Lew, parents of small children have been quietly accepting this procedure of high school dropouts playing forensic chemists at airports for some time. Since my final airline flight this past Christmas was the first time I flew with bottles of milk for my daughter, I, too, quietly accepted this possibly dangerous humiliation. A parent can bring liquids and gels for their babies (i.e., milk or pureed baby food), but every item is tested for fumes.
As an experienced biochemist, I was watching my TSA “technicians” like a hawk. I was disturbed (though not surprised) that I was given absolutely no information about what was being waived over my daughter’s milk. I have also been unsuccessful in finding information online about what this test is and what chemicals are used. The experience just made it that much easier to “quit” flying — traveling with a baby is difficult enough without all of the security nonsense (heft the stroller onto the x-ray belt while simultaneously holding the baby in your arms; take off the baby’s jacket and shoes; oh — and have her food tested for explosives).
I suppose parents are just happy that they don’t have to drink the milk (the crazy policy first instituted by TSA post-shampoo bomb) and are “allowed” to take bottles with them for their young children. Yes — we should all be grateful for the compassion of our Masters!2:58 pm on January 8, 2011 Email Kathryn Muratore