No offense to the group, but from reading the posts on this subject, it is
clear to me that I need to speak up. REGARDLESS, and I MEAN REGARDLESS of
what you have read on the Internet, you need to handle all chemicals
regardless of what they are, as though they are hazardous. My advice is to
read the chemical's MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet). This will give you
quite a bit of information about potential problems with any chemical. Do a
search for a MSDS Database on the Internet.
NEVER handle any chemical unless you make a suitable inquiry.
In the old days, we were not overly concerned with the potential dangers of
a chemical. I think because Eastman Kodak pushed darkroom activities as a
great thing for young people to do; as a hobby for everyone, the thought
might be that it is completely safe. For the most part, this is true.
Considering the confusion about Cyanide and if certain chemicals that sound
alike contain the stuff, you need to study what you are doing. I've used
cyanide based chemicals in the photolab as well as a particularly nasty
Mercury Chloride Intensifier. Never had a problem, probably never will. I
treat even the common chemical used in fixer with care and caution.
Consider Glacial Acetic - pretty benign stuff. when I read that vinegar can
be used as a substitute, I can't help but wonder how many will 'Backwards
Think' about this and use glacial on their salad. Do not laugh, we live in
a world where education is in sad condition, and, well....that's another
discussion for another list.
Consider the particular blue FotoDave is asking about. There are blue dyes
that are safe; food color being one, and blue dyestuffs that will kill you
in a very short time. Fortunately, one will not find these in the places
photographers buy supplies. Consider Potassium Chloride and Potassium
Chlorate. The ChlorIDE is not too reactive, where the ChlorATE, if
contaminated say with dust, becomes extremely reactive. It will explode
with violent force if pounded. To some the names could be confused. AND NO
ONE CAN AFFORD TO BE CONFUSED WHEN USING CHEMICALS! From reading this list,
there are many people out there who have posted questions about
substituting one chemical for another. One person ordered one thing and got
another and posted an inquiry about if what they had would work. ANYONE WHO
IS EXPERIMENTING WITH UNKNOWN CHEMICAL COMBINATIONS AND DOES NOT UNDERSTAND
CHEMISTRY IS A FOOL AND BEGGING FOR FUTURE PROBLEMS!
Finally, a quick check through an Eastman Fine Photographic Chemicals
(Issued in 1948) lists a wide variety of chemicals that if used today,
would incur the wrath of a variety of government agencies if not disposed
of as extremely hazardous waste. I mention this because here again,
photography is often touted as a completely safe pastime, and there is a
tendency to assume that if general photographic processing is safe, ALL
photochemistry is safe. Incidentally, in my area, any user of materials
that would not be considered usual for the area or situation is subject to
Haz Waste rules and regulations. I mean if you are a homeowner, it is usual
for the effluents to contain food wastes, pet wastes and human wastes, but
hot Cyanides. Make sure you dispose of processing chemicals in accordance
with local regulations.
This is my advice to the group and I hope you think about what you are
doing. Handle every chemical with care.