Canadian photography student made news last year with his discovery that Lake Ontario held enough contaminants to develop his pictures. Ironically, this pollution is due partly to the thousands of gallons of photographic fixer--containing silver and other hazardous chemicals--used to stabilize photo images, then illegally dumped down the drain.
A year ago, Technology Transfer Inc. in Edmonton, Alta., developed Continufix, a process for recycling fixers used in black-and-white photography. Now comes a color fixer hybrid. In both cases, a reagent mixed with the old fixer binds with silver, the major pollutant involved. The silver forms into particles and is filtered out.
Technology Transfer charges photo labs about 80~ a gallon to collect and process old black-and-white fixer, then return the recycled stuff. Ignoring environmental benefits, that's less than half the tab of new fixer. And the company says that spread will hold for color. Los Angeles is the only U. S. city with a Continufix distributor. But that should change soon.