Everybody knows that chemicals are bad for your health, but if we stick to the safety rules on how to manage and handle the chemicals we use in the darkroom, it should save you a visit to the doctor's. If you're working in a darkroom, keep in mind these instructions and familiarize yourself with these health and safety guidelines.
Darkroom General Safety Rules:
- Limit access to the darkroom. Only authorized persons should be allowed to work in the room.
- Practice good housekeeping. Keep the work area clean and uncluttered to prevent tripping over hazardous chemical bottles.
- Separate the wet and dry areas.
- Always segregate chemicals. Don’t store acids near reducer!
- Use the least toxic chemicals available. Avoid cyanides, heavy metals, and developers containing pyrocatechol or pyrogallol when possible.
- Do not store chemicals on the floor.
- Do not eat, drink or smoke in the darkroom.
- The darkroom should be well ventilated.
- Wear appropriate protective equipment whenever possible, such as gloves, goggles, etc.
- Always wash hands with soap and warm water after working with chemicals.
- Know how to use emergency equipment prior to an actual emergency.
- Always Add Acid to water, never water to acid. (Remember ‘AAA’)
- Keep a spill kit in the darkroom.
- Do not use paper towels or sawdust to clean up acid spills as this may cause a fire.
- Pregnant women should not be exposed to powdered developer.
- Store all chemicals in locations that will minimize the chance of breakage and splashing.
- Label all containers.
- Keep all containers and trays closed or covered when not in use to prevent the release of toxic gases.
- Do not wash any chemicals down the sink (exceptions noted below).
- All spent chemicals should be placed into an appropriate waste container. A container the same as the one the chemical was originally shipped in is best.
All information for this article were sourced from Indiana University's Office of Environmental, Health, and Safety Management.