Turkish ground handlers for British Airways undergo precautionary radiation tests

Thirty-six employees of a Turkish company that provides ground handling services to British Airways began undergoing precautionary radiation tests in connection with the poisoning death of an ex-Russian spy, the company said Tuesday.

Alexander Litvinenko died in London on Nov. 23. Toxicologists found polonium-210, a rare radioactive substance, in Litvinenko's body before he died. Radiation has been found at a number of sites in London, as well as on two British Airways planes.

Turkish company Havas provides ground services for BA planes and spokeswoman Elif Yilmaz said the radiation tests on its employees were a precautionary measure.

"We don't think anyone will test positive for radiation," Yilmaz said. "But we decided to have our personnel tested as a precaution because we are the only company in Turkey which services British Airways."

The Havas workers, including cleaners and baggage handlers, were being tested at Istanbul's Kucukcekmece Nuclear Research Center.

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