Oh and I know people allergic to gloves-((
With Pyro I glove, tongs for prints. It is the way I learned and with double weight paper no marks to be found.
No, I mostly use one pair per session - as long as they don't fill up with sweat...
I wipe my hands (with gloves) frequently, wash them occasionally, and generally keep my right hand in the developer, left hand in wash/fix/wash. Any toning is done afterwards, so that's another pair of gloves.
Getting a drop of fixer in the developer isn't the disaster it's made out to be. Unless your fix (or stop) is really horrendously acidic (mine's alkaline) and you use a very dilute unbuffered developer (Pyrocat-HD?), you will not notice any difference before you've put substantial amounts of fixer in the developer.
The first noticable effect of contamination is a drastic increase in grain size, as you get when using monobath processes. The developer will still work until you either have enough fixer in it to actually complete fixing before development gets under way, or the pH has dropped enough for the developer to be inactive.
I'm not encouraging sloppiness, I'm just saying that you don't necessarily have to dump the developer if you think you [i]may[/] have put a hand on tong in it direct from the fixer.
-- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
Currently I use RC paper and as such can get away with tongs. I'm looking to move to FB and start toning and understand that tongs will probably mark the print surface. I'll then have to use gloves.
I have mild contact dermatitis since long before I started in the darkroom. Even washing-up liquid sets my hands off (no gags, please! :-) ). Paddling around in the various chems is definitely not a good idea for me (and, Robert, my hands don't care for gloves much either! Lesser of two evils...).
Aggie, if there's even the slightest chance you may develop dermatitis in the future then I would urge you to try and get used to gloves. It isn't an affliction I'd recommend to a friend!
...A Nobel Peace Prize? I would KILL for one of those!
I never used gloves until I started using Pyro & Amidol. Two gloves for developing film. One glove, on the left hand for developing prints (learned that trick from Michael A. Smith). I try to keep my right hand dry. I use nitrile gloves which are easier to dry than bare hands. I try to handle the negatives and the paper with my right hand. I use tongs to move the prints from the fixer to the holding tray if I am making another exposure. I have small hands and wear a small size nitrile glove which fits very tightly. With these gloves on I am able to load and unload holders if I have to.
The allergic reactions some have experienced may be due to a reaction to metol. Phenidone based developers may solve the problem. Apparently this metol allergy can just show up after many years with no problems.
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I use a glove on the right hand for working with pyro in trays, amidol, or selenium with single weight paper. Otherwise I use tongs or bare hands.
Its good to keep contact with any chemical to a minimum. As a graduate chemical engineer, I have worked with very dangerous materials with proper precautions and have found that some of the cleaners under your sink can be much more hazardous than the usual b&w processing chemicals. Continuous washing helps as does the application of good ol' J*** baby oil, Use this to prevent chapping.
I don't have a "degree in molecular bio chem", but I know that substances like Paraminophenol (Rodinal) or Dichomate (some bleachs) are not only cancerogene, but will also pass a latex glove seamlessly. Not getting in contact at all might be better than erroneously thinking oneself safe with gloves. I prefer roller transport machines for RC and tongs for FB. I use chemistry proof gloves when doing larger FB or mixing solutions.
It's not so much about fouling the chemicals. In the overall scheme of things chemicals are cheap. But it seems the reasoning for avoiding tongs is they damage the print. Wouldn't touching a print with a gloved hand covered in fixer do more damage? I know myself. With tongs I can easily keep the chemicals separte. But if I used gloves like that I know I'd use the wrong hand sooner or later. Likely sooner.
I use the two gloves while developing film (pyro)- one glove for prints (amidol) method, too. And on a similar point, what about wearing a mask?
At about age 30, I developed symptoms of asthma - coughing and wheezing. I had never been diagnosed with any problem other than hay fever before.
At the time the symptoms began, I had been developing film in D-76, paper in Dektol, and fixing with Kodak fixers for about a decade. I had just begun experimenting with Pyro Triethanolamine film developer. With all of those chemicals, I had mixed them without a mask and used them without gloves.
That was years ago - before my photo hiatus. Now that I look back on it, I wonder if the photo chemicals played a hand in my asthma. I have no way to know, but I do know that allergies can develop from prolonged exposure to many things. Allergies do build up over a period.
So now, I use a mask when mixing powdered chemicals, and I mix them outside. I wear gloves while mixing and while using the chemicals. Despite the inconvenience, I think it's probably best to do so. I would use the gloves and mask even if I were using the more common chemicals.