Storing & Handling Bromine

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This topic contains 4 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  nawagi 2 years, 7 months ago.

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    As a general rule, I store all Bromine, Iodine, Hg, and charged fuming boxes in a secure location outside my dwelling. I’ll bring the fuming boxes inside for 24 hours before working them, and return them to outside storage when done.

    My fume hood fits inside my truck, with the blower running off either an invertor or small portable generator. Air flow rates are monitored throughout all hood operations, and all hood operations take place in my driveway, never inside my darkroom.

    My guiding principle is to separate chemical hazards from living/working space.

    I work with liquid Bromine inside the hood to charge silica gel.

    I store the liquid using a triple barrier:
    Bromine liquid is stored in a brown glass bottle with a PTFE cap, sealed with Teflon tape. I use tape rated for gas line sealing, not the type used by plumbers. This bottle is sealed in a large clear glass “Mason” jar, also with a PTFE cap and tape seal. Finally, the Mason jar is placed in a one gallon metal paint can with the lid tightly sealed.

    I have no odor problems. John is quite right that your nose will tell you when fugitive Bromine is on the loose. I also see no degradation of the interior of the metal can, leading me to believe the seals are tight.

    My Iodine and Hg storage are similar, but with 2 levels of protection: tape sealed glass bottle inside the pain can for Iodine, stainless steel vial with gasketed screw on lid inside another paint can for the Hg.

    Working PPE: safety glasses, heavy duty elbow-length nitrile gloves. I do not use a respirator because my nose acts as good monitor for leaks. Hg is my biggest concern because it has no odor, so air flow monitoring is very important. When charging silica gel inside the hood, I keep a pitcher of hypo at the ready in case of a spill- NEVER ammonia.



    Thanks a lot for sharing your experiment. You have a very hight safety level.

    Mine seems to be not so hight.

    I’m working to improve that, following your advices.
    I’s very important to share those informations, and everyone should give here his recommandations.

    You said you store your Br Iodine and Hg outside. What happens when it’s very cold or hot?
    Bromine may boil in hot weather or freeze in cold weather.

    For my own, I put my Hg bottle into a glass jar, sealed with a strong rubber joint (seal). I don’t know if it’s enough.
    Same with iodine crystals.
    For bromine (I use bromine water), I use the same principle, (bromine’s bottle into a glass jar) but I add some hypo crystals into the jar (following Photolytic’s advice). It works very well, but I use it since only today, so I don’t know what will it happen next months.

    I let those jars into my lab. But I go there only for dag. It’s located into my garden.
    Durink working, I use a professionnal fume hood, plus a respirator covering the face with Hg filters. Nitrile gloves and a another pair of chemical gloves on it during bromine manipulations.



    Another question : how do you store charged silica gel with bromine?


    Andy Stockton


    Thanks for your post on safe chemical handling. Very comprehensive and the best we have ever had posted on CDags. Anyone wishing to work with Daguerreotypes would do well to copy your meticulous approach.

    I wonder if you could share your source of the PTFE lid for a Mason jar? I had not run across that before. Also – since it sounds like you are using your truck as a mobile darkroom – can you share any method you use to stabilize the Mason jar inside of the paint can?




    PTFE sheets can be found on Amazon by searching for “Teflon sheet”. I cut the sheet to fit inside the mason jar lid and completely seal the rim of the jar. Also handy for sealing the lids of fuming boxes.

    I store the Bromine-charged silica gel the same was as I store liquid bromine: inner 500ml brown glass bottle with PTFE lid and tape, outer mason jar with PTFE lied and tape, sealed metal paint can.

    I don’t need to stabilize the brown glass bottle inside the mason jar- it’s a tight fit. When I place the mason jar inside the paint can, I center it in the can and then pour about 4″ of vermiculite between the can and the jar to keep everything stable. I learned this from a chemical shipper. You can find clean vermiculite at any garden center.

    Andy- I appreciate your kind words. I hope I can contribute even a portion of what you and John have to support the working Dag community. I’ve thought about posting videos showing some my safety procedures, but hesitate to “let the genie out of the bottle” and have someone less cautious that I quickly attempt the process and injure themselves (and then sue me…). Like John, I have extensive lab experience dealing with some very dangerous compounds. Respect, caution, personal protection and training all work together to make a safe and beautiful image. And I still have all my teeth…


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