Lethal?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Stephen Frizza, Aug 7, 2013.

  1. Stephen Frizza

    Stephen Frizza Member

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    I'm curious, after so many years of working with a wide range of raw photographic chemicals which readily obtainable common photographic chemical if ingested would prove to be most lethal?
     
  2. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    short or long term?

    Consider a book I think that is called 'Overexposure'. I have a copy somehwere on my photo reference bookshelf at home.
    The author's name does not spring to mind at present. She wrote it in mid 70's when a lot more wet chemistry careers were in the workforce.

    Most of the toner metal salts are pretty nasty to the body over time.

    Raw selenium can do you in in just about no time.

    Soduim and Potassuim Hydroxides are no peach either.

    I would consider looking at other entry routes other than just ingested, but LD50 oral is the number you are talking about in your post.

    I print off the simplified MSDS page for each raw chem I buy and put them in a prominently labelled binder I have poited out to my wife so she knows about it.
    The entries are filed alphabettically by the name I put on the storage bottle.

    Oxford Physical Chemistry has a great simpliifed msds data base availabe for free, that is the basis for most of my MSDS pages. I want to know about the short form risks, not the 10 pages to say how to label it in 50kg drums for fire fighting purposes.
     
  3. Jesper

    Jesper Subscriber

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    Are you planning on tasting some or do you want to poison someone?
     
  4. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    Depends on minimum lethal dosages. Straight ingestion, it doesn't take much Pyrogallol. Catechol, strong acids and bases, Selenium, PPD. Of course there are others less readily available, and things can have long term effects in lower doses, particularly with repeated exposure over time. Not only that but direct ingestion is not the only risk. Inhalation of vapours and dust during mixing of dry chemicals. And some compounds (like Pyro for example) are absorbed through the skin.
     
  5. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    Those photograhic chemicals are nothing compare to the drugs I use during the 60's and the 70's :laugh:

    Jeff
     
  6. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Although no longer commonly available or widely used in photo processing, I'd rank cyanide and uranium at the top, with mercury following close behind. After those, anything that's a strong acid or strong base (blixes for color processes are pretty nasty).
     
  7. Hexavalent

    Hexavalent Subscriber

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    Dichromates aren't much fun either, a couple grams is all it takes to kill... and the solution looks just like tasty orange kool-aid.
     
  8. ME Super

    ME Super Member

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    Funny thing about Sodium Hydroxide is that it can be neutralized into something much less nasty with another nasty chemical, Hydrochloric Acid. We did this as an experiment in High School chemistry.

    NaOH + HCl -> NaCl + H2O.

    This is far less nasty unless you live in California, where H2O was nearly banned because one of it's more ominous sounding names is "Dihydrogen monoxide."
     
  9. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I saw a youtube video of the Weston Brothers being interviewd, their fingers were black from putting in chemicals.
    They were waving them around almost as a badge of honour, which for the time would be cool, but after years of working in trays I now wear glove and my hands are getting better.

    There was a time about 12 years ago that I was getting rashes on my hands which I attribute to working dev, stop, fix hypo clear without gloves.
     
  10. eclarke

    eclarke Member

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    It's interesting that the US generation who won WWII were exposed to all the materials we are now afraid of and only about half the newest generation make it through high school.
     
  11. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    Amidol is what did that with Westons. It stains everything.

     
  12. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    One city in conservative Orange County almost fell for that hoax, but that was about it. A 14 year-old kid did gather petitions for his science project that asked for a ban on Dihydrogen monoxide...his project was titled "How Gullible are People", or something like that.

    Potassium ferricyanide is not very toxic, despite the cyanide, as the cyanide is tied up pretty tight to the iron. But still toxic. And one does not want to mix it with a very strong acid (working strength stop bath is not a very strong acid) as cyanide gas can be generated.

    Rashes on the hands would probably be caused by an allergic reaction to metol in the developers.
     
  13. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    And of course those WWII vets never suffered from PTSD either.

    (satire alert)
     
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  15. Hexavalent

    Hexavalent Subscriber

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    Mercuric chloride is far nastier than the uranium nitrate typically used for toning/intensification.
     
  16. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    If you can remember the 70's then you were just not having enough fun. :wink:
     
  17. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    The book "Overexposure" is not very reliable as it is full of distortions, bad data and sensationalism. It completely ignores the dictum that it is the dose not the poison that is important. For example, it states that phosphoric acid is poisonous. In actuality phosphoric acid is a common acidulate in the food industry. According to the authors of Overexposure my next sip of Coca Cola will be my last! I would certainly discourage anyone from buying this book. MSDS's are readily available on the web and are more accurate.

    If one is limited to commonly used photographic chemicals then my candidate would be pyrogallol. The LDlo (lowest lethal dose) is 26 mg per kilogram of body weight. Of course things are a bit more complicated as one must also consider chronic exposure to poisonous chemicals. Then there are mutagens and carcinogens which can have nasty effects at very small doses.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 7, 2013
  18. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    I started darkroom my senior year in high school. Used my hands for tongs in the Dektol. I had a constant rash until I graduated and we went on vacation for a few weeks (no darkroom) and my rash cleared up.
     
  19. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    All very true - but then again, McDonalds is far more likely to have lethal effect long-term than most photo chemistry exposure. I think most photographers have far more respect for the chemicals they use and handle than the average person has for the food they eat.
     
  20. Rudeofus

    Rudeofus Subscriber

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    Bleaches in color processes are, contrary to what FlyingCamera wrote, not overly acidic and harmful with the sole exception of the (now more or less defunct) Ilfochrome process. Bleaches for C41, RA4 and E6 all operate between pH 4 and 7, and BLIXes between 6 and 7.
     
  21. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    I did not mean that they are overly acidic. They are caustic to some degree, the worst of course being as you mentioned the Ilfochrome blix. But you still don't want to breathe their fumes or get them in your eyes.
     
  22. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    Most of the mixed photographic solutions are not very dangerous, and neither are most of the unmixed packaged developers and fixers. That doesn't mean you wouldn't get sick from them, but they are not lethal acute poisons. Most manufacturers do an excellent job of telling you about any hazards on the label (at least in the US). The most hazardous are probably the toners, some of which are acutely poisonous. That does not apply to the raw components you might use to mix up your own solutions, however. Here the chemicals are much more concentrated and can be more toxic. Also, the bottles of raw chemicals are not usually marked to indicate poisons. Hydroxides have already been mentioned as nasty. Add glacial acetic acid to that. Developing agents like pyro and PPD are quite toxic and can be absorbed through the skin. Sodium sulfide (the toning agent, not sulfite) is quite toxic. There are a number of other things that show up in an experimenter's darkroom that should not be ingested, but these are the most common.
     
  23. Rudeofus

    Rudeofus Subscriber

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    They have to be able to etch Silver but that's about it. Their fumes are likely much more harmless than those from most developers, and likewise I would expect most developers to be much worse to your eyes, too. To my best knowledge, Ferric EDTA is used orally to treat insufficient Iron intake.
     
  24. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    AgNo3 is lethal if ingested.
     
  25. eclarke

    eclarke Member

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    They didn't because they weren't pansies.

     
  26. eclarke

    eclarke Member

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    OK, who here won't die???