If you buy a pre-mixed staining developer the risks go way down. It is the powder floating in the air that is the most problematic.

Have good ventilation, as you should do anyway in any darkroom.

On the View Camera web site in the Free Articles section is an article about the dangers of staining developers. Suffice to say that with even reasonable care, proper ventilation, and buying the pre-mixed developer, the dangers have been overstated. I know more people who've had a problem with Metol than with a staining developer. Metol can cause a skin rash but I don't hear people giving warnings about it.

If you are interested in staining developers get a copy of The Book of Pyro by Gordon Hutchings. You can get it from Bostick and Sullivan or the Photographer's Formulary. In the same section of the View Camera site is an article describing how a staining developer works

There are a variety of staining developers. Those of us who use any of them feel there are many advantages.

steve simmons
www.viewcamera.com