How can a sniffer dog detect plastic-wrapped contraband?

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Richard Townsend

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Richard Townsend  asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Hi Chris,

I saw a TV programme about sniffer dogs and how they can smell contraband through 2 layers of plastic.How does this work? Is it molecular, atomic or quantum action that allows something to migrate through the plastic?

Richard Townsend

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Offline LeeE

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How can a sniffer dog detect plastic-wrapped contraband?
« Reply #1 on: 20/07/2009 19:52:00 »
If the packaging is airtight I suspect it's through contamination of the outside of the wrapping.  Obviously, if the wrapping is not airtight then some of the molecules can simply escape to the air.
...And its claws are as big as cups, and for some reason it's got a tremendous fear of stamps! And Mrs Doyle was telling me it's got magnets on its tail, so if you're made out of metal it can attach itself to you! And instead of a mouth it's got four arses!