Peter Greenberg's article, "Diagnosing the Power of Airport X-ray Machines" (March 10), is very interesting but not completely accurate. . . .
Film with speed ratings of 400 or slower can be put through any X-ray security machine at any domestic airport at least five times without damage, and can be put through 70% of the airport X-ray machines as many as 50 times without damage. High-speed film can be put through any X-ray machine at domestic airports at least once without damage and through 70% of the units at least 10 times without damage.
Our company supplied the X-ray screening units for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. All of the news photographers, including your own Randy McBride, were understandably concerned when they were informed that their film had to be screened by the X-ray machines before they would be allowed in the Olympic Village or the Coliseum. They were all invited to visit us and put film through the X-ray equipment, process it and draw their own conclusions as to the safety of the machines relating to film damage.
To the best of our knowledge, all photographers were satisfied, and we did not hear of a single complaint of X-ray damage to film. All of the photographs published of events at the Coliseum or interviews at the Olympic Villages were taken on film screened by the X-ray security equipment, identical to the equipment at airports.
Overseas, older X-ray equipment is rapidly being replaced by film-safe units, and most airports, including London Heathrow, are completely equipped with machines safe for even high-speed film. . . .
JOHN P. BATTEMA
vice president, marketing