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Airlines Verify Checked Luggage for HazMat’s

January 11th, 2011 by Howard Skolnik

Filed under: HazMat, Safety

For those that fly commercially, airport security checks are a familiar event. However, not many people are aware of the unseen security checks that are performed on baggage that is checked. All passenger baggage is screened by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in conjunction with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in search of hazardous items. If the TSA sees something that they think might be hazardous in checked baggage, they are required to contact the carrier. The carrier then makes the determination if it is or is not dangerous, and if it is, removes the material. The carrier is then required to report the confiscation (if it is indeed a hazmat) to the FAA. Each year, tens of thousands of items are found in checked baggage and reported to the FAA. The FAA then does their own investigation. Typically they send a letter to the passenger notifying them that they violated the Hazardous Materials regulations and could be subject to fines. You can check out 49 CFR 175.25 to read about the signage requirements to be posted in airports where ever bags are checked, planes are boarded or tickets are issued. You will also see that passengers violating these regulations can be subject to hazmat fines of up to $250,000 and up to 5 years in prison! While it might seem inconceivable to regular travelers, one would be astonished to see how many hazardous items, and the variety of items, that are confiscated out of passenger baggage. Everything from fireworks, to gas cans (with fuel), to lawnmowers, chainsaws and even grenades!

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