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  1. #1

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    Least toxic film devs for tray use?

    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. #2
    noseoil's Avatar
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    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. #3

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    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. #4
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    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.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
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  5. #5
    RAP
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    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.
    Time & tides wait for no one, especially photographers.

  6. #6

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    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. #7

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    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. #8

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    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.
    "Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
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  9. #9
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    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.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
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  10. #10

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    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.

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