XTOL Part A in water - fume inhalation causing diarrhoea

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by PeterB, Jan 1, 2014.

  1. PeterB

    PeterB Subscriber

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    I mixed up a fresh batch of XTOL last night in my darkroom, and after adding Part A (Phenidone+sodium sulphite) to the 31degC pure water then mixing for 5 mins, I had a sudden bout of diarrhoea !

    I was wearing this gas mask with TWO of these organic gas filters, plus goggles and gloves.

    I had my extraction fan plus ducted air-conditioning ventilation going full speed. Despite all my precautions I got mucosal irritation in my nose and throat and then diarrhoea ! I'm assuming the gas being liberated and inhaled was sulphurous acid. Both symptoms are documented side effects of exposure to sodium sulphite and sulphurous acid.

    Clearly I need to do this in either a fume cupboard or outside again (like I used to).
     
  2. Alessandro Serrao

    Alessandro Serrao Member

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    Just a simple question: if you're allergic to fumes and powder developers, why don't you just use a liquid one?
     
  3. Photo Engineer

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    That mixture will not cause your "symptom" unless it is injested, and perhaps not even then. It usually causes other symptoms in those who are allergic to Sulfite or Phenidone.

    PE
     
  4. PeterB

    PeterB Subscriber

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    . I've never had that problem before and have always mixed my XTOL outside. Additionally I have way too much testing and experienced devoted to XTOL and it ticks all the other boxes.
     
  5. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    I think you have something a bit more serious underlying there which cannot (conveniently or otherwise) be attributed to sulphorous acid of sulphite.
     
  6. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi peter

    while i don't use xtol anymore
    i have never heard of anyone getting physically ill
    from mixing it. i always used to like watching it
    change colors when i mixed it :wink:

    sorry to ask this, but might you have had something to eat or drink
    previous to you mixing the chemistry ( like angry chicken ) that might
    have picked a fight with other things in your system ?
     
  7. PeterB

    PeterB Subscriber

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    Hi PE, an XTOL MSDS and one for sulphurous acid lists the two symptoms I experienced. I think the filters in my gas mask weren't working or the seal was not tight. I had the solution heated to about 31degC and could feel the fumes slightly acrid in my eyes as I didn't have sealing goggles on.

    "Inhalation:
    Part A: Harmful if inhaled. Airborne dust irritating. May cause irritation to the mucous membranes and upper respiratory tract. Some asthmatics or sulphite-sensitive individuals may experience wheezing, chest tightness,stomach upset, hives, faintness, weakness and diarrhea."
     
  8. PeterB

    PeterB Subscriber

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    Not impossible but the timing was uncanny. I had nothing unusual or suspicious to eat that day and none of my other 4 family members had diarrhoea.
     
  9. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Your reference MSDS refers to injestion, not inhalation. See my previous post.

    The inhalation comments in your second paragraph is more to the point. If you inhale it, you cough, sneeze and have difficulty breathing.

    So, I maintain that if you had the symptoms you did, it was either ingestion or it was something you ate. If it was the dust being inhaled you would cough, sneeze, wheeze and perhaps have a swollen tongue and nasal passages, and perhaps difficulty swallowing. I have seen this.

    PE
     
  10. JW PHOTO

    JW PHOTO Subscriber

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    Maybe you had better switch to Ilford DD-X, HC-110 or one of the other liquid developers. I have myself experienced a nasal irritation when mixing a certain developer and I know that is exactly what caused it. I learned my lesson the hard way. JohnW
     
  11. PeterB

    PeterB Subscriber

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    PE, you're right that the 2nd MSDS did only refer to ingestion, however I just found another MSDS listing inhaling the sulfurous acid fumes/gas which reads:

    " Inhalation: Mists and vapors cause irritation of respiratory tract. " ​

    which is what I had. The diarrhoea symptom documented in the XTOL MSDS I referenced was most likely attributed (in my conclusion) to inhaling the sodium sulphite powder. If it was an allergic reaction yes I agree I should have had anaphylaxis type symptoms which I didn't and would instead suggest I just could have been sensitive to the sulphite rather than allergic to it. Or (less likely) that it was something I ate. Only a repeat experiment will tell and I'm not volunteering for that any time soon !
     
  12. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    I'm actually of the mind there's some other cause besides Xtol, BUT, so what? If you really think Xtol is the cause, inside, outside, wherever; give it up and move on.

    Seriously, if for some weird reason you are hypersensitive to the chemicals in Xtol, are you willing to die or be disabled just to be able to use Xtol?

    I've used Ibuprofen sparingly for years, fell and hurt my wrist and shoulder a few weeks back and got put on an Rx size dose, got to feeling weird so backed off on the dose. Everybody at work was telling me to get back on the pills because they never had a problem. Went and got a second opinion, and he put me back on the Ibuprofen, dang near had to call for an ambulance 18 hours later, as it turns out that I'm an odd duck and my body doesn't get along with Ibuprofen so I'm done with Ibuprofen forever.
     
  13. Photo Engineer

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    Peter, if you were wearing the respirator and if you were practicing common lab cleanliness, then it is unlikely that you would have inhaled any dust. That mask does not filter out gases.

    But, if you got some powder on a finger and then stuck it in your mouth, or did something like bite a fingernail, then you would have likely ingested a few mg of that "dangerous" chemical. But, if you eat a salad at a restaurant buffet, it is likely that the same Sulfite is on your salad greens to keep them fresh. This is legal in many places. If it is legal in AU, then you have ingested the chemical you believe made you sick.

    So, if you are sensitive and you have those symptoms, you were somehow careless. If you were "clean" but use of Sulfite is legal in your area, then you have probably eaten as much or more than you could have gotten from Xtol.

    I suggest you change developers AND change your lab procedures.

    PE
     
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  15. Kawaiithulhu

    Kawaiithulhu Subscriber

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    If you have questions on poisons in the USA you can call 1-800-222-1222 to reach the Poison Control Center who can get you immediate answers, without guessing or making assumptions. Even EMTs use that number when encountering a patient with symptoms and they need to know the right treatment.
     
  16. PeterB

    PeterB Subscriber

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    Thanks PE and Mark.

    PE, I assumed the mask would filter out gases but upon more investigation the filters are incorrectly advertised as "providing protection against dusts, mists, organic gases and vapours, fumes and odours", and recommended for "agricultural/garden chemical sprays" but when I look up the Australian Standard, the P2 filter classification only filters out particulates "Mechanically and thermally generated particles including welding fumes." No activated charcoal in them at all. I'd been had !

    I was careful not to get any powder onto my fingers (I had gloves on). I think the route was inhalation of the powder via a poor seal on my mask or the sulphurous fumes via the P2 filters - so yes at the very least my lab procedures need to change. This could be a sulphur sensitivity not just a sulphite sensitivity.

    Regarding me being exposed to higher amounts of sulphur when eating foods, yes that must have happened however the peak concentrations would be different.
    It is possible the concentration of sulphite/sulphur peaked in my blood to a much higher level due to the inhalation route, even though the total mass I inhaled was much smaller than my usual exposure through foods. I mean that's why drug addicts inhale (or inject) their chemicals rather than take pills as they give more immediate rise in concentration in their blood.

    The maximum permitted level of sulphites in foods in OZ is documented here.

    Mark, your experience with ibuprofen is a warning to me. I will consider what to do.
     
  17. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    As a chemist let me say that Xtol is probably the most benign of the commercially available developers. There is no free sulgurous acid in the mixed solution as noted in the MSDS. Your symptom is not associated with any of the chemicals in the developer. While I usually advocate taking safety precautions with darkroom chemicals. you fear of Xtol is unfounded and the respirator ineffectual. This is predicated on the assumption that you have never experienced an asthma like reaction before when exposed to sulfites say from drinking wine. In which case you would have tp give up darkroom work. I fear that you may be making too much out of something which probably has no relation to the Xtol. Like Scrooge you may have been suffering from an "undigested bit of beef."
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 1, 2014
  18. Sal Santamaura

    Sal Santamaura Member

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    I'll let those with more expertise continue to discuss the possibility that there's any connection between XTOL and your symptoms, but wonder why you'd mix it at 31 degrees C? I've had no trouble getting Part A into solution at the low end of its instructions' temperature range, i.e. not much above 18 degrees C.
     
  19. Richard Man

    Richard Man Member

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    I have asthma (but controlled with no episodes for over 2 years now) and have no problem with Xtol whatsoever.
     
  20. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    +1 for it was something other than the Xtol. I mix the stuff in my kitchen and it smells nice, if at all. It's about the lowest toxicity/sensitivity of any developer you're going to find. I have never heard of anyone reacting to it, let alone using a gas-mask while mixing it!

    Either you ate something bad (including chemicals on your hands) and the timing was a coincidence, or maybe there was something in your mask? The only gas mask we've got at home we use for garden spraying, and (because of everything it absorbs and the nasty rubber it's made of), it's pretty nausea-inducing. Were the filters fresh? Was the mask properly washed before use?
     
  21. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    I might also add that while we should always treat chemicals with respect fearing them is also dangerous. For example wearing a gas mask when not necessary can lead to accidents because they usually obstruct the users vision. Chemicals should be treated commensurate with the danger that they propose. While an MSDS can be very useful it must be read in an intelligent manner. They are written so that they will apply to everyone working with a particular chemical. So a particular warning may not apply with respect to your particular usage. Warnings are grouped into inhalation, ingestion, and contact. For most chemicals used in the darkroom the primary concern is usually eye or skin contact.

    Some chemicals can be rather capricious in the danger they may evidence. Tannic acid is not poisonous when ingested. We all consume coffee and tea everyday without any danger. Acid in the stomach renders it harmless. But when tannic acid is applied to abraded skin it can cause poisoning.

    Chemical names must be read carefully. The chemical mercurous chloride is non-toxic while mercuric chloride is a violent poison. Potassium ferricyanide is not dangerous but potassium cyanide is extremely dangerous. Chromium (III) as found in potassium chromium alum is not particularly dangerous but chromium (VI) found in potassium dichromate is very dangerous. ... So everyone be aware of what you are using.
     
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  22. PeterB

    PeterB Subscriber

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    No and No.

    I never like wearing the mask owing to the increase in deadspace (=>rebreathing CO2) plus the possibility of inhaling whatever was left in there last time. I can't rule out other common causes for diarrhoea (however conincidental) I just can't think of what it was.

    OK, so if it happens again I can blame all the naysayers !!
     
  23. jernejk

    jernejk Member

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    Did you know what symptoms inhalation could cause BEFORE you started mixing?
     
  24. Xmas

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    Try Rodinal instead or get another of your family to mix up ID68 outside house.
    Hazchms can be dangerous.
     
  25. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    If the filters were not fresh, and the mask not clean, it's possible that it had undesirable stuff growing. Do you use the mask for other things? How much use does it get? How is it stored?

    As for mixing Xtol, it's never been a problem for me, but that doesn't mean anything for your experience. I occasionally wear a nuisance dust mask when mixing, but usually forget.
    Like Sal, I only heat the water to the minimum specified in the directions.
     
  26. Rudeofus

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    I may not be the most experienced dark room worker here, but I sure haven't seen anyone mixing a developer outside the dark room so far, and we don't even have a respirator. The fact that PeterB takes quite strong and uncommon precautions (mixes chems outside or with a respirator) indicates to me that he may be overly sensitive to some compounds. As has been mentioned already, some few people react strongly to chemicals that are used by many others without any issues.

    So let's assume for a second that PeterB indeed developed a high sensitivity to SO2: in this case he should avoid ALL powdered developers, the all contain Sulfite in large doses. Gas masks won't block SO2, so unless he can mix in some outside area or a proper fume hood, liquid developers it is from today on. If you like the properties of Ascorbate developers but really have to avoid Sulfite, there is PC-TEA and PC-Glycol.