fumes, toxicity, etc.

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Hey folks,

I was reading the post about Yaakov Asher Sinclair's darkroom ventilation difficulties, and was wondering if someone knows which chemicals specifically (developer, stop, fix) seem to present the greatest hazards? Any doctors or chemists out there? thanks!


-- Chris Jordan (Boston) (gazebophoto@hotmail.com), September 04, 2001



Pyro and its associates plus Selenium would have to be close to the top of the list. The book "Over Exposure", which I no longer have, is a concise listing of the hazards of photographic chemistry.


-- Walter Glover (walterg@netaus.net.au), September 04, 2001.


I am neither a doctor nor a chemist. I would recommend that you first develop an understanding of the levels of toxic hazards we encounter by the different routes of exposure in our darkrooms. The first thing to do is obtain the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for each of the chemicals or chemical solutions you use. They are available from the manufacturer/distributor. The MSDS is not a cure- all, but it is, at least, a starting point. They cover the hazards involved by the different routes of exposure when a chemical is used individually.

-- Ken Burns (kenburns@twave.net), September 04, 2001.

Hi All, My answer would be to anyone, "All chemicals posess a hazzard in the darkroom environment"

-- Bill Jefferson (jefferw@polaroid.com), September 05, 2001.

In addition to the MSDS sheets, the manufacturer's themselves often offer quite a bit of information. Here's the link to kodak's environmental site, there are some great publications on here as pdf files that deal with lab design & safety.


Years ago the NPPA had a publication called "Making Darkrooms Saferooms" that covered alot of this type of material. They broke down the chemicals commonly used and the haszards and routes of entry/exposure. The "Over Exposure" book, and "Artist Beware" books are pretty intensive, but another view is Dr. Richard Henry's "Controls in B&W Photography" by Focal Press. A great book on ventilation, that's probably available at most libraries, is "Ventilation:A Practical Guide."

I know it might be a pain for the average person, but we have to have a copy of all the MSDS sheets for a given area posted. There are multiple sets of the sheets for other areas as well, like security stations. This is all part of "hazard communication" plan. Those notebooks of MSDS sheets do come in handy, you can never be too careful around chemicals.

One more thing to remember is that everyone reacts differently to exposure...

-- DK Thompson (kthompson@moh.dcr.state.nc.us), September 05, 2001.

Chris, the pungentness of Kodak's Indicator Stop would be bothersome in an unventilated darkroom. It tends to irritate the nasal and mucous membranes. Citric Acid is almost odor free and works as well. When you get into Platinum Printing and other alternative process, they can be a bit more lethal. Cheers

-- Scott Walton (scotlynn@shore.net), September 05, 2001.

I would suggest eliminating the use of open trays as much as possible for those concerned about fumes and ventilation. Use a slot processor or drums. I use a Jobo with Lift and also have good ventilation but many times the exhaust fan is not on for the first few hours in the darkroom. All chemicals are sealed in bottles, then into the lift/drum and finally through a hose to a 5 gallon jug. Never exposed to air, this works extremely well for controlling fumes.

-- Gary Frost (gary.frost@onemain.com), September 06, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ