Printech Archive, November, 1998: Re: Eliminating/reducing hydroquinone from developer

Re: Eliminating/reducing hydroquinone from developer

Wayne Pferdehirt (
Tue, 3 Nov 1998 12:38:53 CST

------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
Date: Tue, 3 Nov 1998 13:21:49 -0500
Subject: Eliminating/reducing hydroquinone from developer

From: Michele S. Raines

Please post if you think Printech readers would be interested. Thank
you. ---------------------- Forwarded by Michele S. Raines/595236/EKC
on 11/03/98 01:23 PM ---------------------------

Laurie Fiorica <> on 11/03/98 12:41:41 PM

Please respond to Silver Council

cc: (bcc: Michele S. Raines/595236/EKC)
Subject: Eliminating/reducing hydroquinone from developer

From: Laurie A Fiorica

I realize there are some concerns around hydroquinone in developing
solutions. I wanted to provide some information on the subject.

Hydroquinone has been used for more than one hundred years in
developing solutions. It has many other uses as well, including an
antioxidant in the manufacture of rubber, and as a topical
depigmentating agent in dermatologic preparations for the treatment of
skin blemishes. Hydroquinone also occurs naturally in cigarette smoke,
the leaves and bark of several plant species, and common household
foods such as coffee, wheat-based products, fruit (in the skin), and
red wine.

The potential adverse human health effects that may occur due to
hydroquinone exposure are an allergic skin reaction and eye
irritation. An aqueous solution of hydroquinone is not readily
absorbed through the skin, nor is it respirable.

Appropriate industrial hygiene practices should be employed in any
darkroom. Minimally, safety glasses should be worn. Another general
recommendation and good practice for those working with photographic
solutions (including those containing hydroquinone, and other
potential allergens) is the use of neoprene or nitrile gloves or
tongs, thereby preventing skin contact. Dust generation of
hydroquinone-containing powders should be minimized. Lastly, washing
the hands after completion of work, keeping the area clean, and not
eating or drinking around photoprocessing chemicals will minimize
accidental exposure. Recommendations for personal protection equipment
and safe handling are found on the product label and in the material
safety data sheets (MSDS) provided with photoprocessing chemicals.
These should be reviewed prior to working with your photographic

Being educated about your products, using good industrial hygiene
practices, and using the appropriate personal protective equipment
should allow any photography enthusiast or professional to enjoy
his/her work with black and white photoprocessing chemicals, including
those with hydroquinone.

Wayne P. Pferdehirt, P.E., AICP
U. of Wis., Solid & Hazardous Waste Education Center
610 Langdon Street, Room 532, Madison, WI 53703-1195
Phone: 608/265-2361 Fax: 608/262-6250



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