Airline passengers once more will be allowed to carry cigarette lighters and breast milk on board, as the Transportation Safety Administration lifts two restrictions that have been costly and problematic.
Starting today, disposable butane lighters and refillable lighters -- banned since 2005 -- will be permitted on flights. Torch-style lighters, which have hotter flames, still will be banned.
The United States was the only nation to prohibit carry-on lighters, and last year Congress gave the TSA discretion to drop the ban if it was not enhancing aviation security. Other items that are not banned can be used to ignite a bomb, including matches and small batteries.
Lighters are the leading item seized at airport checkpoints, an average of more than 22,000 a day. It costs TSA $4 million a year to dispose of them because they contain hazardous materials.
TSA administrator Kip Hawley told The Associated Press that lifting the ban on lighters would allow security officers more time to focus on preventing passengers from carrying explosives and weapons on board.
The other rule change on today applies to mothers who want to bring more than 3 ounces of breast milk onto an airplane. Under current rules, the passenger carrying the milk must be accompanied by an infant, but the new rules drop that requirement. The liquid will still have to be declared to screeners who might request additional inspection.
Angela Burton of Yorktown -- a local representative of the La Leche League, a nationwide organization that provides education and support for breast-feeding mothers -- said the new rule will particularly benefit mothers who are traveling without their small children. A nursing mother might produce 20 ounces of milk per day, which would be wasted if she could only carry 3 ounces on a plane or if she couldn't carry it at all unless her child was traveling with her.
"People have been lobbying very hard to get that restriction lifted," Burton said. "We've been getting calls from people asking, 'What can I do?' We're very happy that this change is finally happening."
The ban on breast milk dates back to Aug. 10, 2006, when the TSA instituted a complete ban on liquids, gels and aerosols. That ban was revised last September to allow travel-sized amounts in 3-ounce containers contained in one clear, zip-top plastic bag per traveler.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.