Drew, call me a fool then. Back when I was about 12 and started color processing, you could not easily get any sort of protective gloves, and where could a 12 year old get a ventilator for the darkroom (really the fruit cellar)? We could not get this type of stuff even in my later teens.
When in a hurry, I still can do some items without gloves, and I never use a mask.
All color chemistry has become safer over the years. No more dichromate, ferricyanide, formalin, t-BAB, well I could go on.