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Conducts Radiation Tests on Video Tapes & Data Media

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Postal Service selects Titan to eradicate Bio-Threat in U.S. Mail.
High-Tech Productions to conduct Media Testing with Titan.

   Because the U.S. Postal Service is now irradiating mail to counter any bio-terrorism threats, many companies and individuals have asked what effects if any this has on video tapes and data disc's. Another concern was if there would be any residual radiation left on the tapes and/or packaging after the items were irradiated.

    High-Tech Productions in conjunction with Titan Scan Technologies, the company that irradiates the mail for the Postal Service, have teamed up to conduct numerous tests on analog and digital video tape as well as floppy disks & CD/DVD Disc's.

The tests were done with the strictest guidelines in place and using the latest in state-of-the-art equipment.


Items that were tested:

1) Hi-Grade T-120 VHS Video Tape
2) Pro Series ST-120 S-VHS Video Tape
3) Professional 60 minute Mini DV Digital Tape
4) 1.4 meg Computer Floppy Disc
5) Data / Music CD / CD-r
6) DVD Video Disc

How the tests were performed:

All items tested were subject to 1, 3 & 5 passes through the radiation  equipment to simulate packages that are sent not only once, but several times through the mail system.
We did this under the assumption that a tape or disc that was mailed from outside the United States might get irradiated a few times. Once when the package arrives in this country, once when it reaches a major postal distribution hub and once when it reaches a local distribution center. Therefore a tape or disc may get several doses of radiation before it even reaches it's intended destination plus another dose (or doses) when the material is returned through the mail to it's original sender.

All test items were given doses that would simulate a mailed package being irradiated taking into consideration weight, density, absorption, etc. The minimum dosage was 60 KGy (Kilogrey's) of radiation. This is many times the lethal dosage for any living organism (including humans). The maximum dosage the test samples were subject to was 300 KGy of radiation. 

All testing and calculations of dosing was performed by technicians and nuclear engineers at Titan Scan Technologies Corporation. The radiation dosage reports are on file with High-Tech Productions and copies will be furnished upon request.

All test items were individually shrink wrapped.
This was to eliminate the possibility of any foreign materials (dust/dirt, etc) from contaminating the specimens.

The test items were placed in a standard size Postal Service Priority Mail box(s) when irradiated. This was to simulate the normal packaging of items sent through the mail service.

The floppy disc's and CD/DVD's were tested by recording data on the disc's and checking them via computer byte by byte against the original material as well as using disk scanning software to check disk integrity and corruption.

The video tapes were evaluated and checked using several pieces of test equipment including high resolution monitors, computers, a waveform monitor and vector-scope.

The following test signals & patterns were recorded on the video tapes:

1) A seven-step gray scale signal
2) Full SMPTE color bars
3) A crosshatch pattern
4) A dot pattern
5) Stereo & mono audio test tones

All items were checked for residual radiation after the tests were completed. This was to be sure that items mailed and irradiated would not pose any danger to humans even after repeated high doses of radiation. The Boca Raton HAZMAT department also checked each test item for any traces of residual radiation after the test samples were returned to High-Tech Productions.


The Test Results:

The items tested were checked and rechecked to see how much (if any) data was lost or corrupted during the radiation process. The results are as follows:


Score of: A = No Effect on Sample,   B = Minor Effects,  C = All Data Lost

Item Tested Number of Passes/Dose Test Results

Hi-Grade VHS Tape

1 / 60 kGy A
  3 / 180 kGy A
  5 / 300 kGy A

Pro Series S-VHS Tape

1 / 60 kGy A
  3 / 180 kGy A
  5 / 300 kGy A

Professional Mini DV Tape

1 / 60 kGy A
  3 / 180 kGy A
  5 / 300 kGy  * B *

1.4 meg Floppy Data Disc

1 / 60 kGy A
  3 / 180 kGy A
  5 / 300 kGy A

650 meg Data/Music CD

1 / 60 kGy A
  3 / 180 kGy A
  5 / 300 kGy A

Video DVD

1 / 60 kGy A
  3 / 180 kGy A
  5 / 300 kGy A

There were NO traces of residual radiation
remaining on Any of the packages and test samples.

* Although the test items did not appear to loose any data, the
packaging that they were in all came back slightly discolored from the radiation.

For more information about these tests, contact:
High-Tech Productions     800 662-8336

 

We would like to thank the following companies
for participating in this testing & research project:

Titan Corporation Lambda Technologies
Markertec Video Supply Media Workshop
Boca Raton Hazardous Materials Team (HAZMAT)

 


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