[Alt-photo] Dichromate Poisoning

`Richard Knoppow dickburk at ix.netcom.com
Tue Oct 24 04:17:49 UTC 2017

    A mixture of potassium dichromate and sulfuric acid was the standard 
laboratory glassware cleaner for many decades. Also the most common tray 
cleaner in photography. Kodak TC-1 is a typical formula:
Water.................. 1.0 liter
Potassium dichromate... 90.0 grams
Sulfuric acid,concentrated.. 96.0 mL
This solution can be reused until it stop working.
Rinse the vessel to be cleaned with the cleaner than pour out and wash 
well in water.
    I used this stuff for many years and never suffered from it. Of 
course one does not soak one's hands in it but accidental contact does 
not produce burns because it is so diluted.
    See the book "The Dose Makes the Poison" by M. Alice Ottoboni for 
some interesting ideas on what exactly is considered toxic.
On 10/23/2017 7:51 PM, Charles Berger via Alt-photo-process-list wrote:
> Chris:
> Dick Sullivan is one of the last persons to be cited as a source for
> accurate information on the safe use of dichromate.  See his YouTube (
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=168&v=ljT3eyCpIns) where he is
> using dichromate to prepare a plate for gravure printing.  Although he is
> wearing gloves, at  2:48 you can see him reach up with his dichromate
> contaminated gloved hand to rub his nose.  Perhaps he is unaware that one
> of the many respiratory effects following chromium inhalation “can
> include ulceration
> of the nasal mucosa with possible septal perforation [Lindberg and
> Hedenstierna 1983; Dayan and Paine 2001]
> https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/csem/csem.asp?csem=10&po=10
> To argue that folks can get cancer from many sources is not very helpful
> when discussing this subject.  It is interesting that you referenced your
> former alt teacher who is now 80 and struggles with bladder cancer.  Chromium
> is almost entirely excreted through urine (
> http://homepage.vghtpe.gov.tw/~jcma/72/4/219.pdf) and thus can be a hidden
> cause of kidney, liver and bladder cancers.
> The EPA is quite clear that art instructors have the obligation “to ensure
> a safe environment for everyone – themselves, their students, other faculty
> members and visitors to the classroom or studio.”  As part of the
> management structure, it is important how you present this safety
> information. (*The Workers Right to Know, 4.2.2*) and your dismissive
> attitude “*last time I ordered dichromate for the school I got a 5-lb
> container, which would make 2000 prints. I figured that amount would get my
> students through to my retirement :). So if they ban purchasing it in the
> US I will be good to go for at least a while.”)* is unfortunate (and
> potentially illegal).  Clearly you view this as more of an inconvenience
> than as a serious heath hazard.
> Walker:
> You are correct. I  found that at
> http://www.nontoxicprint.com/safetyinphotography.htm
> which seemed to attribute it to the EPA H&S Guide.  However, on re-reading
> the page, it appears that it is not a quote from that document.
> Apologies for the confusion.
> Charles
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Richard Knoppow
dickburk at ix.netcom.com

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