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Staying on the Safe Side of Film Processing

Everyone who processes their own film is familiar with that characteristic smell when they start mixing the development chemicals. The smell is nostalgic, but it's also not healthy. Here's a couple of tips to keep the area you are working in well ventilated and safe!

Photo by stormer

Access to running water. Running water should be easily available. You need them for washing prints as well as cleaning up after your work session. Always wash your hands and work area thoroughly. Running water is also necessary in case of contamination to one’s eyes.

Easy access to outside air for ventilation. Install fans in order to keep the area you are working in well ventilated. Rooms in ordinary houses or apartments are usually not sufficiently ventilated for photographic processes.

Use precautions when handling the chemicals. You can easily contaminate other areas near the place where you are processing your film.

Access to waste disposal. Make sure you already know where to dispose your photo chemicals. Get local information on how to dispose of your chemicals. Be aware that there are local laws that prohibits illegal dumping of photo chemicals.

Store chemicals properly. As the label says, keep out of reach of children. Don’t forget to label and date your bottles. Do not use chemicals from an unlabeled bottle. Don’t even try to sniff and guess what kind of chemical it is. Dump it, but not down the drain! Check your local regulations on dumping chemicals.

Electrical Safety. Install ground fault interrupters on your outlets.

Things you should not do while processing your own film at home: Eat, drink, smoke, apply makeup or perform other personal hygiene procedures. Contamination can easily happen from hand to mouth or hand to eye. Smoking is also dangerous. Dusts, powders and vapors can react with the cigarette and then be inhaled. Cover yourself with an apron or other protective clothing. Make sure you wash them on a regular basis, but not together with your daily clothes.

written by ilkadj

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This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Deutsch & Português.