Taking photo chems into Canada

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by mattbellphoto, Apr 9, 2010.

  1. mattbellphoto

    mattbellphoto Member

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    Dose anyone have any experience in crossing the US/Canada border with photo chemicals?

    I'll have a 2L bottle of Acufine, 1L bottle of Acufine replenisher, 2L bottle of Rapid-Fixer, 1L bottle of Hypoclear, and maybe a 2L bottle of Xtol.

    I know these chemicals are not dangerous and are perfectly legal in either country. But should I declare then at the border crossing? Could I get into trouble if I don't?

    I don't have enough money in my travel budget to buy new chemicals once I get there.


    I'm visiting a friend in Toronto, ON soon. I live in North Carolina, so it'll be a good long drive. I would fly, but I enjoy driving and want to carry a lot more stuff than I could on an airline.

    She's also a photog, and is letting me set up a darkroom in her bathroom so I/we can do a lot of B&W photography.

    I'm not hardcore enough to lug an entire enlarger. But I'll have my Epson V500 photo scanner for some somewhat-instant digital satisfaction.
     
  2. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    I would ship them myself, budget extant. You're really rolling the dice having to leave them with a border officer if that's all you get off with. Just my 0.02.
     
  3. Kevin Kehler

    Kevin Kehler Member

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    I have crossed the border a couple of times with chemicals but I am a Canadian going back into Canada. Usually I don't declare it unless they ask and if they do, I have always ensured all tags, labels and original packaging is still attached. In addition, if you can have new, unopened bottles, there tends to be less fuss. The couple of times I have been asked about the chemicals, I normally have 2-3 cameras with me and generally the discussion centers around "do people still shoot film?". The most important thing, don't lie! but realize that none of these items are in anyways dangerous and all are sold here in Canada.

    Also realize that all of these materials are sold in Toronto, normally stocked with the exception of the Acufine.
     
  4. dbonamo

    dbonamo Member

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  5. Toffle

    Toffle Member

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    Not to disagree out of hand, but seeing the hassles people are having shipping chemicals, dealing with regulations in both countries and the whims of international carriers, I would be more inclined to pack them myself. That way they will arrive at the same time as you do, and with the knowledge that they were handled with the same care you give all your materials.
     
  6. Rich Ullsmith

    Rich Ullsmith Subscriber

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    Going north, I would not think twice. Coming south, I would ship.

    I have a colleague who is on the "watch list" for air travel because she told US border dudes she had no food in the car, but they found a kiwi that rolled out of her lunch sack a few days earlier. Coming south, I would ship.
     
  7. MartinB

    MartinB Member

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    I drove from Calgary to a workshop at Photo Formulary in Montana last June and took chems with me and brought them back. Was never asked by either US or Can Customs, other than are you bringing any fruit, anything that you will leave behind etc. Since the answer to those questions was no, the subject of the photo chems never came up.

    I agree with one of the previous answers, just answer truthfully any questions asked, and do not volunteer additional info not asked for. I brought the original Xtol bag with me just in case there was any question about the contents of the plain bottle. All of the chems you mentioned are sold here in Canada and you are just bringing stuff for personal use.

    you could print out a page to have with you, showing the products for sale by Canadian retailers -
    for example, http://www.thecamerastore.com/search/products/results/taxonomy%3A23.24
    or http://www.photo-co.com/securestore/c59941.2.html
     
  8. Rob Skeoch

    Rob Skeoch Advertiser

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    I wouldn't worry about it. Just bring them along.
    -rob
     
  9. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    Haven't you heard what the terrorists can do with a kiwi?!?!?!
     
  10. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    I assume that these are not in original, unopened containers. That could be an issue since, in the mind of Canadian customs, these aren't photo chemicals, they're unknown chemicals. But you don't have large quantities and most of the attention is likely to be in the other direction (Canada to US). So I would mention them only if asked (as Kevin and MartinB suggests) and have some documentation. I'd be most worried about the fixer, given that ingredients might (I'm not a chemist) also be present in some form in other, more dangerous chemicals. Perhaps someone with more knowledge than me can weigh in.
     
  11. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    I occasionally have Photographer's Formulary ship stuff to my brother-in-law's parents who live in Oregon (they drive up here twice a year). The last time I got stuff shipped to them, the Canadian Customs people wanted to look at the package very carefully and inspected every single item in the box, but were very friendly and chatty while doing it, presumably since the story they were told made sense. Keep stuff in original packaging so that any Customs people who have issues with the chemicals can have a clearer idea of what you are bringing. The packaging will tell them what the chemicals are for.

    The only possible problem you might have is that Canada Customs and Revenue Agency might charge you taxes on the product, if they believe that you will be leaving it in Canada (gifts up to $50 are allowed but above that, you have to pay taxes as Canadians would). However, you're allowed to bring in any reasonable amount of personal effects (there are limits on alcohol and tobacco, and we have more stringent firearms laws than the US does, but for normal things, you're pretty unrestricted).

    I wouldn't worry about it too much really. You have a legitimate reason for bringing it. The only reason that can cause you grief with border crossings is employment.
     
  12. mattbellphoto

    mattbellphoto Member

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    Thanks for in the info everyone. I feel a lot more confident taking them now.
     
  13. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    What if you cut a label off the original package and stuck it to the bottles?

    Just in case you need to read the instructions... ifyouknowwhatimean... :wink:
     
  14. wotalegend

    wotalegend Member

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    To me a kiwi is a flightless bird native to New Zealand, and the term is also used to describe a person from NZ. Which of those two rolled out of the lunch sack? :wink:
     
  15. Kevin Caulfield

    Kevin Caulfield Subscriber

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    Errr, maybe the fruit? Or don't they have them in your part of Melbourne? :wink:
     
  16. wotalegend

    wotalegend Member

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    Doh! :mad: Must have been having a seniors moment.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 10, 2010
  17. Kevin Caulfield

    Kevin Caulfield Subscriber

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    It's okay, they are usually called a "kiwi fruit". :wink:
     
  18. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    In a moment of weakness I began to think of the kiwi(fruit) beneath the seat. This grew into the kiwi(bird) beneath the seat & went on to the kiwi(person) beneath the seat. At that point I became concerned that the kiwi(person) would have a hard time getting out from beneath the seat and why was your friend smuggling him into Canada?