Most of us dread our encounters with metal detectors at airports the most. The thought of being pulled out of line and searched by hand as our plane takes off without us is enough to make air travel unattractive. But airports aren’t the only place you may find a metal detector these days. Set one off on the way into a concert or school or round of jury duty, and you can face some frustrating or embarrassing delays. Be mindful of the following things that could potentially set a metal detector beeping.

Medical Devices

Metal detectors have a range of sensitivity, and depending on how the one you’re strolling through has been set, it may or may not detect that artificial hip or the ASTM F138 holding your fractured arm together. Hearing aids, pacemakers, and inhalers may also be problematical. Talk to your doctor about the best documentation to carry to justify your medical metal.

Clothes and Accessories

You probably know to drop your watch and your pocket change in the little tray before you walk through the detector. If you happen to stroll through one that’s particularly sensitive, you may find that things like rhinestones, studs, belt buckles, metal buttons, headbands, piercings, and underwire bras also set the thing dinging. Plan your attire and attachments accordingly.

The Truly Unexpected

Some people just seem to set metal detectors off no matter what, regardless of whether they’re carrying anything you’d expect to get detected. Medical problems that increase the amount of iron in your body may actually be a culprit. If you’re a frequent beeper, you might want to talk to your doctor about why you seem to be so metallic.

Metal detectors are a necessary inconvenience to increase public safety. With a little planning, you should be able to decrease your likelihood of setting one off or explaining yourself if you do.


Robert Gombos

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