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Chemicals are widely and commonly used in the field of photo processing and printing, and some of the waste generated may be considered hazardous substances that can cause negative effects on the health of humans, especially when they inhale them or in direct contact with them without using personal protective equipment. though the concentration of toxic substances can vary from process to another, they should always be handled with caution, in storing and discharging activities, as some chemicals contain known carcinogens.
Photographic processing labs produce a variety of chemical wastes. One of the main concerning chemicals are silver compounds like silver "halide" compounds used in photography. It is hazardous because of its toxic effect on the environment, in addition to accumulating in the solid by-products from wastewater treatment plants which may potentially limits recycling it. Silver (D011 in Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure TLCP) contained in films, papers, and silver-rich solutions is generated during processing films.
It is commonly used as a restrainer in developing solutions.
and helps in prolonging development time as well as preventing and minimizing fog. When used in paper developers, it also reduces contrast and provides a warming effect. Additionally, potassium bromide is used as an intensifying ingredient and to reduce toners.
This chemical is toxic by ingestion and inhalation. It is an irritant of the skin, eyes and respiratory tract. When heated to decomposition it emits toxic fumes of bromine.
Sodium Sulfite is commonly used as a preservative in developing baths. It is also used within acid fixing baths and as a blackener for negative intensification processes.
para-Phenylenediamine is primarily used as a dye intermediate and as a dye, (for example, hair dyes and dyes used for dyeing furs), as well as a photographic developing agent .
In conclusion, photo processing and many other industries should be fully aware of all the hazards they produce and how environmentally harmful they can be. Proper discharging and storing as well as the prevention methods will definitely help in preserving earth and potentially minimizing exposure and health risks.
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