View Full Version : Color Darkroom Precautions and Setup

14-Sep-2006, 09:37
I am currently setting up a color darkroom in my home. I just purchased a used but in great conditions, 20inch promate II Kreonite processor. I know the chemistry usage may be high, but I only plan on it being up and running for 2 or three months out of the year. It looks like I can get kodak chemistry that would last a month based on the amount of usage and time for oxidation.

What precautions should I take in this endevour. I have one exhaust fan already and am thinking of adding another. My sons room shares a wall with the darkroom so I want to make sure I evac all the toxic fumes before contaminating the entire house and risking the health of my family.

Also what risks should I prepare for disposal. For the low amount that I would be using and the fact I am on septic, what precautions should be taken in disposing chemistry. I have used Arista RA4 chemistry in my home darkroom before and just poured it down the drain with lots of running water. Is there a greater risk now?

Any information that anyone has on setting up and maintianing this processor, chemistry suggestions, exhaust fan suggestions, etc., would be greatly appreciated.

Thank You


Walter Calahan
14-Sep-2006, 10:56
Whatever you do, don't let any B&W leak in. Grin.

Yes, clearing the air is very very important.

I'm sure you'll do well.

14-Sep-2006, 19:56
Whatever you do, don't let any B&W leak in. Grin.

Yes, clearing the air is very very important.

I'm sure you'll do well.

Thanks for the encouragement. I thought about switching back to B&W. But I think Ive now been doing color longer. I may need to switch some in if color gets too costly $$$$ to operate. ;)

Ted Harris
16-Sep-2006, 06:45
Only comment is that you may be overly optimistic in how long the open mixed chemistry will last ... it will last but you may need to experiment to change some development times or be sure to do some replenishment.

Leonard Evens
16-Sep-2006, 07:41
I did a lot of color photography in my old darkroom. In addition to having a powerful exhaust fan, I put a plastic curtain between me and the chemicals, so I could just put my hands underneath it, but otherwise it separated the air over the chemicals from the rest of the room. Even so, I would sometimes find my throat irritated by chemicals. The most irritating chemical, I found, was Acetic Acid, which would be there even for b/w processing.

If your processor does a good job of isolating the chemicals, such extra precuations may not be necessary. But you should check that the exhaust fan is actually doing what it should. One thing that people forget is that for an exhaust system to work well, you need to make sure there is a way for enough air to get into the room as well as a fan to blow it out. If you make your darkroom lightproof enough, it may also be relatively airtight. In that case, you may need to add a light tight opening for air to come in.

The most dangerous chemical in color processing used to be formaldehyde, which I believe is a carcinogen. The book 'Overexposure Health Hazards in Phtogrpahy' by Susan Shaw and Monona Rossol, has lots of information about chemical toxicity. It seems to be available from Amazon for about $13.