A screening procedure that sort of makes sense, the hand ETD test

Discussion in 'Aviation Passenger Security in the USA' started by INK, Sep 11, 2011.

  1. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    I'm pretty sure that lack predates their employment by the TSA, and is likely a requirement.
  2. INK

    INK Original Member

    I have had a bit of experience with trace chemical detection. I used to do spectrochemical analysis of lubricating oils. Well, I did not do it, I collected samples for a lab to do. We would get a report back with the elevated chemicals highlighted, with warnings when our oil was about to fail. There are three specific instances that stand out.

    The first was a rapid increase in silicon. We we warned that silicon is usually found in dirt and that our oil had been contaminated by dirt. We changed the oil in 8 units, 50 gal per unit. Turns out that elemental silicon is also present in silicone. (Well, duh.) We had just switched to silicone grease that was "contaminating" the oil. From that point we had to ignore all silicon indications.

    Then we had the increase in TAN, or total acid number. This is an indication that the oil may have been contaminated by an acidic component. It had. A high acid coating on one of our papers had migrated to the oil through a leaking seal in a water roller. Good catch this time, but totally unrelated to an oil problem, and also benign.

    Finally, we get a report of a high level of copper. Copper is a component of brass used in bushings and worm gears. The press was shut down and a complete inspection was done for worn components that came up negative. Once again, an anti-seize compound with a high level of copper was found to be the culprit. It had been used on an internal component and had leached into the oil.

    The spectrochemical analysis found lots of potentially severe problems, but these false positives stand out. Often, it is the intelligent analysis of the analysis that makes the analysis really valuable. Jumping to conclusions, generally gets one nowhere.

    As many on this board would like to use ETD as a primary screening, I am skeptical that there will be a whole lot more conclusion jumping and not much intelligent analysis.
    barbell and nachtnebel like this.
  3. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    Evidence suggests that jumping to conclusions is the only exercise most TSA employees get, and if they were actually capable of intelligent analysis (and didn't enjoy the TSA power trip so much) they wouldn't be working there.
  4. RB

    RB Founding Member

    AS long as TSA ETDs alarm on hand lotion I say the test is worthless for testing large numbers of people.
  5. I was thinking... We've done a great analysis of the ETD problems here, and it only took us a couple days. And we're just a bunch of folks on the internet. The government would spend millions on a study to come to these same conclusions, with expert panels and pilot programs, but really, this one's pretty straightforward. So it strikes me that perhaps this test is goofy by design. It gives the appearance of a very useful layer of security, and yet it gives plenty of false positives which require a thorough search of the genital area, where people might be hiding drugs and, well, turtles and birds, and whatever else they might be smuggling. So could this be part of the overall dragnet they're running? Just a thought.
  6. DeafBlonde

    DeafBlonde Original Member

    My thoughts exactly. I think this was the purpose for the Nude-O-Scopes and Sexual Molestations all along. I doubt if you could get anyone to admit it, though! Piss-hole (John Pistole) and Nappy-(expletive deleted) (Janet Napolinito) should both be hung from the tallest tree in Texas! :mad:
    jtodd likes this.
  7. Doober

    Doober Original Member

    (expletive deleted), the TSA refuses to delineate the product, hydrogen peroxide, in Clear Care contact lens cleaner that renders it "contraband." Neither will they state directly that Clear Care is not allowed.
    barbell and Lisa Simeone like this.
  8. golfguy714

    golfguy714 Original Member

    Hello everyone,
    I am that person from the other side that had this experience at CMH. Here is a new one for everyone. I have been working in Richmond, Va. for the last 3 months. At RIC they run everyone thru the NOS so I opt out every Friday, so much so, that when they see me they call for a male assist.:) One thing at RIC that they do before they grope you is they change thier gloves and then test them in the ETD machine. Last Friday when waiting for my pat down, the blue shirt could not get any of the gloves to pass the ETD test BEFORE he touched me or any of my items. A supervisor came over and had him try 3 different sizes of gloves and all alarmed the machine. They checked the calibration of the machine and it was fine. The supervisor decided that the gloves were contaminated and I had 2 choices: 1) go thru the NOS or 2) get my pat down by the clerk with no gloves. I chose #2 and it was the shortest, least intrusive pat down I have ever gotten. Should be interesting this week to see what happens on the ETD lottery!

    [coached by barbell to clean up errant code. You're welcome!]
  9. Pesky Monkey

    Pesky Monkey Original Member

    My idea: get a machine that actually works.
    barbell likes this.
  10. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    ...and some employees who actually got a passing grade in high school chemistry to run it.
  11. RB

    RB Founding Member

    How about some people that passed high school.
    barbell likes this.
  12. Doober

    Doober Original Member

    You need to send this information to the media - maybe somebody will pick up on it.
  13. Elizabeth Conley

    Elizabeth Conley Original Member

    Wow! I am so impressed with that supervisor. S/he is a cut above the rest.
  14. DeafBlonde

    DeafBlonde Original Member

    Very interesting outcome, especially the fact that the supe used some common sense. Just curious, golfguy714, did you request that your "patter-downer" wash his hands first? I would think that whatever was contaminating the gloves was on his hands as well.
  15. Elizabeth Conley

    Elizabeth Conley Original Member

    Y'know, on one level I agree that the screener might wisely and considerately wash his hands before and after. On the other hand, (no pun intended), there's a considerably higher level of good will and acceptance of mutual risk in this interaction. The screener accepts that touching the traveler might make him ill, and the traveler accepts the pat-down might make him ill. It's not ideal, but it's an order of magnitude more decent and mutually respectful than the TSA's typical interactions with travelers.

  16. It would be an interesting exercise to insist that screeners swab their own hands even before putting on gloves. I wonder how often a screener's own hand lotion has triggered a false positive?
  17. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    What kind of hand lotion do they use in the Nude-O-Scope booth, anyway?

  18. barbell

    barbell Coach Coach

    I always insist on a swab prior to a groping.

    I can't wait for the day they alarm before even touching me. I'm going to scream at the top of my lungs, "What do you have to hide? Do you have a bomb in your pants?!?!?!?!" I'm going to make as big a deal out of them, as they do of us. And in the ensuing circling of the intimidation wagon, I'm going to be an incredibly loud and obnoxious a-hole. Turnabout is fair play in my book.
    Doober likes this.
  19. golfguy714

    golfguy714 Original Member

    Yes he did wash his hands before I could ask him to do it.
  20. Cartoon Peril

    Cartoon Peril Original Member

    You might need one of these.

Share This Page