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Travelers Exposed To Radiation? Paper Says Airline Broke Rules On Shipping Radioactive Boxes

Passengers aboard a recent KLM flight to London from Amsterdam were exposed to excessive amounts of radiation, a newspaper reported Sunday.

The airline denied that travelers received inordinate doses of radiation, but the British Broadcasting Corp. quoted Dutch authorities as saying that KLM broke safety regulations.

That may result in suspension of the airline’s license to transport dangerous objects, an unidentified Dutch transport ministry spokesman told the BBC.

Flight KL129 on May 2 was transporting technetium generators used in X-ray equipment from the Dutch manufacturer Mallinckrodt Medical.

The equipment was destined for a hospital in southern England, The Observer newspaper reported.

Upon landing at London’s Heathrow airport, an inspector from Britain’s National Radiological Protection Board checked the cargo - small plastic radioactive boxes packaged in lead.

The Observer quoted unidentified government investigators as saying that passengers in rows six and seven of the aircraft may have been exposed to a dose of nuclear radiation of .1 rem - the most anyone should receive over the course of one year.

The passengers in those rows were mostly British and American.

A KLM spokesman said the radiation was within the legal limit of .5 rem and said that only airline staff were exposed.

“They were exposed to no higher than the radiation from a routine X-ray in hospital,” said the spokesman, also speaking anonymously.

He said KLM saw no need to inform passengers.

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