Transporting Photgraphic Chemistry on Public Transportation
I live in New Jersey and would normally drive into NYC to purchase chemicals at BHPhoto rather than paying shipping for heavy liquids. To make these trips worthwhile I would purchase a couple of gallons of whatever I needed. The trip into New York can depending on traffic be a pleasant (???) run or a nightmare. So I got to thinking about taking the train into the city. That caused an alarm to go off in my head and I decided to contact NJ Transit to see if there were any regulations about transporting photographic chemicals on a public train. The last thing I wanted was to show up carrying bags of chemicals and be denied boarding or worst.
I provided a list of the chemicals I would would normally purchase and received the following answer. I could transport a maximum of 2 gallons each of the following: DDX, Silvergrain Clearwash, Hypam Fixer, Harman Toner Selenium. Could not transport Rodinal due to it's hazard level.
Please note these are the chemicals that I use and the approved or disapproved list is probably more extensive. I was interested in those listed. I had to provide the Hazmat Police unit with the MSDA sheets for each of the chemicals. They are concerned with leaks that may develop and what is involved in clean up. Also, potential fumes and skin contact. They thanked me for following "proper protocol in regards to seeking permission for the transportation of photographic chemicals". So there are apparently rules that are not made public unless you ask.
Yeah, I know I could have showed up and got on the train and maybe made it to my stop with no problem. On the other hand I could have ended up as an item on the News at Six program.
You may want to keep my experience in mind if you are using public transportation when you purchase chemicals where ever you live. If they have such regulations in New Jersey, they probably exist where you live.
While the train would be more convenient I will probably drive in and really stock up.
This is a train for god's sake. Who's going to stop you? There's no TSA.
I know you meant well, but I couldn't get the picture out of my mind "Take this train to Cuba- I have Rodinal and I know how to use it"
Here, I'm pretty sure you could take a moose on the train, at least once, anyway. As a matter of fact, hygienically speaking, some of the people on the trains here are far more hazardous than any chemical I might care to lug with me. Just the other day there was a guy who I know was at least flammable, and very likely toxic in proximity.
That's just, like, my opinion, man...
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Maybe they are worried about how long the Rodinal would last if you spilled it.
Is this a case of someone being hornswoggled by the shriekings of the didjiot crowd claiming that traditional chemical photography is evil... ?
I wonder if they'd let me carry a family pack of Drano on the transit system? How about a small bag of charcoal for the barbecue, with a small bottle of starter? Or a gross of wooden matches? These items could easily be picked up on my grocery run.
I do understand your intention and interest (and thanks for your research on the subject). Personally, I don't generally go asking questions like that in case the authorities say "No". They would probably never even think about the issue otherwise. I tend not offer the authorities the chance to be authoritative.
I'd rather not disturb them from their donut break.
Interesting. Let me add that I recently carried a couple of kilogrammes of raw chemicals for D76 through Heathrow Airport (London, UK), and got them on my plane as part of my baggage. I flagged it to the personnel when checking in, and they did not even bother to ask about hazard levels etc.
Even more intriguing, as I moved the chemical plastic bottles from their cardboard box to my bag, i was left with an empty cardboard box and nowhere to bin it. Again, I asked airport personnel what to do with the box, and they told me to put it on the floor, as it would picked up by the cleaners. So: Raw chemicals admitted onto a plane, an empty (but you could not really know that, could you?) cardboard box sitting on the departures terminal floor. So much for tight airport security!!
"We are much more likely to act our way into a new way of thinking than think our way into a new way of acting." - R. Pascale
You'd feel right at home around here. And it's an hour and a half trip from my supplier to home to enjoy the enforced company of these folk.
Originally Posted by JBrunner
I regularly carry chemistry on the train, the heaviest being the 5 litre fixer.
The worst mess that I managed to create was the result of dropping a large plastic barrel of Greek olives, which fractured immediately and spilled pickling fluid along the corridor as I exited--I've felt bad about it since, and it's made me extra careful even if the Ilford fixer is pretty shock-proof.
(No, I have no photographic technique employing olives)
Regards - Ross