Diabetes and the darkroom
I am attempting to gather data about darkroom workers who have developed diabetes, possibly as a result of exposure to the chemicals commonly used in film and print work. I used to spend 6 - 8 hours per day in an unventilated darkroom without common safety equipment, ie gloves.
While in the US Army, 1968 - 1971 I was the sole darkroom operator and photographer for a battalion and have "souped" so much 4X5 and 35mm film that I could probably have done it in my sleep. Many of the chemicals available were from the Korean War era. I used whatever was available and was replenished when required with updated chemicals.
Please submit any information about health conditions that may have shown up in your own lives or in the lives of others who you may know. Some of the chemicals have similar ingredients to Agent Orange, the defoliant used in Vietnam. Exposure to Agent Orange has been determined to be a cause of diabetes and other health problems.
I am butting heads with the Veterans Administration regarding this matter and am trying to establish a precedence for myself and other darkroom workers. This could affect your future, be careful.
If you served on the Korean DMZ anytime during 1968 and 1969, your diabetes is automatically covered by the VA under the Agent Orange medical provisions. The Korean DMZ was sprayed with Agent Orange in the spring of 1968 and last summer the VA reversed its policy and included all that served, or even visited the DMZ during '68 and '69, in the Agent Orange coverage. That coverage includes diabetes and a number of other common ailments which are also thought to be a natural result of the aging process. The VA has been very proactive in determining coverage. For example they ruled that the members of the USS Pueblo were entitled to coverage because they were repatriated across the DMZ in '68 (or '69 - I forget) and therefore were "on" the DMZ in that period.
Have U read:
"OVEREXPOSURE HEALTH HAZARDS IN PHOTOGRAPHY"
by Susan Shaw
$32.32 Amazon Prime
5 copies listed under used ranging from ~$9 to ~$20 in the 1st 5 listings.
If U can't afford the $9 + ~$3 for shipping, I'll send U mine, even though I don't want to give it up. There are 2 other books there concerning photo safety, U might want to look into.
Cheers, Jay Drew
I don't know about diabetes, but we had some concern several years ago that my darkroom might be exacerbating my wife's symptoms of methemoglobinemia. I think we determined at the time that she would have to actually ingest the chemicals for there to be a noticeable effect on her condition. (well, there'd be a lot more other effects noticed before it would affect her particular condition) Nonetheless, we tried a couple of different arrangements before we dicided on moving my darkroom to an unused cellar... cold in the winter, and over-run by spiders in the summer.
The things we do for love.
I have worked in a professional lab since 1970 full time. About 8 yrs ago became diabetic. Never heard of this connection before.
Well I don't have diabetes but I do have a raving case of COPD -- the lung disease. My docks say it is because I used to smoke but I smoked very little -- cigars and a pipe, no inhaling and no pot. My own sister didn't even know I smoked. But I spent many, many years in darkrooms with all those nasty chemicals they allowed us to use in the 1950 and 1960s and so on.
You said you could probably souped film in your sleep. I actually did soup prints in my sleep. I worked for a major wire service in the early 1960s. I ran a Telephoto machine. You'd put printing paper in it, click a few buttons, wait for the photo to transmit, take the print out of the machine put in a new sheet and set up the machine again. Then you'd develop the photo that just came over. I'd do all this in my sleep as my shift started at 5 a.m. after a hard night out on the town. When the machine stopped beeping my deadened brain knew it was take the paper out of the machine and put a new one in.
Interesting idea, I've been processing my own since the late 60s and worked as a custom printer from 84 to 01. I found out around 02 that I am diabetic and probably have had it since early 80s. No one in my family has had it so who knows where it came from.
I've also had a few interesting complications like rhuematoid arthritis and had a leg amputated thanks to an infection but at least I can still print. Anyone need a printer? Good luck to everyone else.