Back in the 70s I worked with a photographer who had the instruction leaflet for the old E4 process stuck on the darkroom wall with the health warning highlighted and a handwritten notation "If conscious, call an ambulance otherwise an undertaker might be more useful". I seem to recall that there was a particularly nasty ingredient that was used, I think, as a fogging agent in that process. OzJohn
E4 fogging agent? That was tertiary butyl-amine borane (aka TBAB) and ,yes, it was very toxic indeed.
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.
I see quite a lot of bad talk about Selenium from various places, but no one here is making their own Selenium toners out of Se powder, so I'd say it's fairly hyped in the grand scheme of things.
Check out the KRST MSDS lately?
Weight % Components - (CAS-No.)
55-60 Water (7732-18-5)
25-30 Ammonium thiosulphate (7783-18-8)
10-15 Sodium sulphite (7757-83-7)
1-5 Selenious acid, disodium salt (10102-18-8)
1-5% sodium selenite, that one dilutes a further 10-20 times (working solution) down to .05-.25% total Na2O3Se per volume of toner used. Let's just say that's 2.5-5.0g per 1000ml of water (I know, it's not exact) and one has their hands in it. Does one really believe they're magically absorbing all of this selenium into the body without a: the toner becoming useless, b: noticing quite quickly with common symptoms of selenium overdose? My only hand contact with working solution KRST is when I pull the print out of the toner - the rest of the time I'm just doing tray rocking. It's not exactly on the list of substances where cumulative exposure is a risk either - seeing as it's a natural mineral we all ingest. Granted, garlic, a natural selenium source, contains probably a 1,000,000 times less Se than 2.5g of Se, but I'm not *eating* my selenium toner.
Developer I use tongs just to avoid the potential for metol sensitization - but switch to fingers if print size is large.
Want a good time? Just mix some potassium ferricyanide bleach with an extremely strong acid (maybe glacial acetic acid concentrate will fit the bill). Liberation from the Fe should bring a nice almond scent to the darkroom and accompanying funeral. Also want a good time? Pour gasoline onto the darkroom floor and smoke a pack of Marlboros while waiting for the eventual ignition.
These two examples are thrown out there because they're both stupid careless acts that would take *effort* to achieve a bad outcome in. Just because something has the *potential* of being dangerous if misused - doesn't mean it's inherently dangerous when used appropriately.
Last edited by clayne; 08-09-2013 at 04:27 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Stop worrying about grain, resolution, sharpness, and everything else that doesn't have a damn thing to do with substance.
Which shows the effectiveness of adhering to proper practices, and how a person who does so can work safely for decades. I told people who asked if I was worried about harm from the chemicals I handled, "No, but I'm always aware of the potential. I don't cut corners, and I don't take chances. To work safely, safety must be routine."
Originally Posted by Photo Engineer
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.
So as long as I don't pour Fixer on my breakfast cereal every morning, I'm ok?
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Don't get me going on malathion and parathion. A close friend of mine was in charge of the EPA pesticide monitoring for the San Joaquin Valley.
They'd find flaggers dead in the fields, drippy barrels of bootleg illegal parathion - the concentrate would kill you within twenty minutes if you
touched it. It was a lot like drug enforcement. .. a big bucks illegal trade coming from Mexico until they finally got the plants shut down there. My friend almost exploded with all kinds of strange cancer and died in his early 50's, just like the cropdusters themselves. Makes me very glad I never went to work for the EPA myself. ... But next door to my office there are a lot of cabinet shops. A well seasoned veteran of the business sometimes tries to hire help, and the first thing he asks a potential young employee is, Are you afraid of that table saw over there? If he replies No, he is instantly rejected. Some things you should be afraid of if you're going to safely handle them day after day.
I understand what they are getting at, but this seems like a poorly structured "test" question. Too much second guessing on the part of the job applicant.
Originally Posted by DREW WILEY
But you get the point... Just because a particular form of fabrication is routine doesn't make it safe. I happen to sell a lot of woodworking machinery and do care enough to ask basic questions first. ... and every once in awhile I will simply refuse to sell a particular machine to a
potential customer who seems to be an idiot. People can get seriously hurt. Granted, this entire thread is under the black and white heading, which in the ordinary sense of silver gelatin supplies is fairly innocuous compared to darkroom color printing or certain alt procedures. But even under the classification of silver development, I routinely work with nasty stuff like pyro and glacial acetic acid. But the rubber gloves and fume hood etc are always in use too. No difference working in a kitchen. One learns there are just certain things you do need to be afraid of - like putting your hand on a hot burner! But in that case the nature of mistake is immediately apparent. With things like lead, mercury, cadmium, and chromium salts, the horrible nature of carelessness might appear much too late to remedy it.
Potassium Cyanide for wet plate is pretty serious stuff. Too much DiHydrogen Monoxide kills many every year - probably more in one year than all the photo chemistry combined for the past 100 years.
On a more serious note... and since someone else brought up pesticides. Zyclon B, used by the Germans in WWII in the extermination camps, was a pesticide.
Leaving the darkroom per se.... a lot of people died working with aerosol adhesives which contained chlorinated propellants. They had such a
bad reputation among the picture framing industry that using them was commonly referred to as suicide. The spray contact cements of today
might not be quite as lethal, but will certainly rot your brain cells out fast enough - unless the people that use these are just so stupid to begin
with that nobody can tell the difference! - same goes for "street artists" who inhale spray paint fumes all day - but their work generally looks
brainless anyway, so it fits.