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Get the Lead Out

January 12, 1986

As a middle-aged, fair-skinned Englishwoman I don't exactly match the typical profile of a terrorist-hijacker. Yet when my small carry-on bag continued to trigger the security alarm at Heathrow Airport, even after I had removed pocketknife, keys, coins and every metal object, the inspector asked me to empty the bag. He examined every piece until he found the culprit: the tiny crystal figure of a swan I had bought in London. It was the lead content of the glass that activated the alarm.

The inspector was apologetic but he needn't have been. Far from being annoyed by it, the incident actually made me feel good. If all the aspects of airport security at Cairo and Athens had been as thorough, 60 lives may have been saved at Malta.

MRS. VERA OBLATT

Dana Point

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