why does airport security swab your hands

The swabs are used to check for explosives and/or drugs. Indeed, if you manipulated any such substances in the near past, it's likely that traces can still be found on your hands, and on the things your hands usually touch: bag handles, zippers, pockets, etc. If you pay close attention during the checks, these parts of your personal belongings are the ones that are usually swabbed. While going through checkpoints, you might have seen officers using little white swabs at TSA checkpoints at one point or another. In case you had no idea what our officers were doing, they were conducting state of the art Explosives Trace Detection (ETD) tests. And all along you thought they were giving your items a complimentary cleaningБ
ETD tests are used in checkpoint, checked baggage, and cargo environments. We swab things such as laptops, shoes, film, cell phones, bags, wheelchairs, hands, casts - you name it.


Certain procedures call for an ETD test. Basically, our officers run the white swab over the area in question to collect a trace sample. They then place the swab in the ETD machinery which analyzes the sample for extremely small traces of explosives. The test takes a matter of seconds. [. ] So as you travel, you might be asked for a swab of your hands at the checkpoint or gate. ItБs painless and quick. The swabs are disposed of after each use and will not be used on more than one person. Hi All, I finally have a minute to write an interesting tidbit to my re-entry in the US from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. We have been home now for 4 days (boo hoo! ). Anyways, here is my story- (it may help you too). We had the TSA Pre-check with Alaska Airlines which allowed us to not have to take off our shoes, etc. (We were in LA on the second leg of our flight).


However, they decide if they want to, to select people randomly (who have a clearance for TSA Pre-check) to go through the regular security where you have to do all that. They picked my husband and he went to do that. I went through the TSA Pre-check as usual. I walked through and the security guy asked me to step aside. He said, show me your hands. I did. He got out a little white cloth that was something like 1 inch by 4 inches and swiped my hands (especially my left hand) methodically in 4 specific swipe directions. He said, I want to see what you had for lunch. (huh? ). Then he put that piece of cloth into a slit in a machine and it was there for a few seconds and then brought it out to look at it. So- while this is going on I realized the reason he may be doing this.


I looked at my left hand and saw there was still a little black on it. Just before we left to the airport, I ran over to get a quick peek at Vallarta Sun Hotel. (so cute! ). When I left, the desk guy buzzed the gate to un-lock and I grabbed the black rail and opened it and walked through. Thought nothing of it. Then I realized my left hand was really sticky and I couldn t open it well without trying really hard. Oh dear! They must have painted that gate! I ran over to Playa Los Arcos Hotel and the front guys tried to scrub it off with soap and water and it would not work. They said, follow me. Took me over to Los Arcos Suites Hotel to an underground parking lot (never knew that was there) and lots of spanish was being spoken to another guy. Then they opened up a locked door and one guy went in to a big open barrel and poured some liquid onto a cloth.


He came out of the room. They looked at each other and each started scrubbing my hand. Then the one guy said, Don t light a match! hahaha. Finally we got most of it off but there was still some black coloration in one of my fingers. We walked out and there was a guy right there pressure washing the sidewalk and I asked if I could put my hand under the streaming water. He turned the nozzle and I immediately put it under because I had to get that stuff they used off of it. It really stunk bad (turpentine? paint thinner? ). So after that I ran over to Playa and we had to throw our bags into a taxi and take off to the airport. So that s why my hands set off the security at the airport. Interesting how such a little thing could be detected a few hours later.

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