Everyday Product Causes False Positive In TSA Screening For Owasso Woman

Monday, April 29th 2013, 10:05 pm
By: News On 6

You'll never believe what made an Owasso woman fail a Transportation Security Administration screening.

Just days after the Boston Marathon bombing, she was randomly chosen for a hand swab at an Ohio airport. TSA agents told her she tested positive for explosives, and what caused it is a common, everyday item.

"They said, 'You're testing for nitrates,'" Linda said.

She said she's still rattled by the incident, and did not want to use her last name. She was at the airport in Columbus, Ohio, when it happened.

Linda went through the X-ray, then TSA workers randomly chose her for a hand swab, which detects traces of explosives. And she tested positive.

"I was shocked. I don't know how that happened. The only thing that went through my mind was, 'What did I do? What did I touch?' because I had been at work all morning," Linda said.

Certain heart medicines containing nitroglycerines have set off the sensors, but Linda doesn't take heart pills. When she told agents she had lotion on her hands, they told her that was probably the problem.

Linda said she washed her hands at work that morning, then used the lotion on the counter and accidentally got too much, so she slathered it all the way up to her elbows, then went to the airport. Some soaps and hand lotions contain glycerin, which is an ingredient in explosives.

TSA agents patted down Linda's entire body in a private room and she was eventually cleared.

"I was probably in the little private room for 15 minutes, which was nerve-wracking," Linda said.

TSA says it has to balance security with convenience, and public safety isn't always convenient.

"You know, it's for our own good. It didn't bother me, it was just shocking," Linda said.

She said she's not chapped, but she won't use lotion the next time she flies.

In a statement, TSA tells us, "As with any technology, occasional false positives are possible. However, this technology is a valuable tool and one of many layers of security designed to keep travelers safe."

Lawn fertilizer on golf shoes and clubs has also set off TSA alarms.