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  1. #1
    Leon's Avatar
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    Unhealthy Reaction to Darkoom Chemicals???

    I think I may have developed a reaction to the chemicals i'm using in the darkroom.

    I have been using Neutol WA, and TF-4 and then another similar ammonia smelling alkalii fix (plain water stop). Over the past two weeks, I have an increasingly sore throat and what feels like tonsilitis ... lumpy, painful & swollen inside. My darkroom is quite small and I havent yet got round to installing an extractor fan (it is planned but I have to wait for the new windows to be fitted which will have a hole cut into them for this).

    My fiancee thinks I'm being my normal hypochondriacal-self and puts it down to a cold developing, but i am not convinced.

    Until now, I hadnt done any darkroom work since two years ago, and that one was a bit bigger and had no ventilation, but i did notice a similar effect albeit much milder and I wasn't using the ammonia smelly fixers then (but was using neutol).

    My questions are:-
    1) has anyone else heard of or experienced similar reactions to darkroom chemical fumes. If so, could it be something in the Neutol ...?
    2) would a heavy duty respirator be of any use before I get the extractor fitted?

    these are quite "big" questions, I know, but if anyone has had similar experiences, please let me know - I am panicking that I am going to have to stop using my newly built darkroom and that could only have one eventuallity - bow down before the inkjet god - not something I really want to consider!

    TIA

  2. #2

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    my darkroom is quite small and no ventilation either. I haven't noticed any physical problems yet even though i have my fingers in rodinal and ilford rapid fix.. but i did notice that the smell changes my mood alot.. I do notice some mild depression after developing film..

    hey you never know, it may just be because of the horrible pictures i take..

    cheers

  3. #3
    Fintan's Avatar
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    I would suggest you're reacting to something. Unfortunatly I'm not in a position to advise you properly. I have seen these air purifiers that are easily installed, however I'm not certain how effective they are.

    http://www.novadarkroom.com/acatalog...ntilation.html

  4. #4
    Dave Miller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leon
    I think I may have developed a reaction to the chemicals i'm using in the darkroom.

    I have been using Neutol WA, and TF-4 and then another similar ammonia smelling alkalii fix (plain water stop). Over the past two weeks, I have an increasingly sore throat and what feels like tonsilitis ... lumpy, painful & swollen inside. My darkroom is quite small and I havent yet got round to installing an extractor fan (it is planned but I have to wait for the new windows to be fitted which will have a hole cut into them for this).

    My fiancee thinks I'm being my normal hypochondriacal-self and puts it down to a cold developing, but i am not convinced.

    Until now, I hadnt done any darkroom work since two years ago, and that one was a bit bigger and had no ventilation, but i did notice a similar effect albeit much milder and I wasn't using the ammonia smelly fixers then (but was using neutol).

    My questions are:-
    1) has anyone else heard of or experienced similar reactions to darkroom chemical fumes. If so, could it be something in the Neutol ...?
    2) would a heavy duty respirator be of any use before I get the extractor fitted?

    these are quite "big" questions, I know, but if anyone has had similar experiences, please let me know - I am panicking that I am going to have to stop using my newly built darkroom and that could only have one eventuallity - bow down before the inkjet god - not something I really want to consider!

    TIA
    I suffer an allergic reaction to chemical, Metol being the main culprit, and for that reason have to do all my developing - both film and paper - in drums to minimise exposure. I doubt that a respirator will help unless it's the forced air type that paint sprayers use. In your case it seems probable that adequate ventilation will effect a cure. The inkjet route is the one I'm trying to back out of, so don't go there!
    Regards Dave.

    An English Eye


  5. #5
    Leon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Miller
    The inkjet route is the one I'm trying to back out of, so don't go there!

    I've been there Dave ... and I feel the same!

  6. #6
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    A properly fitted resperator with correct filters should eliminate any chemical vapours. when the resp is not in use, remove the filters and store them in a seperate sealed bag. This is very important! Storing the filters with the mask (over time) will contaminate the mask with what ever you are filtering out. If you can still smell the chems, you have {a} the wrong filter or {b} old used up filters and should be changed. You shouldn't require a forced air resp. If your spraying the prints with the dev and fix, well yes then you will. If your just doing the tray style, it would be overkill (and pricey).
    I STRONGLY recommend you get your ventilation system up and running. Chemicals have a nasty smell as well as not good you.
    Cease all darkroom activity for a few days and see if the symptomes go away.
    Last edited by rogueish; 09-13-2004 at 06:19 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: spelling as usual...

  7. #7
    skahde's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Miller
    I suffer an allergic reaction to chemical, Metol being the main culprit
    Metol is certainly under suspect here. OTOH as early as 1939 Agfa wrote in their lab-manual ("Das gro▀e Agfa Laborhandbuch") that dermatitis caused by Metol was due to a byproduct of the process. That process had been changed around that time and they claimed that recent (in 1939) Agfa-Metol should be completely safe.
    As all Agfa processes had been disclosed in 1945 there is no reason besides economics why a supplier should not apply the improved, "clean" process. Maybe we are following old but outdated knowledge (metol = dermatitis) here or there is still a smaller effect that wasn't known and the problem in fact was reduced but not eliminated.

    Stefan

  8. #8
    Leon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skahde
    Metol is certainly under suspect here.
    but I'm not having skin rashes or irritation, I've got a swollen and sore throat presumably form breathing fumes. Could the Metol still do this? I never have problems with skin contact although I do avoid it as much as possible.

  9. #9

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    just a little silly suggestion

    go to the doctor. I wouldn't go to a doctro to get advice on developing times or film choice. I also would not go to a bunch of photographers for medical advice.
    Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI

    So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004

  10. #10
    rogueish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mark
    just a little silly suggestion

    go to the doctor. I wouldn't go to a doctro to get advice on developing times or film choice. I also would not go to a bunch of photographers for medical advice.
    HEY!
    I resemble that remark!

    A good suggestion that I figured was too obvious...

    Actually my dentist has given me advice on photography

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