When traveling abroad in the United States, if you fly and carry your personal hygiene items in your carry-on bag, there are limitations to what you can carry. Apparently, liquids, gels, and pastes are forbidden substances, if they're not in a clear bag. Because the clear bag makes all the difference in the world when preventing a terrorist attack.
I had no idea that toothpaste was considered a dangerous substance, or a liquid. On a recent flight to Dallas, I had my hygiene items in my travel case, a Wal-Mart bag, and thought that was sufficient. I was wrong.
The top-notch, highly-trained and educated Homeland Security agency, the Transportation Security Administration, or TSA, screened my bag and then decided that it warranted further searching. One of their crack agents had noticed that I had an unsecured tube of toothpaste not in the clear plastic bags. My bag was searched and the offending tube was removed and the TSA agent eyed my warily, "This tube is larger than 3.4 ounces and you are not allowed to bring it on a flight."
Now, don't get me wrong, I appreciate that there are measures in effect to protect our nation and keep air travel safe, I really do - but toothpaste?! Maybe I should have done a science fair project where I blew something up using Crest Whitening Mint flavor paste instead of baking soda and vinegar. I probably would have gotten something more than just a "Participant" ribbon.
After further research, I found that toothpaste actually does contain an explosive ingredient - propylene glycol, which "becomes deadly when added to a mixture of concentrated nitric and sulfuric acids creating the liquid explosive called metriol trinitrate, which is similar to nitroglycerine."
For now, I use a mini-tube (3.4 ounces) of toothpaste, hoping to show the government that I am not in fact a terrorist, but rather a dentally concerned citizen. Maybe next time, TSA should be on the lookout for nitric and sulfuric acids instead of my toothpaste.