Reaction to any chemical runs from zero to severe. The point at which one can notice a reaction is the point at which one can say they have an allergy! In my experience, using photographic chemicals daily for over 30 years, and working with thousands of people who did the same, we saw a very very tiny fraction of people who had any noticeable reaction at all. Very tiny.
In fact, most allergies that we heard of came from the home. Hair dyes were at the top IIRC, and Formalin next from new shirts and furniture. A person would be fine at work with formalin stabilizer but would become sensitized after contact with a new shirt, or after sleeping in a new bed. The formalin there did the trick after years of contact with the same chemical at work. But again, I stress that this was a very tiny minority.
As someone respected for your knowledge, Ron, I think you're response to very well documented
hazards is a bit reckless. Just because you got away with it doesn't mean you will continue to do so,
or that someone else will have the same luck. The fact that all sorts of household things have pretty
bad things outgassing from them doesn't exempt the darkroom from common safety concerns. Entire
cities around here are beginning to ban plywood containing formaldehyde. Plasticizers are everywhere, but are esp noxious in some Chinese imports. But your argument would seem to be,
since the child is going to be poisoned chewing on the lead paint on the Chinese toy, why worry about blasting ant spray around the house. I've knows WAY more than my fair share of people,
including a lot of wannabee artistes, who got careless and are now either terribly sick or are simply
no more. I know of entire factories I complained to about certain chemical abuses a couple decades
ago where every single employee is now dead, prematurely from cancer. None of this is going to
scare me from color printing, much less black and white, but it does justify routine common sense
procedure to protect my skin, eyes, and lungs.
Is my home color killing me? lol
Can't we all agree its safer to wear expensive chemical eliminating breather masks and chemical resistant gloves than not, but that its not always realistic and that we take our chances knowing its so?
Stop arguing about it, if you want to be safe don't dip your hands in chemicals... If you want to take the risk, that's not my fault.
The Noteworthy Ones - Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1 / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic
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Drew, I never said anything near what you are suggesting. I did say that allergic reactions to common (and darkroom) irritants are in the minority among the people that I know. The majority are not having allergic reactions to anything. AAMOF, I am somewhat allergic to pollen in the spring, but not to photographic chemistry of any sort. So, I said that reactions vary.
I myself wear rubber gloves, safety glasses and a lab coat when in the darkroom. I've said that before and I'll say it again. That's because you probably missed the fact that I have said - "WHY TAKE CHANCES". After all, I wear a set belt in my car too!
You don't want to know.
I worked in several photofinishing lab in the '70s and '80s, and spent 25 years in a motion picture laboratory. I witnessed a large difference in sensitivity
to photo chemicals. One senior processing operator would think nothing of putting his hands in developers without protection. He did this for over 30 yers without any problems. Another processor had to be moved to another department when he could no longer enter the dark end of the ECP processor without breaking into a rash. We had a chemical mixer who refused to wear gloves and respirator, who didn't last one year before getting dermatitis.
People do have wery different sensitivities to these chemicals, but my point is that you do not want to discover if you are one of those with high sensitivity. It is better to take precautions from the very beginning and never find out.
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