Precautions with Potassium Dichromate

February 8, 2013

neiromobile-blog asked: Hi, Tony! I really want to try gum bichromate printing, but I am very concerned about the toxicity of the main component — potassium dichromate. I do not have a separate room for the process at the moment. Can I do this at home? In the bathroom. What safety precautions when working with potassium dichromate?

There is a long tradition of bathroom darkrooms.  When I first started with Gum over ten years ago, I used the tub in my bathroom for about a year or so making prints using 13×19 inch negatives in 16×20 inch trays.  It wasn’t ideal but it worked-a lot of my preliminary research was done during that time.  It’s important to have a healthy respect for the Dichromate (I use the Ammonium Dichromate).  Wear a mask when dealing with the dry chemistry and wear gloves when handling the Dichromate (wet or dry).  Fastidiousness is a necessity–make sure to clean all areas in contact with the sensitizer.  Refer to the MSDS sheets for further handling precautions.       Tony

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