Combustibility/Flamability : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Does anyone know if there is any danger of cumbustion with darkroom chemical vapors if the darkroom is in the proximity of an open flame such as a pilot light on a home furnace or the flames of the furnace when the furnace is heating? Sufficient ventilation is available via exhaust fan, but I'm still wondering. I've read the MSDS on the chemicals I'll be using and noted their flamibility ratings which is low, but I am still unclear about the possible combustion of the vapors. Thanks in advance for any insight.

-- Nick Stanislo (, May 15, 2002


Unless you have found a special developer or secret toner that require high octane gasoline as a main ingredient I doubt very much if darkroom fumes are flammable...

-- Per Volquartz (, May 15, 2002.

Nick, Some very good developer formulas use Acetone which is highly volatile. I have used it for years but always mix the stock solution away from ignition sources. The working solutions are too dilute to cause a problem.Other than that you should not have a problem. Be sure you have adequate fresh air intake for the exhaust fan.

-- Merg Ross (, May 15, 2002.

I was unaware of any developers that contained acetone -or anything else flammable- until the previous post. 25 years after starting to work in the lab, I still have things to learn.. Realistically, flammablity is just not an issue. A far more important concern is keeping your hands out of developers, many of which can cause allergic reactions. Oh, and don't let the pilot light fog your film.

-- Mark Sampson (, May 15, 2002.

Darkroom fumes only burn brain cells...

-- Per Volquartz (, May 15, 2002.

I checked a few years (decades) ago with the techs @ Kodak regarding dumping home-use volumns of developers and fix into a "French well" for disposal. They said the the chemical composition of d-76 (for example) "was not toxic in small home-use quantities and was closer, chemically, to plant food". So, they said, "it should have no effect on gound water polution and the grass should love it." I doubt, though, that the reverse would be true. But then I've never tried to develop tri-X in Miracle=Grow plant food.

-- Steve Feldman (, May 15, 2002.

Hello Nick: Flammables and pilot lights, particularly in basements are a very dangerous mix. In order to build up a mixture capable of causing fire or explosion, the flammable substance must have a flash point lower than RT and be present above a threshold level. Because organic vapours are heavier than air they concentrate close to the floor which happens to be also the location for the pilot lights. You should be aware of the flammability of anything you bring into the house, the labels should indicate if the mixture is flammable or contains flammable substances. You can also request an MSDS from the manufacturer, which will contain all the pertinent data. Additionally, breathing organic vapours for prolongued periods can be bad for your health, although acetone has very low toxicity and it might be less toxic than other stuff in developer soups.

-- Julio Fernandez (, May 15, 2002.

Steve: to your point, there is probably some potion in a 'health food store' claimed to do everything including developing your TriX and grow hair. About D76, Kodak techs are probably quite right though.

-- Julio Fernandez (, May 17, 2002.


Please let me know which health food store has the potion for hair growth. Need that!


-- Steve Feldman (, May 20, 2002.

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