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  1. #11

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    I don't think any amount of information would convince people who has already made their mind up. This world is full of people afraid of electromagnetic waves and radiations and speak loudly against them but have no understanding of what they are. Those people aren't interested in knowing the danger because they already know! First sign of any reaction, induced by reaction to the substance or otherwise, "those dangerous stuff" will be blamed and the school will be put on potentially lengthy and expensive defensive.

    I personally think, kids need to be taught how to handle potentially dangerous (but they aren't) stuff safely and correctly, but that's not how world turns these days. I am not sure if 9 years old is old enough for something like this, but you'll be a better judge of that than I.

    When I was showing one of my friends how darkroom stuff works, one of the question he had was, "are these chemicals dangerous?" To that, I immediately stuck my finger in it and held it up for him to see as an answer. He was fully convinced. Maybe you can do a demonstration?

    You may also find other schools that already have such a program as an example and reference for how safely these process can be handled.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  2. #12

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    That reminds me of an annoying lab partner I had whilst at school. He was a pain in the backside and refused to go anywhere near the hydrogen peroxide that we were supposed to be using and winced as if I was juggling with HF every time I moved the bottle. As such he was being somewhat of a hinderance. In frustration with him, I told him to stop being such a pain in the arse, and stuck my thumb into the liquid to show how harmless it was. Admittedly, some skin on my thumb did go a bit white for a couple of days, but that was worth it to just shut him up!

  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by mattmoy_2000 View Post
    PaRodinal, might be one to try- after all, it contains paracetamol as its active ingredient (or "acetaminophen", if you're American). Fixer is pretty much just the same chemical in different packages, so perhaps showing them the HSDS or whatever might be the way forwards.
    Not really. Parodinal uses paracetamol and a hydroxide to produce p-aminophenol. p-aminophenol isn't the most benign of developing agents, quite the opposite actually. It's EU classification is carcinogen - mutagen cat 2. Besides, it should contain extra hydroxide, which would make it quite caustic.

  4. #14

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    Getting back to your initial question. Yes, XTOL is supposed to be more environmentally friendly than most of the other commercially available developers out there, and it is a VERY good developer. There is no problem with XTOL's shelf life either. It's probably your best bet for a safe, reliable, and high quality developer. If you store it as recommended, it will last at least as long as the manufacturer recommends. Stop bath, once diluted, is safe and is even less acidic than vinegar. A very mild, but effective stop bath can be made of citric acid, something you can find in just about any supermarket. Fixer is not really a problem, but some types can smell - mostly of the acetic acid.


    Home made coffee based developer? Well, aside from the fact that it really smells bad, it's not so dependable and takes forever to work. I don't think that's a good idea.


    And when you get down to it, what good is teaching the kids how to develop film without the ability to make prints? Without a full on darkroom, all they'll see are negatives, and that's not going to capture the typical kid's imagination. I even have reservations about them being even moderately enthused about monochrome images. Of course if you have access to a film scanner, you can do something with film that might interest the kids.
    Frank Schifano

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anon Ymous View Post
    Parodinal uses paracetamol and a hydroxide
    Paracetamol ... now there's something to avoid http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paracetamol_toxicity

    Better stick to hydroquinone
    DARKROOM AUTOMATION
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  6. #16
    lns
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    I personally chose X-Tol and HC-110 after researching this issue, because I have three kids at home. The Film Developing Cookbook and the Darkroom Cookbook have good information about ingredients and safety.

    X-Tol lasts for me at least 6 months in full glass bottles, so I wouldn't worry about that.

    Now that my kids have progressed to taking darkroom classes themselves, I'd say that the most important thing is teaching them to be careful about putting their hands in the chemicals too much, and to wash up well afterwards.

    -Laura

  7. #17
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    I'd use HC-110. It is versatile, cheap, easy to use, requires no mixing of powders, and does not have metol in it. You can use a water rinse in place of a stop bath. As for fixer, I don't know. Perhaps Photographer's Formulary TF-5 alkaline fixer would be safer than a rapid fixer, though I do not know.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

    - Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)

  8. #18
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    The smell of caffenol-C disgusts kids. While it might be safe, the smell will deter them. My particular mixture only takes 12 minutes to develop a roll of film.

    One cool thing kids like is prewash. Clean water in; a minute or two later, green or blue or rich purple water out, depending on the film. I pour it into a tray so my 5yo can play with it while I go on to the developing.

    Another thing kids like is making photograms under the enlarger i.e. making contact print shapes of things they already have and appreciate. I did this in school in 7th grade. My 5yo daughter contact printed some lego people, keys, and other small toys, let me run it through the chemicals, then I let her manage the wash. When it was dry, she had some cool shapes which she neatly colored the way they should be with magic markers. She also gets otherwise discarded test prints to hand color with markers. Magic marker slowly dries on RC paper, so it gives quite an opportunity to get creative with it.



    With no burners I'd suggest it's safer than cooking. They might like doing pinhole projects as well onto paper. Those could then be scanned if they wanted them inverted/flipped, but I think they'd probably cool in their own right just as they come out of the processing.

  9. #19

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    Because of the strong alkalies used in the two suggested honebrew developers you should avoid them. In fact, you should avoid any homebrew developers at this point of the students education. I taught chemistry for some years and you would be amazed at the accidents that can happen.

    I would suggest Tri-X and Xtol as the safest and most dependable combination for students.
    Last edited by Gerald C Koch; 09-23-2010 at 08:36 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

    ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

  10. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by tiberiustibz View Post
    If you're looking for safe chemicals, the color film chemistry is more safe due to the lack of Metol in the developer, which is an allergen.
    The supposed allergic reaction to Metol was not caused by the Metol but by an impurity (paraphenylenediamine) introduced by the manufacturing method used many, many years ago. This method is no longer used and Metol no longer causes any problem, HOWEVER, the suggestion that color developing are safer is absolutely false. The color developing agents used can and do cause allergic reactions. In fact many of the color developing agents are relatives of paraphenylenediamine which caused the problem with Metol.
    Last edited by Gerald C Koch; 09-23-2010 at 08:35 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

    ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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