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  1. #11
    Donald Qualls's Avatar
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    Frugal, I'm mildly asthmatic also. I have no problems with a five hour printing session in my completely unventilated bathroom/darkroom, using acid stop bath and acid fixer (the latter of which, in theory, emits sulfur dioxide). The one time (for alt process) that I used an ammonia-alkalized fixer, I had irritation in my nose and throat, but the acetic acid vapors and anything else coming off fixer, Dektol, HC-110, and Parodinal seem to have no significant effect. Even for 4x5 in trays, I can turn on the lights and open the door once the film is in the fixer; it's only printing that requires a prolonged period with the darkroom closed up.

    I find the heat much more bothersome than the fumes -- in the summer, I'm blocking off the air conditioning when I close up the darkroom, and when its 95 degrees outside, with the cold light heater and safelight running continuously (plus my body generating as much heat as a 150 W tungsten bulb), it rapidly gets uncomfortable -- I find myself having to open the door every hour or two to change the air, not for chemical reasons, but just to cool off.

    Oh, and all my chemicals go happily down the drain -- I one-shot my fixer, specifically to avoid high concentration of silver (BTW, the thiosulfate itself is about the same strength as in onion juice -- if you can put onions down a disposer, you can dump fixer, unless the silver is the concern). The only chemical I won't treat that way is my dichromate reversal bleach; that will go to the local haz-waste collection when exhausted.
    Photography has always fascinated me -- as a child, simply for the magic of capturing an image onto glossy paper with a little box, but as an adult because of the unique juxtaposition of science and art -- the physics of optics, the mechanics of the camera, the chemistry of film and developer, alongside the art in seeing, composing, exposing, processing and printing.

  2. #12
    frugal's Avatar
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    Thanks Donald,

    I definitely get nasal and throat irritation from even relatively short developing sessions at the art college using D-76 or XTOL, acid stop bath, and sodium thiosulfite fix. That's in a fairly confined area (smaller than my bathroom) but they have an air vent directly over the sink (at sink height, not head height so that's not the problem) so ventilation should be pretty good and I find it still bothers me. While using a respirator I'm fine. I should have one for mixing chemistry any way (my dev is all powder) so I'll give it a try and see if it irritates me or not.

  3. #13

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    You might also look into alternatives to the chemistry you use. There are plenty of "odorless" stop baths (or you can just use plain water) and fixers on the market. Personally, I've found that some fixers give me a mild sore throat feeling after a long darkroom printing session, but I've not yet used enough, or tested in a systematic enough manner, to know precisely what the cause is. I know that Freestyle's Arista Premium Powdered fixer and the mix-it-yourself TF3 fixer are better in this respect for me, although TF3 has an overwhelming ammonia odor that makes its use in trays unpleasant. This odor is tolerable for use in tanks for developing film, though. These might or might not be good products for you to try; your asthma might make you sensitive to different things than I find irritating.

  4. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by frugal
    Hello,

    I'm starting to think about doing B&W film development in my apartment's bathroom.

    My big concern though is disposing chemistry, I don't want to just pour them down the drain.
    The only time dumping B&W chemicals (excluding silver-laden fix) is even a theoretical problem is on septic systems. I presume your apartment is hooked up to a sewer and that is hooked up to a treatment plant. That is the best possible way to dispose of it, so dump away.

    Wayne

  5. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by frugal
    I definitely get nasal and throat irritation from even
    relatively short developing sessions ... acid stop bath,
    and sodium thiosulfite fix.
    Likely safe to say your fix is an acid fix and that acid
    fix is the main reason for the acid stop. Developer as
    you are probably aware is alkaline.

    I work in a totaly fumeless odorless darkroom. My
    chemistry is neutral to alkaline. Dan

  6. #16
    Donald Qualls's Avatar
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    The most likely source of nose and throat irritation with tradition chemicals (acid stop bath, acid fixer) is sulfur dioxide evolved from the sodium sulfite in the fixer and commercial stop bath. Use citric acid stop bath, mixed fresh for each session, and alkaline fixer (I put 1 tsp of washing soda in a liter of fixer for alkaline fixer, it needs no sulfite, though the same stuff without alkali starts precipitating sulfur after only 2-3 prints if made without sulfite). As a bonus, alkaline fixers will wash out of emulsion more rapidly, though for fiber prints you really do want to use a rapid fixer to allow rapid archival washing (washing the paper takes the same time regardless of pH, so the less it picks up, the better). Neutral fixer (like C-41 fixer) is the key here -- no sulfur dioxide, no ammonia odor.
    Photography has always fascinated me -- as a child, simply for the magic of capturing an image onto glossy paper with a little box, but as an adult because of the unique juxtaposition of science and art -- the physics of optics, the mechanics of the camera, the chemistry of film and developer, alongside the art in seeing, composing, exposing, processing and printing.

  7. #17
    frugal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne
    The only time dumping B&W chemicals (excluding silver-laden fix) is even a theoretical problem is on septic systems. I presume your apartment is hooked up to a sewer and that is hooked up to a treatment plant. That is the best possible way to dispose of it, so dump away.
    Um, you're right about being hooked up to sewer but the condition of the harbour would indicate you're making a bit of an assumption about treatment. Treatment is getting better but I wouldn't want to go swimming in the harbour anytime soon. Heard a story about someone at the art college (which is a few blocks from the waterfront) pouring food colouring down the toilet and timing how long it took to show up in the harbour, think it was around 15 mins, could just be an urban legend but there's definitely a whole lot going still going into the harbour that shouldn't be.

  8. #18

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    SNIP

    Quote Originally Posted by david b

    As for dumping the chemicals, I dump everything but the fix, which I bring to the local university, where the collect and recycle it for free.

    right on david!
    my waste hauler arrives in a week or 2 ---
    30 gallons all to be taken away.
    if my apug gallery looks empty you might check these places

    website
    blog
    sell-site

  9. #19
    Wigwam Jones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gerald Koch
    Acccording to Kodak, in the amounts used by the hobbiest photographer there is no harm caused by the disposal of photographic solutions into a city sewer system or even a home septic system.
    I'm sorry, that's not quite true. While Kodak does say that in general, most of those solutions are 'compatible with' local sewage treatment plants and therefore can be dumped, they do counsel that local laws differ, and they do NOT say you can put the stuff in a septic tank.

    Most photographic processing effluents and wash waters contain chemicals that are biodegradable. They are, therefore, compatible with aerobic (with oxygen) biological treatment systems and are effectively treated when sent to an efficient sewage treatment facility. Permission from the local treatment authority may be needed (a written consent or permit is usually needed and limits what can and can't be discharge). Contact your local authorities to see if you need consent and to determine local discharge limits.
    Kodak strongly recommends that you never pour silver-bearing effluents such as used fixers, bleach-fix or stabilizers down the drain. Rather you should use on-site or off-site silver recovery.
    And:

    Septic System Disposal
    Learn why photographic processing chemicals should not be disposed of to a septic system.
    Both are available here:

    http://www.kodak.com/eknec/PageQueri...q-locale=en_US

    In addition, many US municipalities and water districts have their own laws pertaining to how photographic chemical waste, even in consumer quantities, must be legally disposed of.

    I am not saying that you'll destroy the world if you just dump it all down the drain - it probably is harmless enough in the grand scheme of things. But I am suggesting that Google is your friend; if you Google for terms like "photographic chemicals" and "waste disposal" and your county / state, you may find just what you're looking for. In other cases and in countries other than the US, you may have to call your local government or whomever handles waste disposal in your area and ask them.
    Best,

    Wiggy

    Note to Self: Tse-Tse Fly - No Antidote

  10. #20
    Wigwam Jones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne
    The only time dumping B&W chemicals (excluding silver-laden fix) is even a theoretical problem is on septic systems. I presume your apartment is hooked up to a sewer and that is hooked up to a treatment plant. That is the best possible way to dispose of it, so dump away.

    Wayne
    I think there is a difference between a theoretical chemical problem and a theoretical legal problem. In many (but not all) places it is just not legal to 'dump away'. It may be that no one ever gets caught for so doing, but I'd still not advise someone to just blithely ignore the law.
    Best,

    Wiggy

    Note to Self: Tse-Tse Fly - No Antidote

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