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[filmscanners] Re: Re:Digital PIC
Interesting question. And, by the way, my wife just returned from
Belize and Mexico and was also forced to have her rolls placed through
X-ray machines, one in Mexico and one it L.A. where the FAA regulations
were ignored in spite of her "demanding" hand inspection.
Apparently, the "rules" only have to be followed by those who don't have
any guns. She did get the name of the guy, however, and is waiting to
see if there is X-ray damage before placing a claim against the airline
(or is it now "government") that hired him.
Anyway, back to the question. From what I have read, X-Rays do not
usually damage either magnetic media or memory cards unless there are
Electro magnetic fields involved. A properly running X-Ray machine is
supposed to shield the X-Ray chamber from these.
As an interesting aside to this, recent tests done at airports indicated
that people were able to get into "secured areas" with relative ease in
many larger airports, including into areas where only authorized
personnel were allowed. This included getting onto aircraft before
passengers were allowed. Further, baggage containing simulated knives
and even guns were successfully cleared through X-ray screening of
carry-on luggage, and the brilliant people who do security tended to
"recognize" lead-lined film bags and simply let them through, even
though they could not see through them, or what was on either side
outside them due to the opaqueness of the lead bag.
My wife told me she found it funny that she was served meals where she
got a plastic butter knife, but was still being supplied metal forks.
Yes, we are all a LOT safer now. Personally, I'd feel safer if just 10%
of the money being wasted on appeasing people into this false sense of
security was used to properly test and maintain the aircraft, and to
make sure the pilots weren't working extended hours without proper rest.
As another matter, which some people may not be aware of, many larger
airports now have a new kind of X-ray machine which is used for checked
in baggage. This machine is designed to view through luggage. If it
encounters something it cannot penetrate, it cranks up the X-ray level
until it can. That means lead lined X-ray protective film bags are
useless, and the film canisters provide no protection either.
Your film is safer in places these machines are in use to have it
X-rayed by the carry on machine (if they refuse hand inspection) than to
have it scanned by this check in luggage machine.
Kodak used to (and may still ) have warnings about this machine on their
Lastly, if asked, tell the security person at the carry on X-ray machine
that your film is 1000 ASA/ISO of more, or is being pushed to that
level, otherwise they will argue with you that the X-Ray machines do not
damage the film (of course X-Ray damage is cumulative, so while one or
two times may not be visible, 3, 4 or more might well be).
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