CLOSE
Original image
TSA Blog

What Does The TSA Do With Your Confiscated Stuff?

Original image
TSA Blog

Reader Aly, returning from a trip, asks, “What does the TSA do with all those confiscated items? Mostly, they confiscated my shampoo and I want it back, but I am also curious.”

The Transportation Security Administration confiscates all sorts of stuff—which they call “Voluntary Abandoned Property”—at security checkpoints, from handguns and knives to shampoo bottles that are just a little too big for their liking. Where’s it all go? You might assume that TSA screeners just pocket what they want and take it home, but that’s not normally the case. The TSA says it maintains a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to theft, and getting caught with abandoned property is grounds for termination. 

Instead, your confiscated goods usually meet one of three fates: they can be sold, donated or disposed of. 

The TSA is prohibited by law from profiting from items surrendered to them, but other government agencies’ hands aren’t tied the same way. Stuff that could potentially be resold is turned over to the states, who flip what they can in government-run surplus centers and online auction sites like eBay or GovDeals. The return on this isn’t half bad, and the state of Pennsylvania says it made some $800,000 in revenue from re-selling confiscated property online between 2004 and 2012. 

Other stuff is donated to local non-profit organizations, schools and government agencies, who can either use it—scissors might go to underfunded schools, mace might go to police departments or academies—or sell it. 

Aly’s shampoo and most other prohibited liquids and chemicals are simply thrown out. These used to get donated or sold, but the TSA stopped doing that when they realized the liability risk. That shampoo might not really be shampoo, or a water bottle might not be full of actual H2O, so it’s safer and more efficient to just dispose of whatever it is. 

That leads us to another question: If your more-than-3.4-ounce container isn’t allowed on the flight for fear of you blowing up the plane, why is it okay in a trashcan in the airport? According to the TSA, the issue isn’t any one container of liquid, but someone using liquid explosives and other components to make an explosive device on the plane. Without all the other necessary components to complete the bomb, the liquid in the trashcan, on its own, is considered less of a threat. 

Weapons and other select items have their own protocols. If someone tries to board a plane with a handgun on them, for example, local law enforcement is called to investigate, and may take the weapon and arrest or cite the person who had it. 

Original image
iStock
arrow
Big Questions
What Is the Difference Between Generic and Name Brand Ibuprofen?
Original image
iStock

What is the difference between generic ibuprofen vs. name brands?

Yali Friedman:

I just published a paper that answers this question: Are Generic Drugs Less Safe than their Branded Equivalents?

Here’s the tl;dr version:

Generic drugs are versions of drugs made by companies other than the company which originally developed the drug.

To gain FDA approval, a generic drug must:

  • Contain the same active ingredients as the innovator drug (inactive ingredients may vary)
  • Be identical in strength, dosage form, and route of administration
  • Have the same use indications
  • Be bioequivalent
  • Meet the same batch requirements for identity, strength, purity, and quality
  • Be manufactured under the same strict standards of FDA's good manufacturing practice regulations required for innovator products

I hope you found this answer useful. Feel free to reach out at www.thinkbiotech.com. For more on generic drugs, you can see our resources and whitepapers at Pharmaceutical strategic guidance and whitepapers

This post originally appeared on Quora. Click here to view.

Original image
iStock
arrow
Big Questions
Do Cats Fart?
Original image
iStock

Certain philosophical questions can invade even the most disciplined of minds. Do aliens exist? Can a soul ever be measured? Do cats fart?

While the latter may not have weighed heavily on some of history’s great brains, it’s certainly no less deserving of an answer. And in contrast to existential queries, there’s a pretty definitive response: Yes, they do. We just don’t really hear it.

According to veterinarians who have realized their job sometimes involves answering inane questions about animals passing gas, cats have all the biological hardware necessary for a fart: a gastrointestinal system and an anus. When excess air builds up as a result of gulping breaths or gut bacteria, a pungent cloud will be released from their rear ends. Smell a kitten’s butt sometime and you’ll walk away convinced that cats fart.

The discretion, or lack of audible farts, is probably due to the fact that cats don’t gulp their food like dogs do, leading to less air accumulating in their digestive tract.

So, yes, cats do fart. But they do it with the same grace and stealth they use to approach everything else. Think about that the next time you blame the dog.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios