Kodak Alaris has alerted its customers to the risks of CT scanners being used by the US Transport Security Administration (TSA) to scan carry-on luggage in a number of airports throughout the United States. According to the company, it tested the effects of these scanners on film products to determine just how risky they are. The results, according to a long Facebook post from Kodak Alaris, were ‘not good.’
In March 2019, the TSA announced a $96.8 million contract that had been awarded to Smiths Detection for 300 CT scanning systems that will be installed in 145 U.S. airports to screen carry-on bags. Some of these CT scanning systems are now in use at select airports and others will go live over the coming year.
‘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,’ Kodak Alaris explains on Facebook. The film was put through these scanning systems one to 10 times and then was later evaluated by Eastman Kodak Research experts.
CT Scanning X-Ray and Film!
The US TSA recently installed CT scanners for carry-on luggage in US airports. Kodak Alaris has warned photographers not to check their film, but carry it on and request it be hand-checked at Security.
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Kodak describes the results as ‘not good,’ saying:
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.
In order to avoid this, Kodak tells photographers to keep their film products in a carry-on bag and to request that TSA agents hand-check the film rather than sending it through the CT scanner. The TSA confirmed to Kodak that its agents are trained in hand-checking movie film, roll film and single-use film cameras.
The TSA warned Kodak that ‘a limited number of [carry-on] screening checkpoints’ feature X-ray equipment that may damage film. In these cases, the airports have put up warning signs at the checkpoints to warn passengers who may have undeveloped film in their bags. The majority of X-ray screening equipment used for checked baggage rather than carry-on baggage will damage undeveloped film as well, according to the TSA.
Kodak says it is developing ‘warning stickers’ that photographers will be able to print out at home and put on plastic bags containing their film products when traveling.
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