A snow globe of a Canadian mountie and the Parliament buildings is polished by an employee of Parliament Souvenirs and News as an illustration for a story on tourism in Canada's capital city.
Credits: Darren Brown/QMI AGENCY
NIAGARA FALLS, ON - The snow globe - the small, iconic trinket associated with tourists spots like Niagara Falls - has been downgraded as a security threat by U.S. Homeland Security.
In the post-9/11 rush to keep airplane passengers safe, the snow globe was considered a security threat along with shampoo and toothpaste.
As of this month, the souvenir item is now permitted to be brought aboard airplanes departing the US in carry-on bags, but only if they meet size guidelines.
Lisa Farbstein, spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration, whose headquarters are in Arlington, VA, said snow globes must contain fewer than 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) of liquid.
"We were just trying to look at it as a risk-based security fashion," Farbstein said on why snow globes were seen as a threat. "We were very concerned about terrorists using liquid explosives. If we can limit the amount of the liquids, that minimizes the risk."
Snow globes larger than a tennis ball are still not allowed in carry on luggage.
The lift of the U.S. ban surprised tourists at Souvenir City in Niagara Falls, ON.
"They weren't allowed?" asked a bewildered Ziba Geramikhosh, of Toronto, who was playing the role as tour guide with family visiting from Iran. "I would have just packed it in a bag anyway."
Chris Alexander, the store's manager, said snow globes are a popular item at Souvenir City.
He said now the ban has been lifted on smaller globes leaving nearby U.S. international airports, there's still no rush to fill the order sheets for thousands of globes.
And advertising them as "now permitted as carry ons" isn't a marketing strategy he wants to pursue just yet.
"If sales go through the roof, I might," he said with a laugh.