Least toxic film devs for tray use?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by tomishakishi2, Dec 31, 2004.

  1. tomishakishi2

    tomishakishi2 Member

    Messages:
    40
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Any thoughts as to the least toxic devs for tray use with LF film. I am asking as fingers beat gloves any day of the week. Or are they all to an extent 'bad'.

    Tom
     
  2. noseoil

    noseoil Member

    Messages:
    2,898
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2003
    Location:
    Tucson
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    As a recent darkroom worker with only two year's experience, I had been using PMK and ABC pyro for sheet film development. Both of these have known health risks, so I always use gloves to mix or handle them.

    Recently, I've switched to Pyrocat-HD and tube development. I wish I had made this change sooner. There is no contact with chemistry at all with this process. The tubes are loaded in the dark and the type I made has screw in tops which are light tight. Pyrocat is very flexible and easy to use, it can be mixed in differing dilutions to go from rapid development to stand development.

    Once the tubes are loaded and filled with water, developer of fixer, the lights go back on and the tubes are rolled in a water bath of the correct temperature until completion of the cycle. This method has several advantages over tray development and one or two drawbacks. Development is easy, uniform, simple, consistent and very economical. The tubes were made out of hardware store materials which are available with fittings in many shapes, sizes diameters. Very low tech, but extremely flexible with respect to plus and minus development.

    The main drawback I can see is that shuffling a stack of film is not possible and each sheet is done on an individual basis, so a lot of film might take more time. Development by inspection is not done as easily. For me this is offset by not having to worry about any scratches, chemicals on the skin or other problems associated with trays.

    To answer your question, I don't know about toxicity. I treat all chemicals as toxic or harmful and try to avoid all skin contact. Try tubes and end your worries.
     
  3. TPPhotog

    TPPhotog Member

    Messages:
    3,042
    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Another option I sometimes use when printing is to use disposible medical examination gloves. The hands work as well as they do unprotected and I can throw the gloves away after the session.
     
  4. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    17,946
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I also use surgical gloves. They offer almost as much sensitivity as bare hands and a little more traction, really, and they protect the film from my classical guitarist fingernails.
     
  5. RAP

    RAP Member

    Messages:
    476
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2002
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I too use examining gloves when I print, but only on my right hand. They fit like a second skin. Every time you process a sheet of paper from tray to tray is like having a strong acid base rection occur on you hands. Acetic acid, even at high dilutions can cause your hands to dry and crack. Not very pleasant!

    Keep in mind, have plenty of fluffy towels on hand to make sure your hands are dry before you return to the dry side of the darkroom.

    For film processing, I use HP Combi tanks for 4x5 sheet film. They are daylight tanks with lids and will do 6 sheets at a time. I have 6 individual tanks, lids, one for each step. Each tank is already filled so I can just plunge the film right in. Little to no hand contact with the chemicals.
     
  6. tomishakishi2

    tomishakishi2 Member

    Messages:
    40
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'm looking to start 8x10 in trays, as I already have these and do not want to have to pay for tubes etc. I initially thought of Xtol as probably lower toxicity, as it may not have hydroquinone in it. I use a combitank in 5x4 and am very happy with that.

    I too have used medical gloves for various tasks, but personally find that they dull one's touch a tad. Im not sure if I would be able to fiddle with sheet film in a tray with such gloves. With 8x10 it is likely to be low volume, I have considered brush development - anyone know good artciles on how to do this? Still seems rather laborious, tho I suppose I could do several sheets at once in seperate trays (I have some 9.5 x 12" trays which would presumably work to hold the film. As much as I would love a rotary something to do my 8x10, the cost may be the killer. I am still waiting to get my bigger tripod for the darned thing (now have some lenses etc).


    More traction with gloves...I suppose it stops the alkali making your skin slippery as it breaks down? Makes sense......
    Tom
     
  7. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,619
    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago, Wes
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Dear Tom,

    I always use gloves when my hands go in chemistry (tray processing sheet film or color paper) or if I'm toning. One advantage I've found is that they dry more quickly than my skin. (My hands smell better too.<g>) Watch out for latex allergies though. You can find non-latex gloves at the local home center if latex allergies are a problem.

    Neal Wydra
     
  8. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

    Messages:
    2,512
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2002
    Location:
    Omaha, Nebra
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    XTOL is probably the least toxic off the shelf developer. It was designed with toxicity to the envrionment in mind.

    As others have pointed out surgical gloves work very well once you get a feel for them.

    Another option is to buy a used JOBO processor.
     
  9. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    17,946
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    It's really amazing what physicians can feel through surgical gloves and through a patient's skin. Once you get used to them, handling wet film in the dark with gloves becomes second nature.
     
  10. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

    Messages:
    2,131
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Grab a copy of Anchell's "Darkroom Cookbook". In it you'll find a recipe for Mytol. It's an X-TOL copy that you can mix yourself. X-TOL itself would be a good choice. Any other dev. with phenidon and ascorbic acid will be "safer". Hdroquinone and the pyros are probably the most toxic dev agents you can use.
     
  11. fhovie

    fhovie Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,247
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Port Hueneme
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I use gloves too - especially for pyro or amidol. Regular Metol or Penidone mixes I'll use my hands sparingly. I feel safest with the new Vitamin C developers (paper and film) but for LF film tray use I use gloves and pyro.
     
  12. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    9,281
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Location:
    Bergen, Norw
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I sometimes use gloves, sometimes tongs for prints. Always one glove for film, I need the other hand bare to get the film out of the holders. So only one hand in the soup, and a roll of kitchen towels...
     
  13. argentic

    argentic Member

    Messages:
    1,722
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Echandelys,
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Just try one of Gainers Vitamin C developers. They are based on Phenidon, Vitamin C, and sodumcarbonate. If you want a longer lasting but not toxic stock solution mix it with propylene glycol. Should work fine for tray devlopment. And although I would surely not recommend it, you could maybe even drink it.
     
  14. dancqu

    dancqu Member

    Messages:
    3,676
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Willamette V
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Millions in this country are dying from blubber; spooning
    and forking in too much of a good thing; poisening themselves.
    Cause of death; ingestion.

    That bespeaks of an unsuredness. You're worried about some
    substances totally under your personal control. Millions over the
    last several generations have put in forty hours a week, year
    after year, working with solutions containing hydroquinone,
    metol, sulfites; bare handed.

    I don't consider any darkroom chemistry toxic or poisenous.
    But then I don't eat, drink, or inhale any of it. Dan