Common photographic agents and their hazards:

Many of the chemicals used for photographic processing can cause severe skin and lung problems. The greatest hazards associated with photography include the preparation and use of concentrated chemical solutions. Never touch chemical powders or solutions with unprotected hands. In addition, take care not to stir up and inhale chemical dusts.


Good ventilation is essential when working with photographic chemicals.

  • Developer: May cause skin irritation and allergic reactions.
  • Stop-bath: May cause burns and throat irritation.
  • Fixer: Highly irritating to lungs.
  • Intensifier: Very corrosive and may cause lung cancer.
  • Reducer: Contact with heat, concentrated acids, or ultraviolet radiation produces poisonous gas.
  • Toners: Highly toxic.
  • Hardeners and stabilizers: Often contain formaldehyde which is a poison, a skin irritant, and a known carcinogen.