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  1. #11

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    I think the main problem is in print developing rather than processing film (where the chemicals are not "open" except when transferring from tank to bottle, etc.) Remember that the presence of "fumes" in your work area depends on the exposed surface area of the liquid in the tray. For this reason you may want to look at getting a slot processor (there is a company called Nova that makes them) to minimize the exposed surface area of the solutions.

    There is a book that addresses issues of health and toxicology in the darkroom -- I believe it's called "Post Exposure" or something like that. I can't remember the authors' names.

  2. #12

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    Oct 2003
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    I have an increased sensitivity to chemical fumes in the darkroom. It seems that it is a cumulative condition and gets worse over time. What I do, in addition to ventilation, is to use masonite lids to cover my chemicals until I am ready to use them, and then cover them back up as I move the print to the wash. I also use a 3M mask designed to filter organic fumes. The combination of these works just fine and I no longer have any issues with my lungs. This may seem a bit extreme, but I am absolutely dedicated to wet darkroom work and refuse to relegate this to anyone else.

  3. #13
    Donald Qualls's Avatar
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    Jan 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by juan
    For fixer, I've been using TF-2, which is an alkaline fixer containing only sodium thiosulfate, sodium sulfite and sodium metaborate. It doesn't seem to have any fumes, but I'm no chemist. Donald, do you have any thoughts?
    With no ammonium ion present, TF-2 can't produce ammonia due to alkalinity, but it is also slower and subject to the caveats about sodium thiosulfate fixers potentially having limited capacity, or even being unable to completely fix t-grain and delta grain films due to their high iodide content. If used in a two-stage fixing process, it's likely fine; otherwise, if used with "designer grain" films it would be advisable to test for residual halide to ensure your film is fully fixed.

    And that's certainly another option -- an alkaline, ammonia free fixer used in a two-bath fix regimen. Two-bath gives both better fixing and better fixer life than a single fix, but it's an extra bottle (unless also used one-shot), an extra tray or graduate, and an extra step; many workers don't consider it worth the extra trouble.
    Photography has always fascinated me -- as a child, simply for the magic of capturing an image onto glossy paper with a little box, but as an adult because of the unique juxtaposition of science and art -- the physics of optics, the mechanics of the camera, the chemistry of film and developer, alongside the art in seeing, composing, exposing, processing and printing.

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