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  1. #1
    Aurum's Avatar
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    What is the safest film developer / fixer combo available

    The youngests (he's 9) school is starting a photo club, which is going to be run by the head master.
    Now most of the kids will be using digitals, as well, they are kids, and that is what they can lay their hands on, and I'm not going to have a downer on getting kids behind a camera of whatever type.
    However, as we're not exactly digi-orientated in this household, we did ask about encouraging a bit of film development as well (As you do)
    Now to his credit the head liked the idea, and once it was explained that developing film doesn't need a full on darkroom, just a dev tank and a changing bag, he was more convinced, however, in true 'elf and safety tradition, any mention of liquid chemicals has to be checked with the council who also in traditional knee jerk response forbade it "Ooooh Chemicals"
    Now as a chemist this is a red rag to a bull, but being aware of the potential sensitisation issues of stuff like hydroquinone or metol I would like suggestions on what could be considered the most safe developer / fixer combo that anyone can think of. I was thinking along the lines of something like Xtol for a developer but I'm tempered by the reports of it sometimes going off without warning. Caffinol could be another idea I suppose, but for this might be a little hit and miss for this application

    As a compromise I've offered to develop any black and white film they shoot using my kit, then scanning so they can get prints in school (No chemicals in school -yet- remember), and C41 can be done by the friendly photolab up the road, so all is not lost, but any suggestions about uber safe chems would be appreciated. If they can also double up for paper use even better, as I have a pack of Ilford positive paper, a needle, and a biscuit tin that could be used for a bit of a wow factor as well
    "Flatter Me, and I May Not Believe You. Criticize Me, and I May Not like You. Ignore Me, and I May Not Forgive You. Encourage Me, and I Will Not Forget You."

  2. #2

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    hit or miss with caffenol .. works every time for me
    you just have to use the worst instant coffee you can find ...
    if you have a brand called " el gringo" where you are
    it works great ! ( i used it when i processed film in france ) .
    silver magnets, trickle tanks sold
    artwork often times sold for charity
    PM me for details

  3. #3
    tiberiustibz's Avatar
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    Monobath. There's nothing to screw up, besides temperature. Last I saw on New55 was that they found a monobath with off the shelf chemistry, so no more mixing monobath from various fine powders.

    http://new55project.blogspot.com/201...-monobath.html

    EDIT: Sorry I misread the question. 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. If they are afraid of chemicals, you can remind them that 40 years ago kids played with mercury from broken thermometers. If you stick with Sprint chemistry you should have little trouble. If the kids drink the chemicals, it's a problem but I don't think they taste very good which is a natural deterrent. The worst part of the chemistry is used fixer, which contains dissolved silver.
    Last edited by tiberiustibz; 09-22-2010 at 05:57 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    --Nicholas Andre

  4. #4
    IloveTLRs's Avatar
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    Sorry if I read this wrong, but do you mean safest in terms of consistent results or least harmful chemical content?

    If it's the former, I'd vote for Tri-X 400 and D-76. I'm naughty and don't check temps and I still get good results.
    If it's the latter, I'm note sure (I haven't used that many developers.) Perhaps HC-110? I've heard it has less harmful chemicals in it.
    Those who know, shoot film

  5. #5
    michaelbsc's Avatar
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    Use Caffinol with vitamin C as a developer. Use vinegar as a stop bath. Use swimming pool pH control as fixer.

    All of it will be common familiar containers, so no one will care.
    Michael Batchelor
    Industrial Informatics, Inc.
    www.industrialinformatics.com

    The camera catches light. The photographer catches life.

  6. #6
    Aurum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ILoveTLRs
    Sorry if I read this wrong, but do you mean safest in terms of consistent results or least harmful chemical content?

    If it's the former, I'd vote for Tri-X 400 and D-76. I'm naughty and don't check temps and I still get good results.
    If it's the latter, I'm note sure (I haven't used that many developers.) Perhaps HC-110? I've heard it has less harmful chemicals in it.

    To clarify, safe as in least harmful chemical content, or percieved harmful chemical content. (Hence the Xtol suggestion haven't investigated HC-110)
    If I say "Developer" it would be classed as "Lethal chemicals", If I say Vitamin C solution, that would be classed as "Health Drink" even though the actual formulation of both is the same. The joys of dealing with non chemical understanding Jobsworths
    I'd agree D-76 / ID11 is a robust beginners choice that will take all manner of abuse and still give useable results. Myself when I develop films for the school, I would either use Ilfosol 3 or R09, but thats what I have to hand and I work well with it on a 1 shot basis

    Quote Originally Posted by michaelbsc View Post
    Use Caffinol with vitamin C as a developer. Use vinegar as a stop bath. Use swimming pool pH control as fixer.

    All of it will be common familiar containers, so no one will care.
    You'd think so wouldn't you? I work for a cosmetics company. We make skin creams and shampoo. I regularly have to send out health and safety data sheets (Which aren't actually a legal requirement for single packs to old folks homes and the like because some jobsworth wants to tick a box without thinking
    Last edited by Aurum; 09-22-2010 at 06:10 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: Michael nipped in whilst I was putting up my own post !
    "Flatter Me, and I May Not Believe You. Criticize Me, and I May Not like You. Ignore Me, and I May Not Forgive You. Encourage Me, and I Will Not Forget You."

  7. #7

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    Most developers are various combinations of the same stuff, and none of it is stuff you'd want to drink, especially bad coffee But you already know this.

    On this side of the pond Sprint probably is the "safest" line of photo chemistry. For your side of the pond, I'd look at Wolfgang Moerch's products

  8. #8

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    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.

  9. #9
    michaelbsc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aurum View Post
    You'd think so wouldn't you? I work for a cosmetics company. We make skin creams and shampoo. I regularly have to send out health and safety data sheets (Which aren't actually a legal requirement for single packs to old folks homes and the like because some jobsworth wants to tick a box without thinking
    There may be more of a legal requirement than you're suspecting.

    I used to run the MSDS program at one plant, and the insane BS the Health Department can require is mind boggling.

    For example, under current law here, if I buy your shampoo to wash my hair there is no MSDS requirement. If I run an old folks home, and little old Miss Mary buys your shampoo to wash her hair, there is no requirement for an MSDS. But if Miss Mary gets too frail to wash her own hair, and an attendant washes her hair with your shampoo, then I must have an MSDS on file in the improbable event that the attendant demands to know what "harmful chemicals" might be in the shampoo. Common sense never enters into the picture. The attendant has the "right" as an employee to know the health hazards, protective measures, and personal protective equipment required to safely use the shampoo. Any chemical is included in the law, even bottled distilled water if the employee is required to use it and happens to ask for the data sheet.

    Failing to provide the MSDS can result in tens of thousands of dollars of fines, especially if the omission is determined to be willful on the part of the employer.

    It's unintended consequences run amok.

    Michael
    Michael Batchelor
    Industrial Informatics, Inc.
    www.industrialinformatics.com

    The camera catches light. The photographer catches life.

  10. #10
    Aurum's Avatar
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    A thought here is that the MSDS / HSDS that is supplied will probably have Less information about hazards, and the contents than the product label itself!

    We of course do not mention that the ink used for inkjetting digital prints is probably not the sort of thing that you would really want in your morning coffee however bad it tastes
    "Flatter Me, and I May Not Believe You. Criticize Me, and I May Not like You. Ignore Me, and I May Not Forgive You. Encourage Me, and I Will Not Forget You."

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