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  1. #11
    RobertP's Avatar
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    Why not use both good ventilation and a respirator. I have exhaust fans in my darkroom. But at times, depending on the chemicals, I'll still use a respirator. I always order extra cartridges and keep them on hand and write the date on the ones when you install them. This will give you a good idea of when they are near expiration. I'm working with chemicals like ether, pyro, formaldehyde and potassium cyanide and have never had any problems. (knock on wood). Any chemical can be worked with safely if proper care is taken such as good ventilation, skin protection, eye protection and the use of a respirator. The proper size and fit can be obtained when ordering by looking at the sizing chart. After you have the respirator on just cover the cartridges with both hands and inhale, you'll know if it is fitting properly. Just no facial hair along the edge that seals around the face. When we were doing retro-fits on some of the old bridges I had guys that I had to let go because they refused to cut their beards. There is a lot of lead paint on those old bridges. So these guys were quiting 40 dollar an hour jobs.

  2. #12
    Bandicoot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheFlyingCamera View Post
    You should keep absolutely cleanshaven when using one, or your stubble will break the seal.
    The only option if you have a beard is a powered respirator, which is what I have (the IAEA, amongst others, use one identical to mine.) This has a belt mounted fan unit that pulls air through a set of filters and then blows it down over your face inside a mask. This produces positive pressure inside the mask, so the seal against the face is no longer the key factor. You can get different types of cartridges for them, including ones for organics, though I'm not certain whether that includes formaldehyde.

    The other advantages of these are that the constant air stream means the visor doesn't mist up, your face is kept cool, and you have none of the extra strain on your lungs that pulling air in through a conventional mask requires. The downsides are the initial cost and the need to keep the batteries charged.

    I once opened the door to someone while wearing one of these, thinking it was a colleague who I was expecting but it wasn't. The door to door salesman left in a hurry, looking over his shoulder wondering where the black helicopters were...


    Peter

  3. #13
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    A poorly fitted respirator is more dangerous than none at all. One tends to put one's face where it should not be when one thinks that it is safe to do so.

    I construct a small fume hood when I sensitize my carbon tissue (using acetone as the carrier for the dichromate).

    I also stopped using a hair drier for drying freshly coated platinum/paladium paper -- as it was spreading platinum and palladium dust all around and I developed very bad asthma symptoms from it (but it took 5 years of contact)...I just air dry now, and I think I even have better prints because of it (at least I breath easier!)

    Vaughn

  4. #14

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    There are a couple of fit tests to perform to see if the respirator fits. First is to put on the respirator and adjust the straps. You then put your palms over the front of the cartridges and inhale slightly. You should feel the respirator stick to the face. If you feel air coming in, readjust the straps and try again. You then put your palm on the exhalation valve and blow. The respirator should gently lift off the face. If you feel air escaping from where it shouldn't be, readjust the straps. After our fit tests, we used to go into an enclosure filled with banana oil vapor wearing the respirator with vapor cartridges to check if we could smell it.

  5. #15

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    if you get a respirator, make sure you find out if
    you have to remove the cartridges
    and put them in a sealed bag between uses.
    sometimes they lose their vitality if left out "to breath on their own" ...
    or so i have been told ....
    silver magnets, trickle tanks sold
    artwork often times sold for charity
    PM me for details

  6. #16
    Jeremy's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the help! I'm currently planning on doing the chemical mixing in the garage wearing the respirator and the doors cracked (empty garage, nothing stored except boxes from our recent move). I'll look into making a fume/vent hood that can pipe out fumes from my tray line in the studio out the window. Finally, I'll head over to Lowe's and try on the 3M 6000 line of masks because I can buy the formaldehyde/organic vapors filters for those.
    Let's see what I've got in the magic trash can for Mateo!

    blog
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  7. #17
    RobertP's Avatar
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    John, Yes you are right about leaving them out. We have one of those vacuum sealers and I just vacuum seal them in a bag until I need them again.

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