Ask Liz: Full Body Scanners, Coffee Grounds & Liquor Expiration

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By Liz Crenshaw and Katie Roberts
|  Friday, Dec 3, 2010  |  Updated 6:30 PM EDT
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Ask Liz: Full Body Scanners, Coffee Grounds & Liquor Expiration

Ask Liz: 10-31-08

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Is it a good idea to dump coffee grounds down the garbage disposal? We checked with the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission:

  • Experts there tell us it is NOT a good idea to dump coffee grounds down the sink.
  • The grounds settle in the trap of the disposal instead of going down the drain-- and can eventually clog up your sewer line.
  • WSSC recommends dumping those coffee grounds in the trash instead.

Is the radiation from the new airport full body scanners dangerous? The Transportation Security Administration says:

  • There are two new systems for checking passengers. One is called millimeter wave AIT and the other is backscatter x-ray AIT. AIT stands for Advanced Imaging Technology.
  • Millimeter wave AIT uses radio frequency energy to generate a 3-D image of the body. Energy projected by this technology is about 10 thousand times less than a cell phone transmission.
  • The backscatter x-ray uses a low-energy x-ray beam to scan the surface of the body at a high speed. Radiation exposure from one backscatter scan is about the same as 2 minutes of flying or 17 minutes of ordinary living.
  • Also, the full body screening is optional for all passengers, and those who don’t want the full body scan will receive an alternative screening... including a physical pat down.

Does liquor like vodka or rum have a shelf life? The Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control told us:

  • Distilled spirits do NOT spoil unless they are mixed with something else.
  • A regular bottle of liquor, such as rum or vodka, is fine even after it is opened.
  • However, it’s important to always check the label because some drinks like eggnog DO need to be refrigerated after opening.

Got a question for "Ask Liz"? Send any consumer questions to askliz@nbcwashington.com.

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