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  1. #11
    rbarker's Avatar
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    With the setup you describe, Macy, the only issue is really the fixer (acid stop bath is far more acrid). If you plan to do one print at a time, leaving the door open between prints, I doubt that you'd notice much build-up of fixer fumes. Dispersing that into the larger space of the basement, and getting fresh air by opening the basement windows, is certainly an option, but perhaps a cold one. I think I'd try it as-is first, and see what you experience.

    Please note, however, that I'm not a doctor or a public health official, nor do I play either on TV or the Internet. Nothing contained in any of my comments should be construed as giving medical or public health advice.
    [COLOR=SlateGray]"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus." -Mark Twain[/COLOR]

    Ralph Barker
    Rio Rancho, NM

  2. #12

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    Good Evening, Macy,

    Methinks you worry too much. Common chemicals for B & W printing aren't really that smelly, although the acetic acid in most stop baths is easily detectable. Venting to the general basement area will probably be more than sufficient although it shouldn't be much work to run a flexible vent pipe to a basement window. It probably wouldn't be very hard to rig it so that you could feed it through the window when necessary and then remove it and close the window at other times.

    Floating some plastic sheeting (the stuff from the dry cleaner's) on the liquids in your trays also cuts down on odors and prolongs the life of the chemicals.

    The above assumes that your darkroom use is occasional and not for extended periods of time. If you're there all day, you'll probably want to get more serious about ventilation.

    Konical

  3. #13

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    If you vent to the basement you might want to put some fans in or near the open windows to help the air flow. Just your normal house fans.

  4. #14
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    Monophoto: Let me add Parkinsonís disease to cancer. I suggest reading ďPortrait of MyselfĒ by Margaret Bourke White. In chapter 30 she goes through the agonies of Parkinsonís disease and alludes to others in her field with that and/or cancer. I believe Edward Westonís death was attributed to breathing the chemicals as well as putting his hands in them. I think a little worry at this time might avoid a lot of pain later.

    Macy: When air is pulled out of a box by a fan, new air has to come it to take itís place. Ask where this air will come from? You donít want the source to be close to where the exhaust is. Re-circulating the same air doesnít solve the problem. You do want to filter dust and dog hair out of the incoming air or your negatives will.

    I believe Ilford & Kodak suggest replacing the air in your darkroom at least six times a minute. Kodak offers a small paperback book on building a darkroom. My copy is on loan now so I canít give you a page reference. The book is often available on eBay.

    It was 5 degrees above zero F in Cleveland this AM. I am guessing Toronto was cooler. Are you only going to use the darkroom in the summer? Are you sure you want all that cold air in the basement when you are trying to heat the house?

    Unless your room is the size of a computer, a computer fan may not be powerful enough to cycle the air six times a minute. The Panasonic fans I referenced earlier are so quiet you only hear air moving in the ducts. Compare that to any bathroom fan. I use two 120 cfm exhaust fans and a 70 cfm through a large filtered hole for input. I agree with the pressurized statement, but was not able to achieve that in the room I had. Since I could not pressurize I settled for air movement.

    Safe breathing,

    John Powers

  5. #15
    Dave Miller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jp80874

    I believe Ilford & Kodak suggest replacing the air in your darkroom at least six times a minute. Kodak offers a small paperback book on building a darkroom. My copy is on loan now so I canít give you a page reference. The book is often available on eBay.


    John Powers
    I think that should read six times an hour.
    Regards Dave.

    An English Eye


  6. #16
    jp80874's Avatar
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    Thanks Dave.
    The correction is accurate.

    John Powers

  7. #17

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    Boy, there seems to be two distinct camps here: the "don't worry too much and leave as is" for my purposes camp and the "if you don't ventilate you could get cancer" camp. I will admit that I tend to be a bit of a worry-wart, especially because I have a 3-month old in the house too.

    For my first print, I think I'm just going to leave things as is only because I am dying to get into that darkroom. But for the longer term, I guess I'll have to look into a better venting system.

    John, I checked into the Panasonic fans; I think my husband and I will have to do a little research into the structure of that room to see if that can be implemented. The only way that air flow can be vented outside is through the ceiling (which would apparently be a ton of work); that room is surrounded by four walls that take us out to the basement.

    Anyway, I wish to thank everyone for their help!
    Macy
    Just trying to be the person my dogs think I am.

    website: gallery

  8. #18
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    So, someone suggests that some other unnamed people may have possibly been made ill in some undspecified way by some unquantified exposure to assorted unrecorded chemicals. Well, that convinces me...

    Weston died aged 72 after developing Parkinson's in his early 60's - this is not exactly the most uncommon way to go - nor is cancer. As for others, Adams: aged 86, Brandt: aged 79, Atget: 70, Evans: 72, Lange: 70, Steiglitz: 81, Cunningham: 93(!)... the list goes on - such a shame all these people died so young... If someone dies of cancer aged 75 you can hardly say "Aha! I told you those chemicals were going to kill you one day". Seems that the statistics suggest taking up photography as a career is a great life extender (unless your name is Robert Capa of course, in which case, look where you step)...

    However, it is obviously true that you need to reduce your exposure, especially skin contact with liquids and inhalation of fine powders in the air to as low as practical. Many poisons are cumulative. These dangers were not always understood in the past and the chemicals they used to mix up by hand from powders (mercury based intensifiers, selenium toners etc) are either not available today or are bought ready mixed or at the very least, the dangers are understood. Don't obsess on it: don't treat Pyro like sherbet and don't drink the KRST if you get thirsty - in fact, use gloves whenever your hands need to contact chemicals (no, not wool...) and a suitable mask if mixing powders. Worrying about your health causes stress, and stress kills...

    Cheers, Bob.

  9. #19
    Dave Miller's Avatar
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    A sensible summary Bob, brings the topic nicely into perspective.
    Regards Dave.

    An English Eye


  10. #20
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    Thank you Bob. Thought I mentioned Margaret Bourke White and Edward Weston. Thought I mentioned that Margaret made those statements about others while she was suffering Parkinsonís. I didnít believe that we had room or that it was necessary to give further details, simply important to be sure Macy was aware of the potential hazards you further defined.

    As to stress, nice of you to express concern. My age is not much younger than the men you mention. Iíve been retired now a couple of years. The last 20 years were in the commission software business. Compared to that this is not stress for me, besides I have the fans.

    John

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