Breast Milk, Non-Torch Lighters OK as Carry-Ons

The Transportation Security Administration announced that as of Aug. 4 it will no longer enforce the ban on breast milk and common lighters in carry-on luggage, saying the lift will help free up agency resources to better concentrate on detecting explosive threats. Torch lighters will continue to be banned. TSA said it collects more than 22,000 lighters a day and that those represent a high percentage of all prohibited items surrendered at checkpoints nationwide. "Explosives remain the most significant threat to aviation," said Kip Hawley, TSA administrator. "By enabling our officers to focus on the greatest threats, we are using our officers' time and energy more effectively and increasing security for passengers."

As for carrying breast milk through security checkpoints, TSA says mothers flying with or without their child will be permitted to bring breast milk in quantities greater than three ounces as long as it is declared for inspection at the security checkpoint.

TSA says these procedural adjustments were developed based on process and effectiveness studies, feedback from the workforce, and consultation with airports, airlines, and other security partners. This marks the third modification to security procedures in the last year. On August 10, 2006, a complete ban on liquids, gels, and aerosols was implemented immediately following the thwarted terror plot in the United Kingdom, and the update to those measures permitting travel-size amounts of liquids went into effect in September of 2006.

Having notified Congress of the changes, TSA will begin training its workforce of 43,000 security officers. The United States previously was the only nation in the world to prohibit lighters from carry-ons. TSA says that lifting the breast milk/lighters ban is another step in its efforts to harmonize security measures with international partners. Since August 2006, 59 countries around the world have adopted the 3-1-1 standard for liquids, gels and aerosols: three ounce containers, in one clear zip-top plastic bag, and one bag per traveler at the checkpoint.

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