Aluminum foil is a form of insulation, but in the case of an attack on a US airliner, it could also be deadly.
Reuters has published a report citing the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) which found that aluminum foil could be “a weapon of mass destruction” if used in a manner designed to cause a catastrophic explosion, as well as by placing a large quantity of it into a cavity.
It was not immediately clear whether this was a new design or a more recently discovered one, although Reuters says the new design would allow the foil to fall into a small cavity or to break apart, creating a small amount of a chemical that could be inhaled.
The NIST report notes that a number of states have banned or restricted the use of aluminum foil in their state airspace, citing the threat of “fire and explosion” to people.
This is not the first time aluminum foil has been used in the US in a terrorist attack.
It was used in 2002 in the attack on the USS Cole and the USS Fitzgerald, which sank off the coast of Iran.
In 2011, it was used by al-Qaeda to bomb the US Capitol building in Washington DC, where the Republican and Democratic leadership were gathered, killing 17 people.
Reuters says that the United States has a history of using aluminum foil to protect aircraft from terrorists.
The US was one of the first countries to ban the use in the 1990s of aluminum as a weapon.
However, there are still some aluminum foil products that have been banned in the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates, Reuters reports.
The report cites the US as one of only two countries where aluminum foil can be used as a “weapon of mass death”.
The other is Saudi Arabia.