The bomb that exploded in Manhattan on Saturday contained residue of Tannerite, a legal product that's primary use is for target practice, which explode only when struck by a bullet from a high-powered rifle.
The brand-name product is defined as a "binary explosive" by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firerams and Exposives (ATF). This means it's sold in two inert pieces, said Jimmie Oxley, a chemistry professor at the University of Rhode Island, who added that it is not an explosive until the two parts are mixed.
The two separate parts are ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder, Oxley said. She added, however, that even when the two parts are mixed, it still won't explode: It still needs the impact of a bullet to go off.
Tannerite cannot be set off by a smoldering fuse, an electronic fuse, an electrical current, an open flame, impact with a hammer or even a low-velocity handgun, according to Steve Yerger, a corporate investigator for Tannerite.
It's a very stable product, he said.
The tannerite link to the Manhattan bombing came from a federal law enforcement official, who spoke on condition of anonymity Monday because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the ongoing investigation.
The point of Tennarite is for its users to easily determine whether their shot hit its intended target, Yerger said. Tannerite can be obtained in many sporting goods stores, the Associated Press reported. It's also available on the Tannerite website.
"We feel horrible that Tannerite has been associated with the bombing," Yerger said,
On its Facebook page Monday afternoon, the company said that "Tannerite Sports, like most, is now aware of the tragic events that took place in New York City and New Jersey on Saturday, September 17, 2016. The entire staff of Tannerite stands together in the abhorrence and unintended use of all products that are misused for violence and hate."
"It is unfortunate and sad to see products designed for safe and fun use in many manners to be linked to such hateful use and that innocent people are hurt in the act. Tannerite has worked directly with the FBI to help stop such events and we encourage the public to read the FBI Advisory that we developed in working with the FBI."
The ATF does not regulate the sale and distribution of the two chemicals used in Tannerite and similar products, even when sold together in binary "kits," the ATF said.
Mixing binary components together constitutes manufacturing explosives, according to the ATF: "Persons manufacturing explosives for their own personal, non-business use only (such as personal target practice) are not required to have a Federal explosives license or permit," the ATF said on its website.
"However, when the binary components are combined, the resulting mixture is an explosive material," the ATF warned. The ATF issued an advisory last year, warning that these products are "high explosives and should be treated with caution and in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions."
According to Tannerite, the company's corporate investigator is working to determine whehter the product was factually and positively identified in connection with the bombings Saturday. "At this time we are unable to validate the allegations due to it being an ongoing investigation," according to the company's Facebook page.
Copyright 2016 WFMY