Film and X Rays at Security checkpoints

Dec 9th, 2006, 08:11 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 27,866
Film and X Rays at Security checkpoints

I found out the hard way! Please read this so you can protect your film. From Consumer's Reports:

"If you're planning holiday air travel, you'll need to pack carefully to protect photographic film from the new X-ray scanners now in place in nearly all U.S. airports. The scanners, minivan-sized, use high-powered X-rays to screen checked luggage for explosives.

"If unprocessed film goes through," says James Blamphin, a Kodak spokesman, "it will be damaged--I'm not hedging here." The X-ray damage can mean that when you expose the film, prints will be marred with bands of fog or pronounced streaking (see the photo at right). The damage can't be corrected. Film inside a camera isn't safe, either.

By contrast, film stowed in carry-on luggage is safe as long as it isn't scanned more than five times, Blamphin says. The scanners that X-ray carry-on luggage use a lower level of radiation.

If you're still skeptical, you have the right to have film hand-inspected at U.S. airports. If airport security officers don't comply with this government regulation, ask to speak with a supervisor.

Another option: Buy film after you arrive at your destination and have it developed before you head home. Or switch to a digital camera. The airport X-rays won't affect the memory card it uses instead of film.

Buying lead-lined film-protector bags is not sensible, in our book. The bags can't shield film from the powerful X-rays used on checked luggage, and they're unnecessary for film in carry-on luggage. Indeed, the bags' bricklike appearance on the scanner could prompt closer inspection of your belongings and possibly delay your departure."

Hope this helps...
DebitNM is offline  
Dec 9th, 2006, 08:49 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,976
Yes, and in my experience, there are signs and vocal warnings about your film possibly being ruined when you are dropping off luggage, or maybe I have just been lucky. This week at HNL I had a roll of exposed film in a bag I was about to check on a plane when I saw the sign about possible film damage and removed the film at the last second. Too bad you weren't so lucky...
Andrew is online now  
Dec 9th, 2006, 08:54 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 8,296
We've been warned each and every time we've flown over the last couple of years about this. I applaud the airlines' efforts to help us protect our memories!
BayouGal is offline  
Dec 9th, 2006, 09:05 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 27,866
I had already packed unexposed film in checked bags and they were long gone by the time I read the signs at airport. Most of the pictures actually came out ok...a few had some pink tinge which made some of the Hawaiian sunsets look a bit prettier LOL.

I guess, in the old days, unexposed film was safer in checked bags. <sigh>

Anyway...just wanted to be sure no one else made same silly mistake!
DebitNM is offline  
Dec 9th, 2006, 10:17 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 65,371
" guess, in the old days, unexposed film was safer in checked bags. <sigh>"

Nope - even in the "old days" it was never a good idea to place film in checked luggage, and if one was flying overseas that has been pretty much true for 20 or 30 years or more since stonger screening equipment has been used ofr a very long time..

Carry on luggage is fine - but one should never put film in checked bags.
janisj is offline  
Dec 9th, 2006, 10:21 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 8,296
Oh, Debi! I am so sorry! I didn't realize this had actually happened to you. I thought maybe you had been warned like us, and took it out before checking your bags. Obviously we've been very fortunate not to have it happen.
BayouGal is offline  
Dec 9th, 2006, 11:31 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 20,838
I use a lead-lined bag and get hand checked every time. Last summer I went through airport security checks 8 times with the same rolls of film. In Europe, the hand checking of just film is dismissed out of hand, so the bags do have their function.
Michael is online now  
Dec 9th, 2006, 12:17 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 65,371
A lead bag really isn't necessary/useful. The screeners used for cabin bags are not the type that will hurt most films. The effects are cumulative, so if one is taking many flights and using very fast films - then a lead bag might help a bit. I haven't used a lead bag in about 20 years and have never had a roll damaged -- thousands of rolls over the years.

And a lead bag is of no use at all for checked bags - if they see a dark rectangle on the image they will simply up the power to levels that will nuke the film anyway.
janisj is offline  
Dec 9th, 2006, 12:45 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,303
None of this information is really new. The warnings about not putting film in checked luggage has been the advice ever since 9/11, if not before!
Still, thanks for the reminder.
HowardR is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
Travel Tips & Trip Ideas
Jun 17th, 2005 01:33 PM
United States
Sep 15th, 2003 03:23 PM
Mar 12th, 2003 10:03 AM
May 21st, 2002 01:57 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:22 PM.