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Thread: Lead Bags

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jul 2008

    Lead Bags

    I know this may sound like a stupid question considering the recent post about the London Airport film issue, but just wonder what peoples takes are on lead bags. I have previously (past 2 years) traveled outside of the US with rolls of color film stored in lead bag. I didnt have any issues with fogging or banding. Had it in my carry on. Lead bags work or no?

    Please advise...


  2. #2

    Join Date
    May 2002

    Re: Lead Bags

    The X-ray machines in use these days have more than enough power available to see through any lead bag you're going to carry. Worse, the machines will automatically ramp up the power until they do see through it. The result is that film in a lead bag is going to get a higher dose than would film without the bag.

  3. #3
    Whatever David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2000
    Honolulu, Hawai'i

    Re: Lead Bags

    The power on the machine is fixed. They can increase the gain on the sensor, but they can't increase the X-ray dose. They might be able to see through the older bags, but there are heavier ones now, and I use them when I can. Usually when they see a lot of camera equipment, they aren't worried about the lead film bag. I've only been asked to remove my film from the bag once or twice, interestingly enough.

    It is generally a good idea, I've found, to travel with the film in a separate bag from the camera, whether you use a lead bag or not, because they may want to X-ray a camera bag twice to see two different angles, but I've never been asked to send a separate film bag through the X-ray machine twice.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Los Angeles, CA

    Re: Lead Bags

    Alan, would you please expand a bit on your statements regarding power. My experience is that lead bag looks like an unidentifable blob to the screener and has always resulted in either a hand-check of the bag or dumping the contents into a tray for x-raying. I've never heard about "autonmatically ramping up of power" nor have I read anything like that in manufacturer literature. That being said, there are some newer Rapiscan machines (500 and 600 series) that do 2-axis scanning and are advertised as being "dual power", but no description of what dual power means. I stopped using lead bag a long time ago because the hassle is worse than the liklihood of enough screenings to cause any damage.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jul 2008

    Re: Lead Bags

    Thanks everyone. The lead bag I do have is fairly new and VERY heavy.

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