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Pets face trip in X-ray scanner to travel in hold

Airline travellers with large pets will, if they are allowed to travel with them, have to put them in the hold as they are not allowed in the cabin, which may mean they will go through the baggage X-ray scanner like all luggage.

However, some passengers fear X-rays endanger the animals’ health and have asked airports and the civil aviation authority for information.

The French civil aviation authority DGAC’s  technical section (STAC) looked at French and European Union rules plus X-ray scanner documentation and said humans and animals would need to go through a baggage scanner 250 times to reach the maximum human exposure level.

It concludes there is no risk to the health of an animal that passes through a scanner.

Scanner firm HTDS agrees, saying dosimeter tests found 200 trips through a scanner gave 0.60mSv when the human safe level is 1mSv/year and unsafe exposure starts above 500mSv. 

Some airlines do not allow animals to travel in the hold – or in the cabin – and, similarly, some airports allow passengers to walk their animals through a scanner, as humans do, but others only offer a journey through a baggage scanner.

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