New scanners will ruin film

Old Aug 6th, 2002, 09:31 AM
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New scanners will ruin film

My travel agent warned me today that the new scanners installed at many NA airports will ruin camera film packed in checked-in bags. She suggested that film be brought in your carry-on bag. Would a lead bag protect the film adequately, or would the opaque area it creates on the scanner "red light" your bag for it to be broken into and searched?
Old Aug 7th, 2002, 07:19 AM
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Yes, according to several articles I have read a lead bag will "red light" your bag. I think the best thing to do is to put your rolls in a plastic bag and have them hand checked. It is also a good idea to remove them from their canisters as the first time I tried this (even before 9-1-1) the person inspecting removed every single one from the canister for inspection.
Old Aug 7th, 2002, 07:37 AM
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It's never been a good idea to pack film in checked baggage. For decades checked baggage had been subject to random x-ray checks using more powerful machines. Even if it was not, you can never be sure what happens to your checked luggage along the way; it may sit out in the sun long enough to heat up the contents, and that will damage film, too.

While getting your film hand-checked can be a good idea if it is high-speed or if you will be going through security a number of times with it, you may not always be able to. In the US the FAA requires hand searches when requested, but in many other countries you won't be able to. Even in the US, it can be hard to convince some people to do it.

No, lead bags don't show up opaque on the scanner; there isn't enough lead in them. I don't know if that means that they don't do any good, but I always use them anyway.
Old Aug 7th, 2002, 09:14 AM
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Here are a couple places with information you may want to check: and,00.html. I have heard some people have had problems in other countries with hand checking but we have never been hassled about it.
Old Aug 8th, 2002, 07:57 AM
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Thank you all for your replies, you've given me some very good & useful information.
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