What is correct procedure for screening photo paper?

Old Nov 17, 04, 1:07 am
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What is correct procedure for screening photo paper?

Two weeks ago I was flying from Terminal 9 at JFK. In my carryon I had appx. 35 rolls of high speed film and a sealed box of Ilford photo paper. I asked that everything be swabbed and checked by hand. The screeners did not look very happy. A supervisor came over and said that I had to open the photo paper box (which of course exposes the paper and makes it useless). He said either I could open the box or he could put it through the x-ray machine. He refused to swab it.

TSA folks:

1. What is the authorized procedure for photo paper? Could you please show a link or quote some specific section of the TSA manual, so I can refer to it in the future if this happens again?

2. What does the x-ray machine do to photo paper?

3. Why could this box not be swabbed?

Thank you.

Other folks:

Has this ever happened to you? Where? What did you do about it?
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Old Nov 17, 04, 1:41 am
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hmmmm

Originally Posted by KSinNYC
Two weeks ago I was flying from Terminal 9 at JFK. In my carryon I had appx. 35 rolls of high speed film and a sealed box of Ilford photo paper. I asked that everything be swabbed and checked by hand. The screeners did not look very happy. A supervisor came over and said that I had to open the photo paper box (which of course exposes the paper and makes it useless). He said either I could open the box or he could put it through the x-ray machine. He refused to swab it.

TSA folks:

1. What is the authorized procedure for photo paper? Could you please show a link or quote some specific section of the TSA manual, so I can refer to it in the future if this happens again?

2. What does the x-ray machine do to photo paper?

3. Why could this box not be swabbed?

Thank you.

Other folks:

Has this ever happened to you? Where? What did you do about it?
boxes have to be either xrayed or opened, If neither is possible, the item doesnt fly. You could check the bag but it might get xrayed by a big ctx, since the iso asa of photopaper is unknown, xray may ruin it.
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Old Nov 17, 04, 2:29 am
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For routine imagery, we air express undeveloped film back to our facility. For sensitive pictures, we hand-carry and always have TSA hand inspect the film...of course the fact that the film is transported inside a Sima Corp FilmShield XPF 20 lead bag kinda forces a hand inspection of the film: the bag appears as a solid black (or red depending on the scanner) object.

I also use it for personal travels and only once had someone complain that I should put the film canisters in a clear plastic baggie. I've even traveled internationally with the Sima bag and have had no complaints when asking for a hand inspection. I haven't had too much experience with photo paper as we either don't take it along or someone else usually handles them. As far as I know, they requested a hand check (swab) and impressed upon the screener the need to keep the pouch sealed. The screener just treated it like a sealed FedEx envelope, swabbed it and sent us on our way.
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Old Nov 17, 04, 4:17 am
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So...

If you send a letter bom.. sorry.. photographic film by air express on one of those big cargo planes it isn't X-rayed?
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Old Nov 17, 04, 7:42 am
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According to the makers of the Rapiscan x-ray these machines will not hurt film of any type or speed
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Old Nov 17, 04, 10:16 am
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research

Ilford has an ISO range of about 180 but it depends on the type of paper. The Kodak paper is about 500. Note that this is a light rating not xray. Therefore it would be safe to send through an xray,unless it is over 800 asa. You shouldnt have to worry about or know if TSA is using a hiemann, rapiscan or PE system. So know your paper, and if it is really really important, dont have it xrayed.
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Old Nov 17, 04, 12:34 pm
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Can you ask for the photo paper to be examined in a totally dark room?
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Old Nov 17, 04, 12:38 pm
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Well, the OP was given the option of having it x-rayed (which possibly could have ruined it) or opening the box (which would have ruined it). I think the OP has a valid point - why couldn't the box w/ the paper be swabbed?

Cheers. Sharon
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Old Nov 17, 04, 1:06 pm
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Originally Posted by SkiAdcock
Well, the OP was given the option of having it x-rayed (which possibly could have ruined it) or opening the box (which would have ruined it). I think the OP has a valid point - why couldn't the box w/ the paper be swabbed?
Swabbing only reveals the presence of explosives-related chemicals. It doesn't say whether there are knives or other contraband inside the mystery box.

If I was going to carry photopaper, I'd probably carry it in a sealed pouch (instead of a box) so that the screeners could feel that there was nothing but paper in it.

Last edited by themicah; Nov 17, 04 at 1:07 pm Reason: typo
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Old Nov 17, 04, 2:35 pm
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Originally Posted by ND Sol
Can you ask for the photo paper to be examined in a totally dark room?
great idea!
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Old Nov 17, 04, 2:55 pm
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Okay, to clarify the packing materials and method. The photo paper is in a dark plastic bag, and the bag was in a white Ilford box, which was sealed with the manufacturer's tape.

I was told that it would not be swabbed by hand, because I could have a knife in the box and the swab would not detect it. I opened the box, showed the supervisor that there was nothing more than the plastic bag in the box, and told him that the bag could not be opened without ruining the paper. He refused to swab the plastic bag. He insisted that the entire package (bag and box) be put through the x-ray machine. So opening the box didn't accomplish anything, other than perhaps exposing the paper in the bright bright screening area.

Oh, and just in case you are curious why I didn't just check it:

1. I only had carry on luggage.
2. I have no way of knowing whether my bag will be x-rayed and at least this way I could talk to somebody about the issue. (not that it did any good whatsoever).

TSA folks, if there is a way to request that film and paper be swabbed instead of x-rayed, and if so could you please let us know where to find a copy of the operating procedure?

Everybody's comments have been helpful -- thank you as always.
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Old Nov 17, 04, 9:21 pm
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As stated earlier, carry-on items need to be physically search or X-Rayed. Swabbing would not be enough to clear the package. If the bag containing the paper was sealed swabbing would not prove anything either way.

X-Ray machines are actually rated not to harm up to 1200 ISO but 800 is used as a precaution.

If you want to check it PM me and maybe we can do a test.
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Old Nov 17, 04, 10:12 pm
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Photo paper is just film; are rules actually different?

Originally Posted by TSAMGR
X-Ray machines are actually rated not to harm up to 1200 ISO but 800 is used as a precaution.
That I did not know, but it makes me feel better about letting 400 and 800-speed film go through once or twice when there's not much time for a hand check. Thanks for the info!

As for the photographic paper, I'm a little confused

Standard photographic paper would seem to be low enough ISO to be OK in the x-ray (and if you've ever printed b/w pictures you know it can take quite a while of exposure to light to make a print), but still, I wonder why it wouldn't fall under the TSA rules for hand inspection of film. Photo paper is, after all, just a type of large format film:

http://www.tsa.gov/public/interapp/e...orial_1035.xml

If we're allowed to request hand inspection of 35-mm canisters (which could hide a small knife), and professional or large-format film, why not photo paper? I understand taking it out of the box to look for knives, but why not have the screener palpatate and ETD the internal light-tight bag in the same way they palpatate my <sarcasm>bulging pectoral muscles</sarcasm> during a secondary? A bag of paper feels a lot different than a bag of paper with a knife inside.

If that's really not allowed, I'm confused.

To the OP, my suggestion as a certified rule-bender is to identify the material to the screener as film, not paper, and cite the above link. "Photo paper" may sound like something other than "film" to screeners, but I've found several checkpoints quite competent at hand-checking film.
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Old Nov 17, 04, 11:44 pm
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A wad of paper

Originally Posted by studentff
That I did not know, but it makes me feel better about letting 400 and 800-speed film go through once or twice when there's not much time for a hand check. Thanks for the info!

As for the photographic paper, I'm a little confused

Standard photographic paper would seem to be low enough ISO to be OK in the x-ray (and if you've ever printed b/w pictures you know it can take quite a while of exposure to light to make a print), but still, I wonder why it wouldn't fall under the TSA rules for hand inspection of film. Photo paper is, after all, just a type of large format film:

http://www.tsa.gov/public/interapp/e...orial_1035.xml

If we're allowed to request hand inspection of 35-mm canisters (which could hide a small knife), and professional or large-format film, why not photo paper? I understand taking it out of the box to look for knives, but why not have the screener palpatate and ETD the internal light-tight bag in the same way they palpatate my <sarcasm>bulging pectoral muscles</sarcasm> during a secondary? A bag of paper feels a lot different than a bag of paper with a knife inside.

If that's really not allowed, I'm confused.

To the OP, my suggestion as a certified rule-bender is to identify the material to the screener as film, not paper, and cite the above link. "Photo paper" may sound like something other than "film" to screeners, but I've found several checkpoints quite competent at hand-checking film.
In essence a book, could be hollowed out. Sqeeze the bag all day and it wont feel hollow inside. All closed containers, bags and boxes HAVE to be xrayed or opened. The thing about film is that it is easier to inspect. Sorry there is no way around this.
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Old Nov 18, 04, 12:46 am
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Originally Posted by eyecue
In essence a book, could be hollowed out. Sqeeze the bag all day and it wont feel hollow inside. All closed containers, bags and boxes HAVE to be xrayed or opened. The thing about film is that it is easier to inspect. Sorry there is no way around this.
A film canister isn't a closed container?
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