Sounds like you should reconsider your choice of acquaintances!
Originally Posted by DREW WILEY
I do use a digital device in my photographic pursuits when necessary.
When someone rags on me for using film, I use a middle digit, upraised.
.... and mercuric chloride also know as Calomel was taken internally and used as a laxative and disinfectant, as well as in the treatment of syphilis, until the early 20th century.
Originally Posted by Hexavalent
methanol in lens cleaners, wikipedia states that as little as 30ml is lethal, with a median lethal does for adults at 100ml (4fl oz). Potential to go blind as well, which I think is the worst for photographers.
And I believe the presence of mercury was used to track down the camps (via their latrines) of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. It was used in a laxative they carried -- an almost pure meat diet plugged them up a bit.
Originally Posted by Prof_Pixel
At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.
There is still available a compound called "blue onitment" which basically just mercury metal dispersed into a blue-green paste along with petroleum jelly. From what I can tell (the label is in Spanish)it is used for fugal infections on the skin (and possibly other not so innocuous ones elsewhere). Since it is in metallic form the danger is less than if it were a more soluble form. I hope I would never have to use the stuff
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Curiously elemental mercury is less poisonous than its compounds although the vapor is dangerous. The most dangerous compounds are the organomercury compounds such as methyl mercury. It is easily absorbed through the skin and a single drop results in a painful and lingering death.
Originally Posted by R Paul
A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.
~Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Elemental Mercury has a hing vapor pressure and the fumes formed thereby are quite toxic.
Calomel is mercurous chloride, Hg2 Cl2, and is relative benign but eventually harmful if you eat enough of it. Corrosive sublimate, alias mercuric chloride Hg Cl2, is spectacularly poisonous and definitely and quickly lethal in gram quantities. Amazingly both forms did have a long history in external and internal medicine.
Originally Posted by Prof_Pixel
Photography, the word itself, invented and defined by its author Sir John.F.W.Herschel, 14 March 1839 at the Royal Society, Somerset House, London. Quote "...Photography or the application of the Chemical rays of light to the purpose of pictorial representation,..". unquote.
It is wise to treat all chemicals with respect, not only in terms of our own use of them, but also whoever might stumble into a darkroom by accident, or might have to clean up after we are gone. So there are a few habits that one must cultivate if keeping harmful substances in reasonable quantities.
For starters, familiarise yourself with the hazards of each and every chemical you might use. Take no chances, at least not with the health and well-being of others.
Everything must be properly labeled. If one has to repackage something, make sure the label on the new packaging is correct and complete, also in terms of warnings etc.
When using chemicals, making liquid solutions etc, work in a fume cabinet, or outside as an alternative. Again, label all mixes properly, not only in terms of generic names, but also in detail of what they contain.
Apply the principle of ALARA: As Low As Reasonably Achievable. That is, limit your exposure to everything, even when it is fairly innocuous, and most certainly when it is not. In some cases, but not all, a cocktail of chemicals can cause cumulative toxicity that would be much less had one been exposed to only one of them. In addition, some chemicals are co-sensitising and/or additive in their effect. Chemicals that affect liver and/or kidney function will exacerbate the effects of other chemicals, as it will reduce the body's ability to excrete them.
As others have mentioned, certain chemicals have low acute toxicity but severe long term exposure risk. Others are acutely toxic, but if you survive the acute dose, you might be fine. Most chemicals are somewhere in the middle, i.e. they have both acute and long term effects. As I mentioned above, one must be extra careful of combined exposure, especially in the case where an acute toxin is ingested on top of a chronic exposure to something else.
One should always keep incompatible chemicals as far apart as is practical. Strong oxidisers such as permanganate and dichromate should be kept away from acids. Flammable materials should be kept away from everything else. A possible risk is that a fire might release other chemicals, adding a toxicity issue to a fire hazard, and one that persists even after the fire has been put out.
As a chemical engineering in a research environment, I have on occasions come across chemical waste that was poorly labeled with no history or indication as to what it might be. Let me tell you, there is nothing worse than dealing with this. The chemical analyses to characterise such waste are extremely onerous and expensive, not to mention time consuming. In addition, nobody wants to touch such stuff (as well they shouldn't), so it just sits there to everyone's annoyance. Nowadays people just get fired for not following waste regulations, but 30 years ago it was less strict. We should be mindful of our relatives who might have to clean out a darkroom after we expire. If you have the foresight to have a valid and recent will for those things others might want to inherit, then you should also consider what should happen to the stuff you leave behind that no-one would want (except a fellow analogue photographer). So merely relying on own memory of what is where is not good enough. In fact, more helpful even might be to have a list of persons to consult should the unthinkable happen to you.
oxalic acid isn't much fun ... turns yer bonz to jelly
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