Dangers of selenium toner

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by cvik, Nov 1, 2005.

  1. cvik

    cvik Member

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    I know one must be careful when handling most toners and bleach baths. This includes selenium toner.

    How dangerous is it?

    I did a google and found answers from 'tastes good with red meat' to 'must handle using NASA ceritified space suit'.

    So how dangerous is it? Is it dangerous to inhale the gas? And what is meant by dangerous? - sudden death or headache, dizziness?
    I currently use the liquid Kodak Selenium toner.

    (confused)
     
  2. Les McLean

    Les McLean Subscriber

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    Wear gloves and make sure the room is well ventilated when using it and you'll be perfectly safe. If you use it very hot be prepared to experience some very strong pungent smells but you will produce some really different results.
     
  3. Daniel Lawton

    Daniel Lawton Member

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    I'm certainly no chemical engineer but I believe the hazards of selenium toning are through skin absorbtion more than inhalation. The pungent smell is actually the fixer contained in the selenium toner and is no more dangerous than plain hypo in terms of fumes. If I am wrong hopefully someone with more knowledge will correct me. The best precautions are gloves or tongs and if you spill any onto yourself wash it off as soon as possible. The nice thing about toning is that it can be done in daylight so if the smell bothers you then try doing it outside or in a garage.
     
  4. lee

    lee Member

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    I am of the opinion that there is more selenium in the selenium based shampoo than in the toner. However, having said that, I must disclose I am not a chemist nor have I played on TV.

    lee\c
     
  5. clay

    clay Subscriber

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    A lot of people take selenium supplements with their vitamins! Admittedly very small amounts, but your body does need some amount of the stuff.

    I think the danger gets hyped up by some because it is a heavy metal like mercury that accumulates in fatty tissues and the liver, and is not readily expelled by the body if excessive quantities are consumed. Frankly, that is the last thing I would worry about in the darkroom. Wear gloves and use adequate ventilation and you should be fine.
     
  6. MattCarey

    MattCarey Member

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    If you end up with garlic breath that never goes away, you have ingested too much selenium.

    The old mineralogy texts/references have a "taste" test. Selenium was rated as a "garlic" taste.

    I know a guy who used to work with Seleniun compounds. He told me the above. He also told me he was never around when they would first open the quartz tubes containing his crystals.

    Matt

    http://www.sciencestuff.com/msds/C2450.html
     
  7. clay

    clay Subscriber

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    Those old mineralogy tests were a little scary. Do you remember the warnings about never using the taste test on some of the evaporite minerals found in desert playas and so forth? A few of them contain some nice stuff like arsenic and cyanide!
     
  8. GregT.

    GregT. Member

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    Selenium Toner MSDS

    Material Safety Data Sheet for Kodak Rapid Selenium Toner is down the page HERE. Pay particular attention to sections 4, 7, 8 and 11.

    Note there are several listed. They are different issue dates. Check the upper left when you open them.
     
  9. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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    hmmmm stop dyeing my hair, and go back to snow white hair? NEVER, I have repeatedly and for prolonged times exposed my scalp to Selenium.

    Use common sense. Wear gloves and have proper ventilation.

    Concentrated goes without saying to handle cautiously. Beyond that the worst you will have to contend with is: if you are sensitive to the substance, some dizziness from prolongeddddddddddd breathing. I doubt we are going to drink the stuff. Our hands are an other matter. We need to wear gloves wo we can keep our orginal skin color. I know when the hair dye gets past the hairline onto my forehead, I wear some of the smarks of the selenium. Reminds me I need to get my hair retoned soon.
     
  10. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    ..
     
  11. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

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    I guess my olfactory sense was burned out by selenium years ago. I can't smell it at all. I can smell the cigarette being smoked in the car in front of me at the traffic intersection, but I can't smell selenium toner 12 inches from my nose.

    I do use tongs.
     
  12. Gerald Koch

    Gerald Koch Member

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    Selenium toners are safe to use with normal precautions. Don't drink the stuff, use rubber gloves, and work in a well ventilated area. Like toners based on sodium sulfide, addition of a strong acid will generate a poisonous gas, hydrogen selenide.

    Selenium is excreted from the body in the sweat and in the breath as very disagreeable smelling organic compounds.
     
  13. psvensson

    psvensson Member

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    The selenium in shampoo is selenium sulfide, not sodium selenite as in toners. Unlike selenite, the sulfide form is not absorbed through the skin. Ironically, it's the only form of selenium thought to be carcinogenic if ingested. See http://www.eco-usa.net/toxics/selenium.shtml

    Personally, I stay away from selenium toners. I'm not confident I can use them safely in my improvised darkroom. As the above article notes, chronic exposure to small amounts, only slightly above what we usually get from food, is harmful.
     
  14. jvarsoke

    jvarsoke Member

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    Hmm, I guess Latex gloves are a no-go? That would sure explain why my hands keep getting wet inside the gloves.
     
  15. User Removed

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    There has been a few times when I did not have any gloves and had to tone prints. It turns your fingernails a funky brown/yellow/orange color that does not go away for ALONG time.

    Use NITRILE GLOVES because those are chemical resistant.
     
  16. titrisol

    titrisol Member

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    I think selenium toners are quite safe, if used using common sense

    Do not drink it
    Do not take a bath on it

    The smell is mostly ammonia, use good ventilation
    Use NITRILE gloves if you want to be extra sure
     
  17. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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    your hands get wet inside the latex gloves because your hands sweat! You guys are being way to excessive about this. YOu are fearing things that that sheet from Kodak exagerates. It would take a very concentrated form to harm you, and thien long exposure like in the days to weeks worth of constant exposure. Get a clue Selenium is not any more dangerous then using a chlorine cleaser in your bathroom.