Are the chemicals very unhealthy?

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by sarah_michelle_larsen, Aug 24, 2009.

  1. Hi !
    Just wondering. I develope 3-5 films per week at home. Its very rare that I make "prints" in the darkroom, as I mostly use my photos online or for a newspaper.
    Is it very unhealthy to breath the chemicals over the years? I feel Im getting a little dizzy everytime.
    Any statistics or experiences or anything else?
    Thanks.
     
  2. Yes, they are seriously hazardous to your health -- and can cause permanent damage. If you do not have a well-ventilated darkroom you should STOP until you do. You are using your tongs, not your fingers, right? Merely having a fan is no assurance that there is efficient evacuation of the gases.
    http://www.photo.net/medium-format-photography-forum/002KJM
    http://www.saftek.com/worksafe/darkroom.htm
    http://www.apogeephoto.com/mag1-4/mag1-4mf.shtml
    http://www.lhc.org.uk/members/pubs/books/chem/chgcbaba.htm
    http://www.apogeephoto.com/mag1-4/mag1-4mf.shtml
     
  3. If you are feeling dizzy, that's a strong indication that you're breathing something that's not good for you. Aside from the references you received above, you might want to look at the following:
    http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?topic_id=23&msg_id=000WEW
     
  4. If you don't feel well after working in the darkroom you should try to a)get better ventilation, and b) change the chemicals you are using to something else. There are a wide variety of low/no odor chemicals out there, so there is no reason to use those that do have odors that affect you. Since you are working at home, I suggest that once you load the reels into the can and close the lid you open the door where you are working and perhaps turn on a fan to force fresh air into your workspace.
    I use a bathroom at home for both developing and printing and have no problems with odors with the products that I use, even for long periods of developing and printing (4 hours or more). I use developer and fixer that have very little to no odor, and water as a stop bath. Any chemicals, including common household cleaning products, can be harmful or fatal if improperly used. Be sure that you are using everything as directed and you should be able to minimize the risk of problems.
    - Randy
     
  5. About 20 years ago (when I was pretty young), I contracted cancer. I was doing seriously long stints in the darkroom for about the 10 years prior. I always had trouble with asthma and breathing fixer. I cannot correlate the darkroom work with the cancer, but every single other photographer friend, except one (and he didn't do that much work) had cancer around that time (and even battling it now).
    I would love to see some sort of study, because you can't draw conclusions without enough samples, but I think the rates would be revealing. I quit using the darkroom for about 8 years, then eased back into it using safer chemicals. I use Ilford stop and fix, which have far less odor. I never touch chemicals with bare skin any more, and wash well if I do, and afterwards. I'm very methodical about keeping a clean environment and how I handle processing, and clean up after wards. I never mix dry chemicals if I can help it, and if I do, I always wear a mask and goggles.
    Just take extreme care. If you have trouble with breathing or dizzyness, then replace chemicals with different ones until you are comfortable working around them. There are alternatives to the standards. I am quite passionate about talking with other photographers about the dangers of darkroom work.
     
  6. Look up some of the chem threads here; Lex usually has a link to one of the Kodak tech pubs that are very good. An MSDS on the chemistry can give you the facts.
    Safety-wise, I'd say, regardless if what you are using is inherently hazardous or not, if you ever experience any kind of physical symptoms, it's time to take a break from the lab. Most of the time, simply washing your hands and stepping out into a well ventilated area for awhile is a good idea.
    Photo developing is not a toughman contest. While I have never had any problems, I would encourage you to be safe, healthy and comfortable. Some of the chemicals are very poisonous; others are so harmless that you may come into contact with them (in a different form) every day without realizing it (some salts, for example). No need to get spun up with worry; just follow good lab practice, and review the data sheets and MSDS for facts.
    In general, as long as you do not ingest, inject or inhale the photochemistry, the number of hazards you should encounter in a darkroom are negligible. Wash your hands before and after; keep your dry side electricity out of contact with your wet side solutions, and then probably your biggest hazard is don't slip and fall. Maybe you might get dishpan hands from getting wet solutions on you a lot; really, just get the specific facts; follow good lab practice; and, maybe take a break.
    Physical symptoms are usually a "too late" warning sign (don't be a human test kit); but, often people seem to worry about photochem, rather than getting the facts about their specific materials. Ditch that; get the facts; MSDS.
     
  7. Good suggestions from Michael Axel above. I might add that if you feel depressed, short tempered or just not so good during or after a darkroom session, it may well be the chemicals, which can cause suicidal tendencies if you don't get good ventilation. A large darkroom exhaust fan and an airconditioner to blow air in, are necessary.
     
  8. there are people who are terribly sensitive to natuaral
    things, My niece went to the hospital when she cut an
    apple to feed the birds and it squirted in her eye.
    she can no longer go with us strawberry picking.
    many people who develop" contact dermatitis"
    from other household chemicals
    or photo solutions often do not wear gloves or use tongs.
    some toners and other chemicals are listed as poison
    and should be avoided.
    any chemical exposure nicotine sulfate ( no longer sold as a bug spray-
    TOO POISIONOUS) should be avoided. or other forms of this chemical.
    Cibachrome was specially smelly.
    good ventilation and working in a large, well ventilated area is necessary.
    there is no reason to expose yourself to
    chemicals or smells if you are developing film ( onlY)
    You should have running water to rinse in case of an accidental spill.
    making prints in trays, can be more of a problem.
    making color prints in a drum will be done in an open room,( daylight)
    in or near a sink and running water. so It is as safe as developing film.
    don't stick your hands in solutions and you should not develop skin irritations.
    If you are having dizzyness or other similar problems you should avoid all exposure
    to chemicals. even common household chemicals
    and avoid stores that stock large quantities of rugs.
    and the soap and detergent and chemical aisle
    in supermarkets. I sometimes, whith no known allergies,
    either walk thru fast or avoid entirely.
     
  9. by the way
    over my workingb lifetime the attitude towards chemical exposure has
    radically changed.
    back when I was a young adult, I worked with a man who helped
    process and develop solid rocket fuel and other gunpowder-like
    materials. he told us that he lost his boyancy when swimming
    because his body had absorbed these chemicqals
    My former boss washed metal parts with carbon tetrachoride.
    In a basement. "carbona"(sinmilar thing) was sold to
    spot chean greaswe spots from clothing ( very toxic- now banned)
    "carbon tet" fire extingushires were effective, but harmful.
    It was considered a "joke" to fill a plastic cup with " inhibisol" a solvent used to remove solder flux from pcboards, and place it on a shelf.
    withing a half-hour the cup would collapse and shower solvent on the workers sitting at that workbench, One lady had her slip disolved
    by the shower of chemical solvent and had to leave and go home.
    This happened before I worked there and I only heard about it.
    the same company hired a man to grind selenium and gave hinm an innefective mask
    after a few months he would becoge sick and be replaced by someone new.
    I am told these men died of poisening soon afterwards, it was cheaper
    to hire and kill men than to inplement safe conditions
    ( selenium was used in selinium rectifiers used in 1950's tv sets.)
    ther consited of several metal plates 1" to 3" square in a stack.
    often blue or orange.
    this may be very shocking to some, but that is the way things were then.
    I am luck I survived those years, many did not.
     
  10. Thank you for all the advice !
    I should not have asked:) Now im really wondering if its worth it, and instead getting it done at the lab in town or going digital. Going to the lab in town is not a good solution, since I often shoot at iso 1200 etc with Iso 400 films.
    I develope in the kitchen and the door is open right beside me. I think its only the fixer doing it (Ilford rapid fixer). The Diafine is not a problem (at least to my knowledge).
    But I will try to change the fixer, and see if I still get dizzy.
     
  11. Hi Brooks !
    Yes I will look through all the links.
    Thanks.
     
  12. I've been sloshing around in the darkroom for over 25 years and I experience no ill effects, but then my cousin can't walk into a household that has a cat without major fit of coughing. sneezing and streaming eyes. It's all a matter of personal sensitivity. Try improving the ventilation and see if that alleviates the problem.
     
  13. I'm one of those people who has multiple chemical sensitivities. After I realized that I was getting dizzy after an hour in the darkroom I took steps to greatly increase ventilation: I installed an inexpensive bathroom-type fan at the top of the room, and constructed a light proof air opening at the floor level, near the wet side of the darkroom. Voila! No more headaches, even with Dektol (which gives me terrible skin reactions) and Fast Fixer (which makes my lungs hurt) in the trays. The air flow is fast enough to extinguish a match held near the air intake.
    The best darkroom I ever worked in was in the geology department at UC Berkeley. The air input was ducted so that it passed directly over the darkroom trays. The air suction was similarly ducted so that it removed the air from the opposite side of the trays, near the wall. The user never smelled a thing and that darkroom was 6X8 feet! This is the kind of ventilation you should aim for.
     
  14. Moderator's note:
    Wow. In 10 years on photo.net I can't ever recall a single thread drawing so much uninformed speculation and outright disinformation about darkroom chemistry.
    I hardly know where to begin to unravel this mess. I can't think of any way to fix this thread without deleting virtually every post and starting over from scratch. I'm tempted to just lock the thread as a form of damage control. But that usually results in accusations of censorship. So I"ll try to cite credible information later, along with links to previous photo.net discussions which cited facts and specifics.
    Meanwhile, Sarah, I strongly advise you to read the MSDS's and applicable material from the sources firsthand. Start with Kodak's website.
    While I won't claim that darkroom chemicals are completely harmless, some comments in this thread would give any newcomer the impression that it's a foolhardy and deadly pursuit. I suppose the odds were this would eventually happen, since over the past decade we've had so many reasonable and well informed discussions about this very topic. Now we're seeing every specter raised just short of Freddy Krueger lurking under the paper safe with his finger knives.
     
  15. I treat all chemicals with respect and use reasonable precautions, such as using proper ventilation and avoiding skin contact.
     
  16. BTW, due to recurring back and neck pain from an old injury I'm unable to spend much time at the PC this week. But I'll cite a few truisms from my days as an occupational safety and health inspector:
    • Bad odor does not equal toxicity.
    • Lack of odor does not equal safety.
    • Ventilation is a science, not guesswork. Sticking up vents and fans may make you feel better but it doesn't mean the system is actually effective.
    • When in doubt, go to the source of the safety and health standards, not to a discussion forum.
    I'll try to get back to this later in the week but I'm unable to spend much time sitting at the computer right now.
     
  17. I worked for nearly 32 years, alongside nearly 2000 others, in the Kodak Research labs. Before that I worked in a photo lab to pay for college and was in photo work for 3 years in the military. At no time did I see any oddity in the level of cancer or any other chronic or serious illness. In fact, at Kodak I was tested every 6 months for my health and any reaction to chemicals when working in a lab. They were very serious about documenting any anomaly due to chemicals.
    Common precautions include using rubber gloves or tongs when handling chemicals or wet film and paper. Avoid breathing dust when mixing chemicals. Above all remember that today's society is overreacting to chemists, chemistry and chemicals. We are all composed of chemicals and encounter them every day. Our body produces developing agent type compounds and we excrete them daily as waste. Our food is preserved with chemicals. Common buffet lunches at local restaurants are sprayed with Sodium Sulfite, used in fixers and stop baths. Wine contains Sodium Sulfite as well in spite of the fact that many people are allergic to it. Common sense dictates keeping normal or increased awareness to the possible encounter with a chemical if you are working in a photo lab.
    Hair colors and bleaches are pure chemistry including derivatives of color film like dyes and hydrogen peroxide. Antifreeze is used in HC-110 and other developers. Triethanol Amine is used in cosmetics to balance pH and make them creamy and it is also found in Color Developers, HC-110 and many other liquid kits.
    Hypo is used as an antidote for Cyanide poison and get this.... EDTA is listed as a dangerous human poison on one list, but it is used INTRAVENOUSLY to counter heavy metal poisoning. Thiourea is banned in California as a 'suspected' carcinogen, but is found in several varieties of wildflowers. I guess you are forbidden from having these flowers then so don't pick bouquets while hiking!
    So, a lot of hysteria abounds, but reasonable ventilation and safe handling will give you a safe time in the lab with no serious consequences. Don't let people scare you. If you are short of breath or dizzy, don't ignore it. Something is going on, but I doubt if there is anything serious as a result of your processing photos. Of course, I'm no doctor, but I do know my chemistry. You may be reacting to the Sulfur Dioxide released by some stop baths and fixers. If so, find an odorless equivalent. Sometimes things are that simple.
    I think I should add another myth!
    Best wishes to you Sarah and I hope you solve your problem.
    Ron Mowrey
     
  18. 50 years old 40 doing Darkroom work and I am still alive... I even drank some HC-110 1 time on mistake... I am one of the few in my age group that does not take any type of daily medacation so go figure... I smoke I drink and can run a mile in under 8 minutes..... But I do treat them for what they are.. chemicals... Yes it depends on the person.
     
  19. some people are more sensitive.. you sound like the more sensitive type..
     
  20. Lex:
    I have 50 years in the DR with both BW and platinum with no ill effects. Thank you for trying to bring some sensibility to this thread that seems to have gotten out of hand. Cheers my friend.
    -Owen
     
  21. bms

    bms

    Poison is in everything, and no thing is without poison. The dosage makes it either a poison or a remedy.
    -Paracelsus​
    With that in mind, Larry, some advise: quit the drugs at high doses.... they WILL get you, not the photo chemicals.
    Lex, I hear ya (hope you feel better), but I could not resist; your are of course completely right.
    BTW, I'd probably run from developer bearing this
    [​IMG]
    All jokes aside, first: I think you have to distinguish, if you allergic to a substance, don't use it.
    Many things can make you feel dizzy, including lack of a fresh air supply in a hermetically sealed dark room. Ventilation makes sense.
    Take X-TOL, part A: ~ 95% sodium sulfite, which at >1.6g/kg kills 50% of rats. So, say you are 70 kg, you need to eat half a bag. But it cam be a strong irritant, so use common sense, protect you airways and eyes when mixing it. On the other hand, the working solution has 5-10% sodium sulfite, MSDS advises to seek medical attention if symptoms occur. Sulfites can trigger asthma, as far as I know....
    Or take Kodafix: at working concentration, reeks like hell but mostly harmful if swallowed, so don't! Regarding its main ingredient, ammonia thiosulfate, between 0.5 and 5 g/kg kills 50% of rats, a bottle of Kodafix (one quart) contains ~300g.... do the math..... you may not walk out of there if your chuck it down....
    Here is the Kodak MSDS link:
    http://www.kodak.com/eknec/PageQuerier.jhtml?pq-path=4648&pq-locale=en_US&_requestid=10195
     
  22. Lex, I can't believe some of the stuff I'm reading here either. Especially Luis G...from his reply, you would think that you could drop dead from just walking into a darkroom! Give me a freaking break!
    In fact, sometimes I wonder if some people deliberately use bogus scare tactics and mislead people just to scare them away from film and get them into digital.
    I set up my darkroom in my garage, to develop prints. I don't scan ANY of my film. I develop ALL of my black and white pictures the "old skool" way with an enlarger. I develop my film either in the bathroom, or in my bedroom...while I'm watching tv (I use a changing bag). Yes, I have gotten developer and fixer on my hands and my clothes from time to time. NOTHING happened. The absolute worst thing that happened was the fixer might make my hands feel a little dry and my fingers got a little red. That was it. And that was after it had been on my hands for a while.
    Maybe some people are just unusually sensitive to chemicals. If you feel dizzy, then obviously you need to take more precautions. But to suggest that film developing chemicals are more "dangerous" than anything else is absolutely rediculous. I can literally spend all night working in my darkroom (in the garage) and I feel fine.
    Heck, most household cleaning chemicals are more dangerous and toxic than photographic chemicals. Developer and fixer don't bother me at all...but if I walk into a kitchen or a bathroom where someone was just cleaning with chlorox, I feel dizzy and get a headache after just a few minutes. But I can be in my darkroom for hours with no problems.
    Black and white film developing chemicals are NOT dangerous, as long as you take simple, common sense precautions. Maybe some people are just more sensitive to chemicals, and in that case they might need to be extra careful. But in general, photo chemicals are not that toxic.
     
  23. Everything is "chemicals". The dirt in your yard is chemicals. The trees and grass that grow there are chemicals. YOU are chemicals. Your food is all chemicals, some of which would kill you in sufficient doses, including salt and water. Fear of chemicals, per se, is nonsense. When you handle substances that don't occur naturally in your environment (and some that do,) it's common sense to know what they are and how to use them safely. Don't put dish detergent on your pancakes. Don't drink Dektol.
    The advice to consult the MSDS's is good, but start with the package directions. The great yellow and green gods of photo chemicals are very cautious about warning you of any dangers of using their products. Heed the warnings.
    Lex says "Bad odor does not equal toxicity." He is absolutely right, but because so many people believe otherwise a variety of hypochondria called "Multiple Chemical Sensitivity" has reached epidemic proportions. Strangely those with MCS are only "sensitive" to molecules that they can smell, never to those with no odor. Funny, that.
     
  24. I don't think that the photo processing chemicals are toxic or necessarily cancer causing when used correctly, but chemical sensitivity can be a problem for certain people, both with man-made and natural products.
    If you are regularly dizzy, I would look for a cause. You could have inadequate ventilation or you could just be more sensitive to strong chemicals than some people. I am a highly allergic person and am very irritated by certain chemicals. By irritated I mean symptoms like stuffiness, runny nose, dizziness, red/itchy eyes, weepy eyes, sore throat, sinus pain and skin dermatitis. I have to use special shampoo without parabens and SLS/ALS and had to rip all the carpet out of my house because of chemical sensitivity, just to name a couple of examples.
    Anyway, I worked in a lab for about 1.5 years. We ran a standard C-41 mini-lab and a large printing machine in a small room. That room had its own ac/ventilation. During the time I worked there I had 7 sinus infections and was generally dizzy, stuffed-up and sick the whole time. Since I quit working there all those symptoms have disappeared and I haven't had one sinus infection. That was over 4 years ago. Just something to think about. That doesn't mean that photo processing chemicals are "bad". It just demonstrates that certain people have to take more precautions than others. I hope it works out for you.
    Katherine
     
  25. Well, back to my grandfather. he was a film photographer for nearly 60 years and spent sometimes 6 days a week in the darkroom.
    Yes he died of cancer.
    But it might have been the 50 a day cigarette habit he had.
    Here is a good saying:
    Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming WOW - WHAT A RIDE!
    Get a life people!
     
  26. Now I think you're all going overboard the other way. Remember that Sarah's OP was that she was having difficulty in the darkroom.
    Sure we piled on; that's what we do best here. To scoff at handling these chemicals is not a bright idea either, but also true fashion at Pnet.
     
  27. Oh, BTW, there is a 212 page book you can get from Amazon.com entitled "Health Hazards for Photographers", by Sempel. I'm sure that since the latter posters mock those of us who take this seriously, that this book is filled with blank pages, but you be the judge<g>.
    So too would be the 300+ page book, "Overexposure, Health Hazards in Photography" by Shaw and Rossel. Unlike some arrogant asses here on this thread, Shaw is an environmental scientist and Rossel is a chemist and industrial hygenist. All I can say Sarah, is take this stuff seriously.
    Stephen says it best of all, as he mocks us, "Get a life people!" Umm, that's what we're trying to do here Stephen. Thanks for the useful advice.
    For those of you who have not had issues, I'm very glad for you. Sarah had a serious question, coming from a serious concern. Why don't you guys quit peeing all over each other and answer the question with the respect it (and she) deserves?
     
  28. Sarah I don't know what's causing your dizziness but a good check up with your doctor wouldn't hurt. Could very well be other issues. Like some others I don't like mixing powders like D76 (though I do). I'd rather use liquid chems and try not to let them touch skin. I also have my premixed, premeasured chems in tupperware containers sealed with lids. They don't get opened until used and get quickly rinsed when empty. I also keep the rubber stopper in place on my Jobo daylight tank. That all helps to keep odors, fumes and minor spills to a minimum. Best of luck with this situation.
     
  29. Michael Axel;
    I have the first editions of both of those books. I find that they are filled with a great deal of overreaction to chemicals in general. That is the kind of book and authorship that would ban table salt because it can cause high blood pressure. We must take this on balance.
    I neither suggest ignorance nor total fright at chemicals, but rather a balanced look and safety in the lab. At the present time, enrollment in college chemistry courses is way down due to the hype against chemistry. At one time, the US was a leader in chemistry and today we are stagnating mainly due to attitude not reality.
    What I suggest is not irrationality with chemicals, but rather reality with them with the proper dose of caution. Take a close look at those two books and I think you will see that EDTA, a useful drug and a useful food additive is listed in the "suspected carcinogen" and "toxic to humans" lists unless the authors got a dose of reality themselves and changed the entries.
    I agree with Michael Ferron, and added in my first post that I think that Sarah should get some medical advice.
    Ron Mowrey
     
  30. bms

    bms

    Interesting that this thread allows the expression "asses"...
    Micheal A, I did not mean any disrespect there is no doubt that some of these chemicals are toxic - at the right dose, as I tried to suggest. Maybe some ill advised humor. I think what people are trying do to is to avoid Sarah giving up her darkroom because of chemicals. I work with people everyday that handle radioactivity daily, and responsibly, and have not been harmed because the follow the appropriate guidelines. I am myself exposed to X-Rays almost daily, but use precautions. The MSDS are good starting points and give you a good sense of hwat is dangerous. Respect where respect is due. There are things that can kill you - like messing with daguerreotype.
    The issue of toxicity has to be distinguished from hypersensitivity/allergic type reactions , such as type I (Asthma type) or type IV (contact dermatitis/eczema).
    Dizziness is such a vague symptom, though. Causes include, but obviously are to limited to, hypoxia, hyperventilation and dehydration all which could happen during a long darkroom session. Let's not add anxiety (one other cause) to that for anyone reading this thread.
     
  31. Look Sarah, don't let all this get out of proportion. Michael has an excellent point, maybe a trip to the doctor would help. Dizziness is caused by all kinds of things. If this is a new problem, try to think about what might have changed recently. Did you switch to a different brand of chemical or start processing in a different room of the house? Are you eating differently or taking a new medicine/supplement? If something is irritating you, it will be found by a process of methodical elimination.
    I should mention that when I worked in the lab, we had large machines with lots of chemistry in a small room. We used Fuji and Agfa color chems. The machines generated lots of heat. Even though that room had its own AC, the room temperature never got below 80-81F. When I was using the B&W darkroom at school, I never had a problem with dizziness, but two of my classmates did. We used all Kodak chems there.
     
  32. Let see, I've processed thousands of rolls of film, 35mm to 10 inch aerial roll film, and probably the same for sheet film. I've printed 100's of thousand prints. I've never used tongs or gloves. I've tasted chemicals to determine their potency and have had hands so brown from chemicals that I thought they might never be clean again. That was what photography used to be.
    At 65 if I were to go back to processing film, I would do it the same because that's the way I learn. I've never known a photographer or darkroom technician that has suffered any ill effects of working with chemicals in the business.
    Use some common sense and there is little danger. Btw, please see a doctor before your dizziness worsens. It may be totally unrelated to your darkroom activities.
     
  33. Interesting thread. As others suggest please read the accompanying safety info for the chemistry you are using. And take some steps to have proper ventilation.
    For anecdotes, I don't think I can top anything already posted, but I've been in and out of darkroom and paint chemistry for a long time. But I"m willing to bet I'm the only one here whose hand has turned black from bare-fist developing a roll of lithographic film by holding it in the tank and agitating it (long story for another day). Indeed, attitudes about chemistry and chemicals have changed a bit over the years... for the better.
     
  34. Well I never get dizzy in other situations, and its only a little bit. But it did make me think about the health part. I dont suffer from anything else at all and I never did take any medicin etc.
    But cant I just wear a mask like some painters do?
    I also think I will start wearing gloves. I have developed 85 films so far. Only 2 times have I been in the darkroom to copy it to paper. So its just a problem with the developing of the film and doing it from now on and 50 years more that worried me.
    Stephen;
    Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming WOW - WHAT A RIDE!
    Really good:))
     
  35. Sarah;
    The paint filter and most like it are intended to filter out airborne particles or droplets and as such will not filter out gaseous products if that is what is of concern. So, you can remove dust with that mask, but not a gas.
    As for anecdotes, I can teach a week course just on anecdotes (true ones), and probably have you laughing most of the time, but the point remains that chemicals, in the wrong situation, can be harmful. Be especially careful of chemicals trapped under the fingernails. Wash well after a darkroom session and wear a lab coat to protect any exposed skin or clothing. They are sometimes sold as "shop coats" and have full sleeves to protect the arms. I also have a special pair of shoes for the darkroom to prevent carrying chemicals into the rest of the house should I have a floor spill.
    Ron Mowrey
     
  36. I have worked in the semiconductor industry for well over 30yrs now, I have been blown up in a H2 explosion, been burned with Nitric/Sulfuric and Hydrofloric Acid (HF) been gassed with Diborine, HCL, been burned with Silane gas (a pyrophoric, burns in contact with O2) and many other things. the industry is why i have 2 artifical knees... So what does that have to do with anything? In my experance the MOST DANGEROUS chems/gasses etc are the ones that diplace O2, the chems you are using are not in of themselves killers, but when you are working in a closed darkroom the fumes can displace the O2 in the room. The FIRST sign of O2 loss is dizzyness and headache. proper ventilation is a MUST! I have been around very dangerous chems most my life and have learned the MSDS is your friend. I also feel that a attitude like "it didn't hurt that guy" is not a safe one. everyone has a different level of tolerance to these things. If you feel ANY adverse effects with ANY chems (household, paint, cleaning automotive etc..) take a step back and research what you are working with.
    Be Safe 1st,
    Nik
     
  37. I have worked in the semiconductor industry for well over 30yrs now, I have been blown up in a H2 explosion, been burned with Nitric/Sulfuric and Hydrofloric Acid (HF) been gassed with Diborine, HCL, been burned with Silane gas (a pyrophoric, burns in contact with O2) and many other things. the industry is why i have 2 artifical knees... So what does that have to do with anything? In my experance the MOST DANGEROUS chems/gasses etc are the ones that diplace O2, the chems you are using are not in of themselves killers, but when you are working in a closed darkroom the fumes can displace the O2 in the room. The FIRST sign of O2 loss is dizzyness and headache. proper ventilation is a MUST! I have been around very dangerous chems most my life and have learned the MSDS is your friend. I also feel that a attitude like "it didn't hurt that guy" is not a safe one. everyone has a different level of tolerance to these things. If you feel ANY adverse effects with ANY chems (household, paint, cleaning automotive etc..) take a step back and research what you are working with.
    Be Safe 1st,
    Nik
     
  38. Nik;
    In normal usage, there are no chemicals in photography that could displace the Oxygen to the extent you describe. I've been in Ether explosions, been gassed with Phosgene and etc.. All of this was in graduate school, but in a photo lab.... No, this will NOT happen. About the worst volatiles are SO2 gas and Acetic Acid (vinegar).
    No worries from the latter, and only a mild worry from the former if you are allergic to SO2. Even that usually causes a myriad of other symptoms and in any case a doctor would give better advice.
    Ron Mowrey
     
  39. If the acid fixer is making you feel sick, switch to an alcaline fixer. Available at Photographers Formulary.
     
  40. Sorry, that should read "Alkaline fixer,"
     
  41. My two cents:
    Switch to a non-metol based developer such as Xtol.
    Switch to a citrus based stop such as ilfostop. Or use diluted vinegar (14%).
    I wish there was a way to make fixer 100% safe, but there isn't. Use caution with it.
     
  42. Just acknowledging that I read most of this, have many hours in the DR, use tongs, don't mix powders, have decent ventilation in my DR, I do have a fair amount of health problems, none that I can attribute to the DR. Like some of you, I too have a moderate view. One of the most experienced old-time DR addicts I ever knew sloshed in every possible chemical known to man, had prostate cancer in his 70s, died last year at 90, photochemicals unlikely but possible. Ansel Adams seems to have preserved well at an advanced age, Edward Weston had Parkinson's I believe, not likely from the DR. I too agree, allergies and hypersensitivities are probably biggest concern aside from good ventilation and the need to take the basic precautions.
     
  43. Fixer is reasonably safe. Sodium Thiosulfate and Sodium Sulfite are used to balance chlorine in swimming pools. As such, they are added by the tubfull to the pool while running tests for chlorine level. Thiosulfate is used intravenously as a remedy for Cyanide poisoning.
    Diluted vinegar ( 1 - 2% ) is stop bath. Just make sure you used white vinegar.
    Ron Mowrey
     
  44. My personal favorite is the recommendation to avoid photo-chemistry induced suicide while working in your darkroom. While I sometimes get depressed and short tempered over my failure to set a correct exposure or carry a spare battery I never dreamed that my darkroom potions might cause me to end it all in a tray of ANSCO 130.
     
  45. Hi Sarah,
    I've been into photography since the mid 60's and the best book that I've found to date that deals with health hazards in photography, is:"Overexposure" health hazard in photography by Susan D. Shaw and Monona Rossol published by Allworth Press, New York and distributed by Amphoto Books. I'm not sure if the book is still in print, but you can get a copy through the library (ISBN: 0-9607118-6-4). Proper ventilation and a pair of nitrile gloves can't hurt either. Some people can't tolerate latex gloves so I keep nitrile gloves in stock. Try: LSS.COM for filter masks and glove supply's (Lab Safety Supplies). I've run a photo lab for a long time and I find it safer to limit my contact with liquid chemistry and the use of a good filter mask whenever I mix powder chemistry, it all adds up over the years.
    Bill LaPete
     
  46. Hi Sarah,
    I've been into photography since the mid 60's and the best book that I've found to date that deals with health hazards in photography, is: "Overexposure" health hazard in photography by Susan D. Shaw and Monona Rossol published by Allworth Press, New York and distributed by Amphoto Books. I'm not sure if the book is still in print, but you can get a copy through the library (ISBN: 0-9607118-6-4). Proper ventilation and a pair of nitrile gloves can't hurt either. Some people can't tolerate latex gloves so I keep nitrile gloves in stock. Try: LSS.COM for filter masks and glove supply's (Lab Safety Supplies). I've run a photo lab for a long time and I find it safer to limit my contact with liquid chemistry and the use of a good filter mask whenever I mix powder chemistry, it all adds up over the years.
    Bill La Pete
     
  47. I have nitrile gloves which I got from Gempler's. If I'm using a Paterson tank which doesn't leak I may not wear any gloves. I find that a wide rubber band around the line where the bottom of the SS tank meets the top will keep things pretty watertight as long as the cap fits properly. With a phenidone based developer, a citric acid stop bath and a little care using the fixer it is not too hard to keep things safe. Once you start using color chemicals there are other things to think about. It's been a long time since I moved prints around with my bare hands and was up to my elbows in Dektol.
     
  48. One problem is they are not latex and as in Condoms they are a good second try. As in Sheep intestine they will not block out as much as Latex will. but if you are allergic to Latex then use them just remember you are just not as protected... Then again... Only worry if you are allergic to the chems and if that is the case maybe Using a PRo Lab or Digital is what you need to keep your creative juices and Art flowing.
     

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