CT Scanning X-Ray Technology and Film
As many of you know, the United States Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has recently been installing Computed Tomography (CT) scanners for carry-on luggage in US airports. In the coming months these scanners will be operational at 145 airports in the US. CT scanning technology has been used for checked luggage for many years, and Kodak Alaris and Eastman Kodak have warned photographers not to check their film, but rather to carry it on and request it be hand-checked by TSA agents at Security.
To better assess the risk to film from the new carry on scanners we brought a small quantity of Portra 400/135 to John F Kennedy Airport in NYC. With the help of TSA representatives the film was put through the new carry on CT scanners from 1-10 times. The film was then evaluated at Eastman Kodak Research facilities. The initial results are not good. Just 1 scan shows significant film fogging, leading to smoky blacks and loss of shadow detail. This will be more significant for higher speed films. Although it’s possible that a roll of 100 speed film would show less degradation, we strongly recommend against putting any unexposed or exposed but unprocessed film through a CT Scanner.
We reached out to the TSA to ask what options there might be to warn passengers. We originally asked if it would be possible to add signage at airports that utilize CT scanning technology. We are developing warning stickers that can be placed on your film. These will be available in a label format so they can be printed on your in-home or in-office printer. Just attach the label to the plastic bag as described in the TSA description below.
The TSA did tell us that all TSA screeners are trained to hand check roll and movie film as well as single-use cameras. Sheet film in boxes may require more diligence on the part of the photographer.
From the TSA:
Most x-ray machines used to screen carry-on bags should not damage undeveloped film under ASA\ISO 800. There are a limited number of screening checkpoints that use x-ray equipment that may damage undeveloped film. These airports will have signage in front of the x-ray stating that the x-ray may damage undeveloped film.
If you are traveling with the following types of film, please pack it in a clear plastic bag, remove it from your carry-on bag at the checkpoint, and ask for a hand inspection:
• Film with an ASA\ISO 800 or higher
• Highly sensitive x-ray or scientific films
• 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
• Film of any speed that is subjected to x-ray screening more than five times
In most cases, the x-ray equipment used for screening checked baggage will damage undeveloped film; therefore, please place undeveloped film in carry-on bags.
For more information please download the film Storage and Care Information sheet from our website: https://imaging.kodakalaris.com/…/f…/wysiwyg/pro/CIS_E30.pdf
For more information on TSA screening procedures, please visit https://urldefense.com/…/www.tsa.gov__;!!NtZYYMejrjoc!zT1yW… .
These US airports currently use CT scanning technology:
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI)
Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG)
Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW)
Houston Hobby Airport (HOU)
Indianapolis International Airport (IND)
John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
Logan International Airport (BOS)
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
Miami International Airport (MIA)
Oakland International Airport (OAK)
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX)
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA)
St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL)
Tampa International Airport (TPA)
Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD)