Back to main news

X-ray security scanning – FAQs

Q: Is x-ray security scanning safe?

A: Yes. All of our systems are completely safe. They are designed to meet or surpass safety regulations around the world.  Where appropriate, heavy shielding is in place.  You could eat your lunch safely even if it had passed through our machines, or been left on them. You can use, work near and walk past our equipment all day without concerns. A typical chest x-ray radiation dose is around 0.1 mSv. Ordinary background radiation is 3.6 mSv per year.


x-ray securityQ: What security applications use x-rays?


X-ray mail and baggage scanningQ: What can x-ray systems detect?
  • Explosives
  • Different materials can be highlighted
  • Weapons
  • Chemical and biological threats
  • Powders and liquids
  • Threat items
  • Drugs
  • Power sources/IED triggers
  • Sharp/hazardous items
  • Malicious mail

Q: What should I do if I spot a suspect item?

A: If you are in any doubt about a package, do not touch it, move it or open it and call the emergency services.

Q: Will X-ray security scanning make items like clothes radioactive or leave radiation?

A: No

Q: Will electronics or cameras be harmed by x-rays?

A: No

Q: Will photographic film be fogged?

A: It is unlikely, though possible. Multiple exposures of film to x-rays can eventually cause fogging. Even film-safe items.

Q:  Should I wear a “radiation badge”?

A: This is not necessary when using our equipment. Even when open x-ray generators are used, such as our flat panel inspection systems, radiation badges are not normally required.  The 50 metre exclusion zone is sufficient. Radiation regulations vary worldwide and should always be followed.

Q: Should I wear PPE when using an x-ray scanner?

A: There is no need for PPE when using our equipment.

Q: Does Royal Mail X-Ray scan the post?

A: They x-ray mail being sent abroad via airmail. But they don’t scan internal mail. Many couriers scan suspect items.

Q: Should we scan all incoming post and parcels?

A: Ideally yes. Letter bombs, poisons and biological threats are extremely dangerous.  Even hoaxes need to be treated as threats until they are uncovered!

Q: What common names are used for X-Ray security screening systems?

A: X-ray security system, X-ray scanning equipment, X-Ray Security Systems, X-Ray Inspection Systems, X-Ray Screening Systems, Baggage X-Ray screening, Freight X-Ray Security Screening, Cargo scanning.

Q: Who regulates x-ray security scanning in the UK?

A: The Department for Transport (DfT) regulates the UK’s X-Ray security screening industry.  The Home Office and the UK Border Agency also have an input in new legislation.  In the USA The FDA regulates the manufacturer of X-ray imaging devices. Other countries have individual arrangements.

For more information

Download Beginners Guide to X-rays

What are x-rays?


Contact us

Phone:  +44 (0) 1509 817400