The TSA recently announced that airline passengers may now carry up to 12 ounces of hand sanitizer in their carryon bags. In the good old days — you know, before COVID-19 — people could only bring 3.4 ounces of the stuff with them.
Because TSA deemed many liquids, aerosols, gels, creams, and pastes as security threats and dangerous, y’see.
But because of COVID-19 and the need for everyone to be as sanitary as possible, the TSA has upped the hand sanitizer to 12 ounces. Per passenger.
Now, that’s certainly gracious of them. But I have two questions:
1. How the heck much hand sanitizer does someone need between during an entire trip? (Unless the trip spans many months). Like, when people bought ten cases of toilet paper a couple of months ago, they should’ve visited their doctor if their bodies required so much Charmin.
My wife and I bought a few 12-ounce bottles of hand sanitizer three years ago when our daughter was born. We still haven’t emptied any of them.
Even an FAA study says so:
…. hand sanitizer, which is approximately 60% alcohol by volume, is flammable and can easily be ignited with a common grill lighter when poured into a pan. It tends to burn relatively coolly (compared to fuel, plastic, or cellulose fires) with peak flame temperatures between 500° and 1000°F. The observed temperatures above the flame were higher for the liquid hand sanitizer compared to the gel. The vapor is flammable and can be ignited by heating the liquid from the bottom and then igniting the vapor. The hot liquid does not have to be present to ignite the vapor; however, the vapor could not be ignited at room or elevated ambient temperatures (up to 100°F) without bottom-heating the hand sanitizer. When a nearly full bottle of hand sanitizer was involved in a fire started by burning paper towels, it burned hotter and somewhat vigorously. At one point, a fire burning adjacently to a 12-ounce liquid bottle of hand sanitizer reached temperatures in excess of 1500°F.
(“Need help lighting that jet engine, Captain? Look no further! I have a 12-ounce bottle of hand sanitizer in my laptop bag! No need to thank me.”)
Now, in all fairness, the same study says:
Typical aircraft interior panels, oriented horizontally or vertically, did not ignite and burn independently, nor was there any significant damage, when exposed to burning hand sanitizer for 10-20 minutes. From the tests conducted, burning hand sanitizer does not pose any significant risk to commercial transport fire safety, given the present cabin material flammability requirements.
These are the government’s words. So we can trust them 100%.
Big, Deal, Chris! Other Alcohol is Allowed on Board!
Oh, I know.
Yes, liquor is flammable. (Don’t ask me how I know. But no one was critically hurt and my friend physically recovered within day or two. Though he never has to shave part of his face again.)
So why can’t we bring 12 ounces of our favorite libations on board?
Shouldn’t We Able to Bring More of Our “Safe” Items on Board?
Exactly. And that’s my point.
Hand sanitizer can be dangerous in the wrong, ill-intentioned hands. But, by all means, a group of ne’er-do-wells could cause some trouble by incinerating a bunch of hand sanitizer.
I highly doubt that will happen. This post isn’t about creating fear, I promise.
What gets my goat is why TSA gives the go-ahead for more hand sanitizer but not, say, bottled water — especially when service is limited on so many flights. Yes, we can purchase bottled water for a bazillion dollars at the airport. But it’d be nice if — especially during these times — we could bring our own.
Similarly, why doesn’t TSA give the go-ahead for increases in shampoo, shower gel, and some other toiletries?
I shouldn’t be surprised the Theatre of Security Arts created another odd rule. We’ve been dealing with this for nearly 20 years. But that’s more than enough time for the agency to have figured out some of this stuff.
What Do You Think?
Much do about anything? Or should TSA allow increases in other gels, liquids, etc?
Please share your thoughts in the below Comments section. (And keep it flame-free. 😉 I’m on fire today!)
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