Sciencemadness Discussion Board

Old Chemicals

nscheffield - 1-3-2016 at 10:21

So i do quite a bit of hiking in the North east USA. The property closest to mine has several trash pits from like 1960's and prior. most of the junk looks like its from the 50's, 40's, and even sooner. i find bottles and jars (unmarked) that seem to contain some sort of chemical compound. (it looks like copper carbonate paste) i am unsure of what i should do with it, and not 100% sure what it is. Should i clean it up and dispose of it at the lab (college lab i work/learn at) or should i just throw it in the normal trash if its of no value

diggafromdover - 1-3-2016 at 10:24

Does it appear to be all the same compound? U2U me if you wish to send a sample.

Great - 1-3-2016 at 12:25

I find the same thing here, the stuff is labelled as Copper Oxychloride... Probably not the same stuff as yours, but its a very green cyan colour, with some variation between samples.

Amos - 1-3-2016 at 14:43

Paris green or other arsenate compounds come to mind. Maybe I'm just romanticizing it but be careful with them either way.

Great - 1-3-2016 at 20:08

Are the bottles made of glass, plastic, or metal? It might not even be a reagent, possibly a baking product, paint, makeup, etc.

nscheffield - 2-3-2016 at 16:45

The bottles and jars are glass. Looks like metal lid (what remains at least)
The substance(s) seem to be close in visual and physical characteristics. Id be happy to send samples to anyone who wants some. It may take a while to send however. (not sure how much to send)

IrC - 2-3-2016 at 23:23

It is a toxic fungicide, do not dump in nature.

j_sum1 - 3-3-2016 at 00:32

Quote: Originally posted by IrC  
It is a toxic fungicide, do not dump in nature.
That is if it is copper oxychloride (which is a reasonable guess.)

A pic might be a good idea. But a proper test would be better. No one can recommend a suitable course of action without knowing what it is.

nscheffield - 3-3-2016 at 06:32

Ok. Ill see if i can get a pic of it soon. (college work is got me busy)

IrC - 3-3-2016 at 09:03

"No one can recommend a suitable course of action without knowing what it is."

This is not logical. The reasonable approach IS to treat it as hazardous to the ecology given an unknown chemical. Logically if one is wrong they have done no harm to the environment, if not wrong they have spared nature from harm. To do nothing, one could say with an unknown there is a 50/50 chance nature will suffer harm. Thus I conclude it is more logical to err on the side of caution since this yields the greatest statistical likelihood nature is protected. Think about it. If one does nothing given unknown chemicals there is at least a 50 percent chance nature suffers. If one disposes of it properly there is a 100 percent chance nature is protected from further harm if the chemical is indeed a hazard. Put simply by erring on the side of caution you guarantee nature wins.

nscheffield - 3-3-2016 at 09:15

I am unsure if removing the substance will help all that much. some of the jars were broken. but none the less if should be cleaned up regardless