TSA to expand security for powder canisters in carry-on bags

June 20 (UPI) — The U.S. Transportation Security Administration will soon expand a policy that gives extra screening to canisters containing powders to foreign airports that send flights to the United States.

The security agency began having its screeners watch for powder containers last summer, mindful that potentially hazardous materials could be smuggled onto jetliners in that fashion. Screeners are watching for canisters that hold more than 350 milliliters, or about the size of a soda can.

Starting Wednesday, TSA and airlines began an awareness campaign to explain the change. And starting June 30, the agency will ask foreign airports with direct flights to the United States to do the same.

The rule asks passengers to pack larger containers of powder in checked luggage instead of carry-on bags.

The agency said the change is not a ban on powder cans, but screeners could confiscate them at security checkpoints if they are found in carry-on luggage.

Products like baby powder, protein mixes and spices will be allowed in large containers in checked luggage. Gun powder is prohibited from checked or carry-on luggage.

The change addresses concerns that bomb-making elements, weaponized materials or drugs could be smuggled onto planes disguised in the powder canisters.

The TSA already bars carrying on liquids or gels in larger sizes into the passenger cabin, and last summer began giving extra scrutiny to electronic devices larger than a cellphone. Foreign airports with direct U.S. flights followed suit by implementing that change.

A full list of carry-on items permitted on flights can be found on the TSA website.

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