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  1. #11

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    One problem with MSDSes is that they vary quite a bit in how alarmist they are, depending on who wrote them. Try doing a Web search on "MSDS water." When I did this a couple of years ago, I found some short and reasonable MSDSes, but I also found others that made water sound almost as dangerous as molten plutonium. If you don't already know the dangers of a substance, that variability can make it hard to interpret the true danger level from an MSDS.

  2. #12

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    I agree with Matt. There are few darkroom chemicals which require serious ventilation. When you are spending 2-5 hours if not more in a small space, you're going to want a good comfortable working environment. Ventilation helps _a lot_ in this aspect. OTOH, i've only worked in one darkroom with good ventilation. I've had three darkrooms, one a small bathroom (5x4 feet, I sat on the toilet to print. The trays sat in the tub) was not comfortable.. I printed very little like that.

    The best was without ventilation but spanned two large rooms, had comfort mats on the floor, music, a lot of safelights..

    You can develop a sensitivity to metol (found in dektol) and other chemicals, particularly by dunking your hands in the stuff repeatedly over time.
    My photography teacher who had been teaching darkroom skills for 15+ years had this.. her hands were dry, chapped, red.. to the point that her skin was extremely scaley. She would get headaches and feel tired after a short while of working in there.. I worked with a guy in a lab, he'd get a little bit of the C41 1st developer on his skin and break out in rashes.. This was after years (15+ again) of not even washing his hands after he got the stuff on him.

    I guess what i'm trying to say is that since it's your first darkroom, or first darkroom in a bathroom.. I personally wouldn't worry so much about it..
    Long winded, huh? Jeesh. If you're going to sepia tone, or even selenium tone stuff.. do it outside. Or in a room with better air exchange.
    When you can build a darkroom, or move into one and change things.. ventilation is a nice thing.

  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by nsurit View Post
    Here is a supplier of thinks for a darkroom. Might be worth a look. I'm buying a vent hood from him and have, at his suggestion purchased a vent fan and some light tight ventilation louvers. Bill Barber


    http://www.eepjon.com/
    thank you!
    im empty, good luck

  4. #14

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    Note that in many cases it's possible to choose less toxic chemicals. For instance, if you're not too passionate about particular B&W developers, it's easy to use PC (phenidone/ascorbate) developers rather than MQ (metol/hydroquinone) developers. This will help you avoid sensitization such as what Phillip describes. (Phenidone and sodium ascorbate and their variants are less likely to produce reactions than metol.) This isn't always practical, though. Toners are generally pretty nasty things, and color chemistry is pretty specific; AFAIK, there's little variability in them from one brand to another.

  5. #15

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    I have struggled with this question. At home I have an unvented DR in the laundry room, 5 ft by 11 ft. I found using stop bath and an acid fixer sometimes resulted in upper respiratory irritation. Now I use a water stop bath and TF-4. Suggest you use a phenidone paper developer and tongs. Smaller tray sizes reduce surface area and odors. My DR practice eliminates my symptoms. However, individuals react differently to chemical exposure which is cumlative over a lifetime. Since you have a typical bathroom vent, my opinion is you are safe, especially if using a similar DR practice. Tips: Avoid toning in a restricted area. Cover larger developer trays to minimize fumes. Walk out of the DR every 6 or 7 min.
    Last edited by Richard Jepsen; 08-19-2008 at 11:07 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    RJ

  6. #16

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    Some additional pointers on my and Richard's suggestions to use PC developers: For film, Kodak XTOL is the best-known commercial PC developer. For paper, Agfa (now A&O) Neutol Plus (but not others in the Neutol family) and the Silvergrain Tektol developers are PC products. There are numerous mix-it-yourself PC developers for both film and paper, but for somebody who's just starting out, it'll simplify things to start with commercial products. If you've got the interest, try mix-it-yourself developers later.

    PQ developers are more common than PC developers. They'll help you avoid metol sensitization, but hydroquinone is worse for the environment than ascorbate, so I personally prefer to use PC developers.

  7. #17

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    I might add using a water stop and TF-4 limits exposure to the paper developer. Water stop and TF-4 avoids slight sulphuric acid exposure from used acid fix. I normally print 5x7's minimizing tray surface area reducing the potential for fumes. You can cover the 5x7 tray with a 8x10 tray when developing to further reduced exposure. For additional exposure reductions develop paper in a unicolor drum. My DR practice solved my issues and I am reasonably confident of adequate exposure safety. It helps that I leave the room after each exposure to transport a print to a hold bath outside of the DR. Typical B&W commercial chemicals are similar to household chemicals in toxicity.
    RJ

  8. #18

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    very good topic

    I started develop prints with Ilford paper developer, Kodak max stop and Ilford Fixer. I had headaches from chemicals in bad ventiliated room. I changed Kodak max stop to odorless Tetenal stop bath (citron acid). It became much better and I'm planing to replace fixer with Tetenal one odourless. It would be interesting to try other and save Ilford fixer for eventual Nova "machine" (bought a lot of Ilford fixer so it'd be pity to waste due odour).

    How about other odorless fixers except Tetenal? I saw other kind in Freestyle and forgot what it calls. It seems that tetenal is only one in Europe as odourless version of fixer?

    So Agfa Neutol plus and Silver are only PC developers?

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