I'm sorry, but I laughed my *** off when I read this. But, only because the same thing happened to me. I was producing a documentary in a prison. Myself and my producing partner went in to visit a few prisoners and were similarly subjected to this scan. They found a trace of some kind of illegal drug (they didn't tell me which one) on my keys and then asked me a number of questions about it. It freaked me out too. But later we were told that approximately 70% of all scans come up positive for some kind of drug or another (not sure the exact stat on what percentage of those are illegal ones). It's just like you said, it could have been from money you received, or a door handle, that bowl of mixed nuts at the bar, something that you touched before handling your wallet. There are more ways than I can count that this might have happened.Here is some information and a few similar accounts from an article written by the New York Civil Liberties Union, who are trying to get the system to stop relying on these scans for determining visitation rights in prisons:"If a positive reading results, a second scan is to be performed on the same area that elicited the positive result. If the second test is positive, then DOCS bars the visitor from visitation for two consecutive days. No further investigation is conducted into whether the individual actually possesses illegal drugs, even though the machine can only detect contact with traces of chemicals that may or may not have come from controlled substances
.One woman whose job requires her to handle lots of cash was devastated when she was informed that she tested positive for cocaine and heroin. She asked to be searched, but the officers told her that they could not do so. The next time she went to visit her husband in prison one of the correctional officers jokingly asked her, “What’s on your hands today?” Then, he told her that on the same day she was scanned, he asked the ion scan team to test him; he, too, tested positive for cocaine and heroin. He reasoned that he had touched people and money all day.After working all day, a man from New Jersey drove eight hours to see a childhood friend who had lost both of his parents and was having a difficult time in prison. After he was tested with the ion scanner and the results were positive for cocaine, he insisted that he does not use drugs and offered to be searched. He noticed that the machine was not cleaned after prior use and that the two individuals tested before him also tested positive for cocaine. Having gone to the prison with another friend who was not scanned, he waited six hours before driving all the way home.Another woman, who was taking codeine-based painkillers prescribed by her doctor for back treatment, tested positive for heroin with the ion scanner. Alarmed by the results, as she has never even seen heroin let alone used or possessed any illegal narcotics, she asked to be searched, but at no avail. She was denied visitation for two days. Determined to visit her loved one even at the expense of her own health, after the incident she stopped taking her medication."The full article is here: http://www.nyclu.org...ltr_032404.html
It goes on to explain how the scanners are faulty because they cannot prove either drug use or possession.Also, having miniscule traces of an illegal drug present on your clothing or possessions is not illegal. They use the scan in order to help them determine who to question. They know that most people who come up positive have done nothing wrong, and even if they did they would have no legal groung to stand on. The most they could do is detain you and question you some more while trying to find some real evidence of wrongdoing. The article continues:"...innocent, inadvertent contact with drugs is frequent and widely acknowledged. For example, numerous scientific studies have shown that drug residue is commonly found on currency. In particular, cocaine attaches to bills, which in turn contaminates other materials with which it comes in contact. Third, the machines themselves can become contaminated from residues left in the equipment from prior scans. Indeed, extremely small amounts yield a positive signal."What they are really looking for with the scan is bomb-making materials. If that shows up on the scan, then I might be worried. But that wouldn't happen by accident.So, relax next time at the airport. Your reaction is really all they're looking for. Obviously they felt you had nothing to hide.