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WWI Photography Catalog

The Fine Print

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I have heard of the "One Breath Method" of entering a toxic environment by inhaling deeply (even hyperventilating a bit first) and then entering, holding one's breath as long as possible, exhaling, holding, then only inhaling again after exiting the toxic environment.

I use the One Breath Method frequently in my darkroom, when I process photographic prints with an antiquated process that liberates a lot of hydrogen sulfide gas. I can keep the door shut and the vent fans on, only entering long enough to pour out the chems, exit to breathe, put the prints in tray, exit, put the prints in the water wash, exit, then pour the chems back in the bottle.

Unfortunately, this isn't very safe. Sometimes you hear of industrial accidents when someone was overcome by fumes inside a tank, and someone goes in to rescue him and is also overcome. Perhaps people overestimate their ability to hold their breath.

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