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Our article provides an explanation and description of the increased use of explosives trace devices to test passengers for exposure to materials that could be used to create bombs or other IEDs.

 

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Explosive Trace Detection Technology

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced in February, 2009 that it was expanding the random use of Explosive Trace Detection (ETD) technology at airports nationwide as an additional layer of security.

“Explosive Trace Detection technology is a critical tool in our ability to stay ahead of evolving threats to aviation security,” said TSA Acting Administrator Gale Rossides. “Expanding the use of this technology at checkpoints and at departure gates greatly enhances security to keep the traveling public safe.”

Since the Christmas Day failed terrorism attack TSA has increased its random use of ETD technology within security checkpoints to screen passengers’ hands and carry-on luggage.  The presumption is that the devices would have "sniffed" the explosives residue on the hands of the "underpants bomber".

Passengers can now expect to see the increased random use of ETD technology in areas where TSA  conducts screenings, such as the security checkpoint, as well as in the checkpoint queue, and boarding areas.

Officers may swab a piece of luggage or passengers’ hands, then use ETD technology to test for explosives. The swab is placed inside the ETD unit which analyzes the content for the presence of potential explosive residue.

To ensure the health of travelers, screening swabs are disposed of after each use. Since it will be used on a random basis, passengers should not expect to see the same thing at every airport or each time they travel.

 

 

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