TSA X-ray Film Warning


General Photography

The US Transportation Security Administration has just published guidelines about what to do with film on an airport. Excerpts:

You should remove all film from your checked baggage and place it in your carry-on baggage. The X-ray machine that screens your carry-on baggage at the passenger security checkpoint will not affect undeveloped film under ASA/ISO 800.

If the same role of film is exposed to X-ray inspections more than 5 times before it is developed, however, damage may occur. Protect your film by requesting a hand-inspection for your film if it has already passed through the carry-on baggage screening equipment (X-ray) more than 5 times. […]

At the passenger security checkpoint, you should remove the following types of film from your carry-on baggage and ask for a hand inspection:

  • Film with an ASA/ISO 800 or higher
  • Highly sensitive X-ray or scientific films
  • Film of any speed which is subjected to X-ray surveillance more than 5 times (the effect of X-ray screening is cumulative)
  • Film that is or will be underexposed
  • Film that you intend to “push process”
  • Sheet film
  • Large format film
  • Medical film
  • Scientific film
  • Motion picture film
  • Professional grade film