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Thread: Contact Dermatitis

  1. #1
    Foamer
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    Contact Dermatitis

    Contact dermatitis--itchy skin due to contact with something you're allergic to. Starting earlier this week the underside of my wrists and forearms began to itch. Looking closely I saw tiny black dots covering tiny red bumps. Now that the weather has warmed (98 degress!) I've been wearing short sleeve shirts when doing wet plate. It looks like I'm getting tiny splatters of silver nitrate on me, and the thinner more sensitive skin is reacting. I'm able to tame it down with some HC 1% cream for a couple of days, but I am bit worried. Don't know if the allergy could progress. So, I think I'm going to start wearing a lightweight long sleeved shirt. I've heard of people becoming allergic to b&w chemicals but not silver nitrate. I'm guessing the splatters are coming when I open and close the lid on my tank.


    Kent in SD
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    miserere nobis.

  2. #2

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    Re: Contact Dermatitis

    Find a dermatologist. I had two bouts with it- c.1985 and 1995, proper treatment cleared it up each time. I've been careful since then and have seen no recurrence.
    My problems were caused by metol- the most common, I believe, and easily treated. But sensitization is both tricky and individual.
    Last edited by Mark Sampson; 12-Jun-2020 at 19:57. Reason: d****d auto-spell

  3. #3

    Re: Contact Dermatitis

    If you are splashing silver nitrate, you need to change what you are doing. Now.
    A splash of it in your eyes will blind you, and silver poisoning is a real thing.
    I wear gloves, glasses, and coveralls. Works fine and no stained clothes.

  4. #4
    Foamer
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    Re: Contact Dermatitis

    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Greenberg Motamedi View Post
    If you are splashing silver nitrate, you need to change what you are doing. Now.
    A splash of it in your eyes will blind you, and silver poisoning is a real thing.
    I wear gloves, glasses, and coveralls. Works fine and no stained clothes.
    No, not splashing. It's tiny dots so it's splatters. They don't seem to travel very far, maybe six inches or so as there's none past my elbow. I do wear gloves of course. I think what's happening is when I press the lid shut on my silver tank it's snaps, and that flings tiny droplets. My plan is to simply wear a lightweight long sleeved shirt. I do wear eye protection when mixing silver solution, pouring it in/out, or handling any cyrstals.


    Kent in SD
    Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris,
    miserere nobis.

  5. #5
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Contact Dermatitis

    Those black dots do give it away! Metol can be the culprit in the traditional darkroom.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  6. #6

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    Re: Contact Dermatitis

    Dermatologist most definitely. Steroid cream will help the symptoms. Maybe use those long plastic gloves veterinarian use to check for obstructions on large animals
    Principal Unix System Engineer, Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems

  7. #7

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    Re: Contact Dermatitis

    Silver nitrate is an irritant. Your reaction is possibly (likely?) less of an allergic one than a reaction to an irritant.

    If you're splashing or spattering or whatever you want to call it, you need to work on refining your technique so that you don't. And, you need better protective gear.

    Long gloves come to mind, as does wearing a long-sleeved shirt, etc., etc. But really, silver nitrate splattered around will stain clothes, floors, and just about anything else it touches. It burns mucous membranes and irritates skin. Just find a way to be more careful.

    And, do see a dermatologist.

    Stay safe,

    Doremus

  8. #8

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    Re: Contact Dermatitis

    Silver nitrate is made by dissolving silver metal into nitric acid, and then carefully driving off the moisture... Nitric acid is a extreme corrosive to materials and esp skin and mucus membranes...

    The whole process is hazardous, and NOW is the time for a safety review...

    Steve K

  9. #9

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    Re: Contact Dermatitis

    Can you place a sheet of plastic over the tank to control the splatters? Fortunately I've never had much in the way of reactions to darkroom chemicals, although I did once experience a bout of my eyelids peeling from Cibachrome chemistry fumes.

  10. #10
    Foamer
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    Re: Contact Dermatitis

    An update. I went back to using my 5x7 Lund tank until my new 8x10 holder comes. I wore a shirt sleeve shirt while doing about five tins yesterday. No silver spots on my arms, and no problem. I'm pretty sure that what was happening was when the lid on my 8x10 tank snaps shut it creates a fine mist of silver solution. I think I can add a piece of tap around the edge of the tank to act as a shield and that should fix the problem.


    Kent in SD
    Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris,
    miserere nobis.

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