Do airport x-ray scanners REALLY ruin camera film, or is it a myth?

a girl holding a vintage film camera
(Image credit: Future)

Traveling through airport security as a film photographer is never straightforward. We’ve all heard the warnings that exposing your rolls of film to x-ray scanners could be potentially harmful, but is there actually any truth to it? 

Whenever I travel with my film camera, I always ask security not to put it through the x-ray machine and I'm always met with the same response: "The scanners won't harm your film." I'm never fully convinced but, more often than not, I can't be bothered to argue, so I watch it travel along the conveyor belt, into the x-ray tunnel and out the other side – the whole time crossing my fingers, hoping I haven't ruined my precious photos. 

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Hannah Rooke
Staff Writer

Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specializes in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylized product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.