European Union tests new airport scanners for cosmetic controls

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Personal care products Cosmetics European union

Tests are being carried out on new scanning equipment in airports across the European Union that could see current restrictions on traveling with cosmetics lifted.

EU authorities have confirmed that pilot testing on scanning equipment specially developed to test for liquids is being carried out in a select number of key airports across the region in a move that could see current restrictions lifted within a year.

Restrictions have been in place in all European Union airports, and to varying degrees in other airports worldwide, since a Transatlantic bombing plot was uncovered in August 2006.

Travelling with cosmetics

Not only has this led to significant delays at airport security points and increased costs significantly, it has also meant that passengers have been unable to hand carry a range of liquid- or gel-based personal care products unless they are below a specific size limit.

In the European Union that size limit is 100ml and the standard request is that passengers carry such cosmetic or personal care products in a clear zip-lock plastic bag.

Beauty players claim these measures have impacted their businesses, particularly in the luxury duty free segment, as many passengers remain unsure of what products they can and cannot carry on board.

X-ray beam verifies spectral signature

The equipment works by airport staff first scanning the bar code for the product and then running an X-ray beam through it to verify that its unique spectral signature can be confirmed, a Sky News article stated.

This means that the equipment can be used to determine the difference between standard cosmetics ingredients such as aqua or alcohol, compared with potentially dangerous ingredients such as high amounts of base ingredients such as hydrogen peroxide or liquid nitroglycerin.

The equipment has been developed by UK company Kromek, and is also being tested at major airports in Asia, with the aim of replacing conventional conveyor belt scanners, which can simply detect the presence of liquids and gels but cannot analyse them.

Related topics Market Trends

Related news