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When the film used in a photographer's camera fails to yield the results intended, it is frequently suspected that the cause may be X-rays encountered during security screening at airport boarding gates or other locations where similar luggage or container inspection is used. while it is true that unprocessed photographic film is somewhat sensitive to X-rays and excessive exposure can cause objectionable results, cases of actual damage from modern screening systems are quite rare. Also, there are several other causes for photographic failure or picture degradation, which persons unfamiliar with the characteristics of penetrating radiation exposure, and camera film's response thereto, may confuse with the results of excessive X-ray exposure. This paper is intended as a guide to assist one in determining if suspicions or allegations of such exposure are valid.
photographic films, X-rays, X-ray security screening, X-ray exposure tolerance, X-ray damage, mistaken damage allegations, airport luggage inspection, radiation-fogged film, film safety
Self-employed consulting physicist, Rochester, NY