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  1. #1
    Harry Lime's Avatar
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    Longterm effects from film cleaning chemicals?

    I am about to embark on making a series of master prints from some of my best negatives (mostly Tri-X). Unfortunately some of these were developed under less than ideal conditions (hotel bathrooms etc) and are marred by dust and water spots, that I have been unable to remove with compressed air or an anti-static brush.

    I have done some research and it appears that PEC-12 and pads are favored by many people. Kodak used to make a cleaner, but it may be discontinued. There is also one made by Edwal.

    Obviously my prime concern is for the health of my negatives and I am curious to hear if there are any negative long term effects from the chemical contained in a cleaner such as PEC-12 etc.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    cliveh's Avatar
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    Rather than imerse them in more chemicals, why not rewash them, dunk in deionised water and dry.

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  3. #3

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    PEC-12 will not remove particles embedded or stuck hard to the emulsions without causing damage. (I tried....)

    What I do is, to soak the film in clean filtered bottled water for an hour or so, GENTLY rub the surface if and only if absolutely necessary, change water few times, and Photoflo. What doesn't come out as a result stays with the film.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  4. #4

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    I never let such stuff touch the skin. Nitrile gloves are always handy. And I don't use enough of it to
    worry about the fume hood; but one is just a few feet away if needed. Old-school film cleaners are another subject. Movie film cleaner was basically just 1:1:1 tricholorethane. It was nontoxic, but was
    heavier than oxygen and was originally developed as an anesthetic. Janitors would use it to mop grime
    and chewing gum off vinyl floors, get woozy, and then die from asphyxiation while they were unconscious lying on the floor. It was added as a non-smog-forming solvent in house stains and painters would get woozy and fall off ladders. It's now totally banned - not for that reason but because actual mfg produced dioxins as a byproduct. Going still futher back, carbon tetrachloride was involved - now known to be pretty nasty. Read the MSDS and use common sense. Better safe than sorry.

  5. #5

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    Sorry, I was replying about your long-term health, not that of the film. But if PEC12 won't do the trick,
    I don't know what will. Resoaking an emulsion just weakens it. The gelatin cross-links over time and
    is partially irreversible.

  6. #6
    cliveh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DREW WILEY View Post
    Sorry, I was replying about your long-term health, not that of the film. But if PEC12 won't do the trick,
    I don't know what will. Resoaking an emulsion just weakens it. The gelatin cross-links over time and
    is partially irreversible.
    In what way does resoaking a film weaken it? Please explain.

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  7. #7
    Harry Lime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DREW WILEY View Post
    Old-school film cleaners are another subject. Movie film cleaner was basically just 1:1:1 tricholorethane.
    I work in the movie business and the horror stories of wet printing and the cleaning machines are the stuff of legend. Pretty nasty stuff.

  8. #8
    Harry Lime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cliveh View Post
    In what way does resoaking a film weaken it? Please explain.
    I would have to guess that it depends on how long you soak it. From what I know you can actually over wash a freshly developed film and begin to dissolve the emulsion.

    I don't believe that a second 10-15 min wash would be too harmful, but I could see an hour being a little excessive... But there are more experience people out there to answer those questions.

  9. #9

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    I have done over an hour water soak for my own film to try to remove a lint that got embedded into the emulsion. Absolutely no problems. It was either Tmax or Tri-x, I don't remember.

    Obviously, less is better if you can get away with it.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  10. #10

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    I've soaked negs overnignt in a Photo-flo solution; no problems. That usually removes all the buggers off the film.

    I'm told that the Edwal film cleaner has some nasty stuff in it and I have a can that's about 13 years old. I only use it on special occasions and with gloves.

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