It is getting increasingly hard to source some chemicals in the UK.

Last year I managed to make up some Barry Thornton Two Bath developer as I was able to find Metol. But it was a bit of a struggle. Now I find that buying Potassium Dichromate is difficult. Potassium Dichromate is needed for a number of different alternative printing techniques, such as Bromoil which I am starting to learn.

I understand that some chemicals are dangerous. Metol is nasty.  Selenium needs careful handling, especially in powder form. In fact most photographic chemicals need to be treated with respect and carefully disposed. Dichromate is carcinogenic and can cause severe dermatitis. It especially needs safe disposal as aquatic organisms are particularly sensitive to it.

So what is the answer? I think some form of licensing is in order. The problem is that it would be costly to administer and police.

I have managed to get round the dichromate problem by buying it incorporated into another product: Gilbert’s Bleach Tan:

But I wonder for how long this will be available? It seems to me that the biggest danger to the long-term health of film photography is not the availability of film. It is the availability of some papers and some chemicals.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *