Tim's Blog

FAQs About E6 Development

A few people have asked questions prompted by my How To Develop E6 Film article.  I try to reply, but sometimes I'm so busy I don't get round to it for far too long (sorry!,) so hopefully I can answer some of them here.

Where can I buy the E6 chemicals?

Probably the most common question I've been asked by far.  I can't comment on availability in the United States - I understand there are some complications with shipping chemistry by USPS - but the following suppliers I have used in the UK and they have never let me down.  If you know of other suppliers (particularly overseas,) please let me know through the Comments section at the end of this article.

Sadly, as Kodak continue their long death spiral into irrelevance, the Kodak E6 kits I used to rely on are no longer available, but both Fuji and Tetenal chemistry is excellent.

I've been told the E6 chemistry is super dangerous.  Is it?

No, it isn't.  I suspect this may be part confusion with the chemistry for developing Kodachrome, which was pretty nasty stuff but was never available outside specialist Kodachrome labs.  Follow the safety instructions provided with the packs and you will be fine.  Plenty of household chemicals like bleach require the same sort of respect as E6 chemistry. General precautions include:

  • Avoid skin contact.  Wear suitable gloves, and in event of skin contact rinse thoroughly with running water. 
  • Do not swallow.  Consult a doctor immediately if you do.
  • Do not allow into contact with eyes.  Rinse thoroughly for 15 minutes in event of inadvertent eye contact.
  • Always mix & use chemistry in a well ventilated area.  Avoid inhaling fumes.
  • Above all: These are only general precautions; always follow the manufacturer's instructions.

How should I dispose of the used chemistry?

I will defer to Kodak's advice here.  In particular note that used fixer is the effluent of particular concern - because it contains silver, which is an effective antibacterial.  In this respect, colour chemistry is no different from black & white.

Commercial photo labs tend to recover the silver from fixer - silver is a precious metal after all, and has a value: the lab makes a small amount of money back from used fixer.  The easiest way to deal with hobbiest quantities of left over fixer is therefore to find a friendly local photo lab and ask nicely if they'll take your used fixer from you!

If in doubt, collect all your effluent and take it to a municipal waste facility for disposal.  For example, here is Warwickshire Council's page on waste disposal, specifically noting that they accept small amounts of photographic chemicals for disposal for free.


I think that addresses the most common questions I've been asked...  If I think of any more I'll update this page - or feel free to add your own comments/questions below.

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