking a*trh*x...
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Old Sep 10, 09, 2:24 pm
  #244  
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Originally Posted by HSVTSO Dean View Post
Keep your face away from it, though; like I said before, it's pungent, powerful stuff.
What will happen when someone with asthma, COPD, severe allergies inhales the fumes?
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Old Sep 10, 09, 2:58 pm
  #245  
 
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Originally Posted by doober View Post
What will happen when someone with asthma, COPD, severe allergies inhales the fumes?
If it really is that potent, then any TSO or nearby pax should be able to request a MSDS from TSA. @:-) (which would give away the chemistry of what they are looking for.) Of course, when asked, Blogdad Bob will scream "SSI". But will OSHA buy a National Security exception to the safety rules? Can't wait for the OSHA CYA memo "It is OK to poison a few federal employees and/or members of the general public, if the intention is to save them from being harmed by terrorists. After all, things are different in our Post 9/11 World™"
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Old Sep 10, 09, 3:08 pm
  #246  
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Originally Posted by Flaflyer View Post
If it really is that potent, then any TSO or nearby pax should be able to request a MSDS from TSA. @:-) (which would give away the chemistry of what they are looking for.) Of course, when asked, Blogdad Bob will scream "SSI".
If a MSDS exists, wouldn’t it be a matter of public record?
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Old Sep 10, 09, 3:11 pm
  #247  
 
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Originally Posted by HSVTSO Dean View Post
TSA hasn't really told us exactly how we're supposed to get the sample, just that we have to. I imagine it would be whatever way is best, and would make the least amount of mess. Powder goes onto a test pad, and some stuff is dropped into it with a dropper. Keep your face away from it, though; like I said before, it's pungent, powerful stuff.
Having worked during the *nthr*x event, I can think of much more dangerous things to do than expose a screener and unknown numbers of pax to an unknown "suspicious" powder.

Deliberately stabbing yourself in the eye with an ice pick, for instance. That would be more dangerous.

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Old Sep 11, 09, 12:33 am
  #248  
 
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Yes. I can finally comment now just like Dean has.

1) The powders are only going to be tested if they appear greenish semi-organic items on the x-ray and/or they're over 12oz.

2) A few of us are not pleased with the potency of the stuff. So far, they have not given us safety goggles, which would be nice. However, they have given the MSDS sheets to see.

It's treated like HAZMAT... if the bottle is still somewhat full and it needs to thrown out... it has to go into the checkpoint HAZMAT cabinet, if it's empty goes in the gahbage.

If it spills... then we gotta dig out our spill kit which guess what... HAS SAFETY GOGGLES and RUBBER GLOVES.


And this is why I want collective bargaining so we can tell HQ... we're not touching this s**t unless we have the proper protection. Just like they told us... "Oh hey... we have N95 masks in case a pandemic happens. But guess what... you can't wear them!"
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Old Sep 11, 09, 6:28 am
  #249  
 
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Originally Posted by LoganTSO View Post
1) The powders are only going to be tested if they appear greenish semi-organic items on the x-ray and/or they're over 12oz.
So you can see the color of the powder and its organic composition on an X-ray? What kind of technology is this? Seems way ahead of anything we use here on planet Earth.

And by the way, what is a "semi-organic" item?
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Old Sep 11, 09, 6:53 am
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Originally Posted by BubbaLoop View Post
And by the way, what is a "semi-organic" item?
Anything found on a fast-food menu.
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Old Sep 11, 09, 6:54 am
  #251  
 
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Originally Posted by BubbaLoop
So you can see the color of the powder and its organic composition on an X-ray? What kind of technology is this? Seems way ahead of anything we use here on planet Earth.
He's referring to the color of the image on the x-ray screen, not the actual color of the powder.

Take this image, for example.

You think the colors of the objects are assigned at random, or something, between the orange/green/blue?

(by the way, heh, just about everything you can see in that image is bad~)

I worked baggage yesterday so I wasn't at the checkpoint to see what happened throughout the afternoon. At the point of shift start, though, the morning STSO comes down and gives us an in-briefing.

Of the six and a half hours the new powder screening procedures have been in effect (we started on the 10th)... they haven't had anything come through the checkpoint yet to trigger the search.

Few and far between, indeed.
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Old Sep 11, 09, 7:29 am
  #252  
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Originally Posted by LoganTSO View Post
Yes. I can finally comment now just like Dean has.

1) The powders are only going to be tested if they appear greenish semi-organic items on the x-ray and/or they're over 12oz.

2) A few of us are not pleased with the potency of the stuff. So far, they have not given us safety goggles, which would be nice. However, they have given the MSDS sheets to see.

It's treated like HAZMAT... if the bottle is still somewhat full and it needs to thrown out... it has to go into the checkpoint HAZMAT cabinet, if it's empty goes in the gahbage.

If it spills... then we gotta dig out our spill kit which guess what... HAS SAFETY GOGGLES and RUBBER GLOVES.


And this is why I want collective bargaining so we can tell HQ... we're not touching this s**t unless we have the proper protection. Just like they told us... "Oh hey... we have N95 masks in case a pandemic happens. But guess what... you can't wear them!"
Ok, so TSA DOES have HAZMAT procedures in place. Why then does it throw explosive materials like shampoo and toothpaste in the garbage then?

If it's not treated as HAZMAT and handled accordingly, then clearly TSA thinks that the items aren't dangerous. So why can't we bring them on the plane then?
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Old Sep 11, 09, 7:36 am
  #253  
 
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Originally Posted by LoganTSO View Post
1) The powders are only going to be tested if they appear greenish semi-organic items on the x-ray and/or they're over 12oz.
Does your SSI SOP actually say "and/or"? This gives obvious scope for confusion at the checkpoint. Some of your colleagues will read this as "and", meaning only "semi-organic" powders over 12 oz will be tested. Others will read it as "or", meaning any powder over 12 oz will be tested, and any "semi-organic" powder will be tested.

So is the SOP deliberately vague on this, or would you like to provide a more exact description of the criteria for testing?

Originally Posted by LoganTSO View Post
It's treated like HAZMAT... if the bottle is still somewhat full and it needs to thrown out... it has to go into the checkpoint HAZMAT cabinet, if it's empty goes in the gahbage.
If it's empty, why do you need to take it away? Is this a new policy on confiscating empty containers?
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Old Sep 11, 09, 8:09 am
  #254  
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Originally Posted by RadioGirl View Post
If it's empty, why do you need to take it away? Is this a new policy on confiscating empty containers?
Maybe it wasn't empty until they used all the powder for testing.

What about people carrying injectable prescription drugs that get mixed with bacteriostatic water for use? Is the TSA going to render the drugs useless? (Federal law prohibits transfer without a prescription. Personally, I'd love to see the DEA come in and arrest some TSA agents.)
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Old Sep 11, 09, 8:13 am
  #255  
 
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Waiting for an artist type to bring powered tempura paints through the checkpoints and the resulting mess.
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