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Dangers of the chemicals used in the movie industry?


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#1 Thibaut de Chemellier

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Posted 12 June 2006 - 05:18 AM

Hi,
Has anybody heard about a real investigation about the effects of a long term exposition to chemicals use in the movie industry?
The camera assistants are always in direct contact with many chemicals such as gaffer tapes (emanations from the glue and direct skin contact), cleaning spray, acetone, emanations from film stock and dust-off especially in non ventilated dark rooms.
Even HF transmissions from video transmitters, focus?remotes, magnetic fields of large video screens can be dangerous?like cell phones.
I know AC friends who are really allergic to gaffer tapes and Dust-off?
What are your experiences?
Is there any publications about this issue?

Edited by TiboP', 12 June 2006 - 05:20 AM.

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#2 Bob Hayes

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Posted 12 June 2006 - 09:57 AM

I was told that in some East European countries being a video operator is considered as risky job like working in a nuclear power plant. They get mandatory months off with pay every year. Is this true.
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#3 Hal Smith

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Posted 12 June 2006 - 10:10 AM

Hi,
Has anybody heard about a real investigation about the effects of a long term exposition to chemicals use in the movie industry?
The camera assistants are always in direct contact with many chemicals such as gaffer tapes (emanations from the glue and direct skin contact), cleaning spray, acetone, emanations from film stock and dust-off especially in non ventilated dark rooms.
Even HF transmissions from video transmitters, focus?remotes, magnetic fields of large video screens can be dangerous?like cell phones.
I know AC friends who are really allergic to gaffer tapes and Dust-off?
What are your experiences?
Is there any publications about this issue?

There are a lot of "commercial' environmentalists making a pretty good living scaring people.

Some people are allergic to peanuts, does this mean we need to ban peanuts? Some people are allergic to tomatoes, does this mean we need to ban tomatoes?

Automobiles are exceedingly dangerous, particularly if you walk in front of one, do we need to ban automobiles?

There are absolutely NO documented cases of radio frequency radiation harming someone unless they made the mistake of walking in front of a high powered radar, etc. The only proven effects are simply the "microwave oven" principle. Can you cook a hot dog with your cellphone? I doubt it.

Every civilized nation has some pretty good chemical safety mechanisms in place, in fact the EU tends to go overboard on the issue, the US can be pretty aggressive too. I wouldn't recommend sniffing acetone, but then I wouldn't recommend sniffing any volatile liquid or gas other than Oxygen. You can kill yourself huffing Helium - a completely inert gas.
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 12 June 2006 - 11:03 AM

In the union, we all have to take a safety training course in hazardous materials on productions, which are generally labelled as such, with bulletins posted on their dangers.

But I don't think something like gaffer's tape is recognized by government organizations as a hazardous product. Maybe the adhesive, but you'd have to be exposed to much higher levels than what's on the back of a piece of tape.

The people who are more exposed to hazardous chemicals are efx people, prop-making people, construction, etc. more than set workers. I think efx people who handle smoke, explosives, chemicals, etc. live the shortest length after retirement according to union records.

There is some concern about such things as smoke used on set. That stuff is tested on animals, what not, but at exposure levels like for one hour - not friggin 16 hours all day long, for week after week like on some productions! I get worried when that happens too much. After working with smoke in a cold location for a month on "Northfork", I developed a heavy nosebleed on the last day of shooting that recoccured sporadically over the next several months.

Something has to be labelled as officially dangerous by a government agency for something to be done about it. Ideas like common radio frequencies give you cancer are not so proven.

Anyway, it would be hard to make movies anymore without tape, radios, and film stock... not that I'm saying that a practice shown to be dangerous should be continued just for tradition's sake, but society does allow the notion that certain industrial activities have a higher level of danger and exposure than others. Afterall, we send people up into space!
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#5 Thibaut de Chemellier

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Posted 12 June 2006 - 12:07 PM

I agree, there are many things much more dangerous than gaffer tapes and Dust-off?of course.
I don?t want prohibition, I just want information, I want to know what are the risks?we often know nothing about those products, but I agree, we can?t do our job without most of them.

Hey Hal, I don?t need ?commercial?envirnmentalists? to be scared, I just read regular newspapers? everybody knows that it?s dangerous to walk on the highway but nobody exactly know excatly how bad for our health chemicals can be?
Do you really believe what you say when you told us about the industry taking care of our health? (I?m gonna die laughing here, don?t need chemicals? :lol: ) Industry care about money first?I?m sure it?s possible to make safe products but what are the cost...???

BTW Cell phones and microwaves ARE dangerous for health; for sure?don?t trust what the industry told you? trust me, leave your cell phone away from your testicules ;) !!!
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#6 Bob Hayes

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Posted 12 June 2006 - 01:00 PM

Like David Mullen says. They union has classes that help you learn about hazards. I always carry safety gear with me. Especially a respiratory protection mask with a high quality cartridge that filters the highest level of particulate. I think the greatest danger to my health comes from environmental hazards from locations we shoot in. Old abandoned buildings carry high levels of mold, asbestos, CPBs, and other dangerous chemicals. Also dangers from Hanta and bird flew are always possible.
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 12 June 2006 - 01:05 PM

Yes, that scares me more than anything else, the number of times I've shot in abandoned old industrial basements with asbestos-covered pipes and bird poop everywhere...
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#8 Matt Pacini

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Posted 12 June 2006 - 01:24 PM

I've been working with print industry chemicals for years, and I only have two 3-headed babies, so nothing to worry about there.

Seriously, I can't imagine someone worrying about gaffers tape!
I can't think of a job with no dangers.
Even working in an office, you're trapped in stale air, copy machine & laser printer toner, not to mention those damn nail polish fumes!
Farmers & herders get lots of methane gas from the animals farting, injuries from animal bites, etc.

As for information, I guess you'd have to do the homework yourself, by checking what ingredients each thing have in them, which is required by law.

And that whole "power lines cause cancer" scare from a few years back was shown to be 100% bogus, after many years of study.
Same thing with the breast implants. No evidence whatsoever that they did anything, yet "everyone knows it's true", which is the usual problem with the media making huge stories before the studies are completed, or just plain reporting junk science as if it's established fact.

Now if you will excuse me, my testicles are glowing in the dark again.

MP
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#9 Dan Goulder

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Posted 12 June 2006 - 01:31 PM

BTW Cell phones and microwaves ARE dangerous for health; for sure?don?t trust what the industry told you? trust me, leave your cell phone away from your testicules ;) !!!

Easy enough...Just avoid talking out your a..!
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#10 Thibaut de Chemellier

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Posted 12 June 2006 - 01:46 PM

I've made my investigation and check this out:

http://www.astm.org/...1.htm?E mystore

Dust-off contains difluoroethane. It's even writes on the can " Inhaling contents may be FATAL"

Keep jocking guys...
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#11 Thibaut de Chemellier

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Posted 12 June 2006 - 02:20 PM

Asbestos or birdshit is more dangerous than Dust-off or gaffer tapes...So what ??? I'm not takin' bath with birdshit.
A-Bomb is more dangerous......or the Bush administration......SO WHAT !!!

I was just asking about the products that we used intensly on a set....I'm still an AC so I'm concern with this issues, are you DP's concern about your camera crew? I'm sure you do.

Edited by TiboP', 12 June 2006 - 02:22 PM.

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#12 Hal Smith

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Posted 12 June 2006 - 02:48 PM

I agree, there are many things much more dangerous than gaffer tapes and Dust-off?of course.
I don?t want prohibition, I just want information, I want to know what are the risks?we often know nothing about those products, but I agree, we can?t do our job without most of them.

Hey Hal, I don?t need ?commercial?envirnmentalists? to be scared, I just read regular newspapers? everybody knows that it?s dangerous to walk on the highway but nobody exactly know excatly how bad for our health chemicals can be?
Do you really believe what you say when you told us about the industry taking care of our health? (I?m gonna die laughing here, don?t need chemicals? :lol: ) Industry care about money first?I?m sure it?s possible to make safe products but what are the cost...???

BTW Cell phones and microwaves ARE dangerous for health; for sure?don?t trust what the industry told you? trust me, leave your cell phone away from your testicules ;) !!!

I have been working around equipment that runs tens of thousands of times what a cell phone runs for most of my life. I've got two daughters, one who graduated from Brown with honors in Marine Biology and the other a straight-A double major in Anthropology and Graphic Design from William and Mary. If there's any effect on testicles, it's beneficial, not detrimental.

Do you understand? Except for the obvious dangers of body heating due to getting into extremely hazardous RF fields like megawatt radars and the like, there has NEVER been a peer reviewed scientific study that showed any harm from RF itself other than a concern about overheating the cornea due to it's poor cooling system. That concern has been addressed by all the worldwide radio frequency radiation standards - including OSHA, the Department of Defense, and the FCC- with an large safety factor. The problem is un-educated (and/or mis-educated) people latch onto the word "radiation" and think that RF is the same thing as documented hazardous nuclear radiation like gamma rays, high energy neutrons, and the like.

PS: The effect of extreme high power on the human body is simply the heat induced, there is no genetic change as can happen with ionizing radiation like gamma.

Hal Smith, MS, Teaching of Physics
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#13 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 12 June 2006 - 02:53 PM

The Kodak website has information about proper handling of film-related chemicals, including MSDS sheets for all Kodak chemical products:

http://www.kodak.com...d=0.1.4.5&lc=en

http://www.kodak.com...pq-locale=en_US

Specific to the film itself:

http://www.kodak.com...pq-locale=en_US

...The chemicals in a roll of film are embedded in the gelatin emulsion layers (about as thick as a human hair) and do not rub off the plastic film base. The gelatin used in film is more highly refined than that used in common gelatin-based desserts.
The film base is triacetate plastic. Periodically, Kodak receives calls from customers concerned because their child or pet chewed on, or fully ingested, a quantity of film. The potential concern is not one of toxic poisoning, but rather of mechanical injury, such as laceration of the esophagus, stomach, or intestines from the sharp edges of the film. Chemicals in the film are in such low concentrations that the risk of an adverse health effect from the chemicals is much too low to accurately predict...


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#14 Thibaut de Chemellier

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Posted 12 June 2006 - 04:04 PM

Thanks for your interest John, I'll read it...

What are you talking about Hal??? The testicules thing was a joke!!!
Yet Independent research from sweden (besides others ) have proved the danger of abusive use of cell phone.
Industry financed study have proved the contrary and you believe those guys, those who sell billions and billions of cell phones.
Don't you think the phone companies can't buy all the studies and reseach they want?
What's money can't buy?

Have you heard about precaution?

But,anyway, the good thing about being in a set is that almost all those goddam cell phones are off !!!
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#15 Chris Keth

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Posted 12 June 2006 - 04:42 PM

Thanks for your interest John, I'll read it...

What are you talking about Hal??? The testicules thing was a joke!!!
Yet Independent research from sweden (besides others ) have proved the danger of abusive use of cell phone.
Industry financed study have proved the contrary and you believe those guys, those who sell billions and billions of cell phones.
Don't you think the phone companies can't buy all the studies and reseach they want?
What's money can't buy?

Have you heard about precaution?

But,anyway, the good thing about being in a set is that almost all those goddam cell phones are off !!!



The only evidence I've ever seen that is even close to believable that cell phones are harmful are the studies that test the possibility of a ringing cell phone sparking off a gas fire at a station. Even those are pretty spotty and nonconclusive.
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#16 Hal Smith

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Posted 12 June 2006 - 05:34 PM

Thanks for your interest John, I'll read it...

What are you talking about Hal??? The testicules thing was a joke!!!
Yet Independent research from sweden (besides others ) have proved the danger of abusive use of cell phone.
Industry financed study have proved the contrary and you believe those guys, those who sell billions and billions of cell phones.
Don't you think the phone companies can't buy all the studies and reseach they want?
What's money can't buy?

Have you heard about precaution?

But,anyway, the good thing about being in a set is that almost all those goddam cell phones are off !!!

Joke taken!
By the way, the Swedish reviews of the literature include studies where the researchers ASKED people if they could feel anything when they operated their cell phones. Just how dumb is that? If people weren't as a rule pretty susceptible to suggestion we wouldn't have a motion picture industry, otherwise they'd go to the cinema and view movies concretely as what they are, a group of actors standing around in front of a camera repeating someone else's words. The audience's willing suspension of belief (disbelief?) directly involves their being capable of being seduced into believing an artificial reality.
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#17 Thibaut de Chemellier

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Posted 13 June 2006 - 03:48 AM

One scary thing About cell phone issues ( wich is not the real subject here, it's an AC forum...) is that "mega-Insurance Company" don't want to cover cell phones companies against futures law suits....think about that!

About the swedish studies (among others...) go and see by yourself on the internet or in some independent magazines, search infos on Google, Copernic, Safari...Whatever
Make your own opinion by getting as much informations as you can get...I'm not preaching for my church I'm just trying to find objectives and non orientated informations.
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#18 Daniel Stigler

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 07:35 PM

I once suffered from heavy skin irritation caused by gaffer tape. On the last shooting day before the weekend the camera departement had a little bit too many wrap beers and we put fake beards made of gaffers tape on our faces. I left it on over night...


I never thought about dangers of chemicals in the industry but i invested in a good safety harness, dust goggles and stuff like that which i made good use of so far.
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#19 Bob Hayes

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Posted 16 June 2006 - 04:57 PM

I once suffered from heavy skin irritation caused by gaffer tape. On the last shooting day before the weekend the camera departement had a little bit too many wrap beers and we put fake beards made of gaffers tape on our faces.


Sounds like the dangerous chemicals came in a six pack.
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