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ChemistryForever
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[*] posted on 6-12-2018 at 14:14
Potassium permanganate


I live in a EU country where potassium permanganate is considered a class 2 drug precursor. Mainly the law, if i read it well, says that it is not legal to possess it without any authorization.
Now comes the interesting part. I can see on Amazon.co.uk that i can buy potassium permanganate, and if i choose to ship in my country it does not say anything like forbidden. So basically, what does this mean? I'm afraid to order it because i don't know what might happen. If you can order something on amazon in your country, does this mean that it is legal ?
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[*] posted on 6-12-2018 at 14:48


Why would a business offering you something give you legal protection with respect to your locale's laws?

Generally, caveat emptor.

Also, isn't this better off in Legal & Societal Issues?

[Edited on 6-12-2018 by weilawei]
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[*] posted on 6-12-2018 at 15:14


I understand what you want to tell me. The main reason about this was not breaking the law, but i was not sure what the law is, as if i could order a chemical from amazon, i tought they should comply with the laws in the destination country, so it seemed to be legal, and the law article showed the contrary. Thank you for your answer, at least i know now that they just sell them, they have no duty to comply with rules other than in their country. I didn't know how shipping these things work :)
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[*] posted on 6-12-2018 at 15:40


In the US Amazon advertises potassium permanganate for use in disinfecting fish aquariums and removing iron from water in "green sand" filters. Does Amazon UK advertise it for uses such as these? If so, I would think you could buy it freely with no concerns.



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[*] posted on 6-12-2018 at 18:32


It seems that many consumers in the UK use it for athletes foot. One satisfied reviewer wrote:

"Best antiseptic known to man. Great for athletes foot. Twice daily immersion in water with a FEW crystals for a week or so. Amazing results. Do not use in bath as the crystals stain."





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[*] posted on 6-12-2018 at 18:41


It's hard to imagine that potassium permanganate is completely illegal to own. Are you sure the law you're reading doesn't say illegal for the purposes of making drugs? Or maybe illegal to sell? Also is it a criminal offense just to own it? If it's not then I suppose the worst case is you will be fined. I am a little bit spoiled, as we don't have these crazy rules here.

With regard to Amazon, that is not surprising. There is no way amazon can keep track of each destination country's legislation. They use common sense too.
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[*] posted on 6-12-2018 at 18:55


Quote: Originally posted by Magpie  
It seems that many consumers in the UK use it for athletes foot. One satisfied reviewer wrote:

"Best antiseptic known to man. Great for athletes foot. Twice daily immersion in water with a FEW crystals for a week or so. Amazing results. Do not use in bath as the crystals stain."

What?! KMnO4 is legal in UK?!:o



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[*] posted on 6-12-2018 at 18:58


No, the user did not say he lived in the UK, but was considering buying it off Amazon.co.uk. He lives in a EU country that bans it.

So that is my mistake.

[Edited on 7-12-2018 by Magpie]




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[*] posted on 6-12-2018 at 19:10


I imagine that Amazon and other sellers of chemicals make an effort to check if it's legal to export to a given country, as you suggest, ChemistryForever, but I don't think it's wise to rely on them to keep you from buying something banned in your area. I doubt they're perfect about it, and I imagine most places (certainly the US; can't speak for the EU) require the purchaser to be aware of the laws (i.e., ignorance is no defense).
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[*] posted on 7-12-2018 at 01:19


The fact that it is a list 2 precursor for making illicit drugs does not mean it is forbidden to possess. Such chemicals are monitored and sale of such chemicals must follow certain rules, but you still can buy it. I also live in the EU and KMnO4 definitely is not forbidden. It has many legitimate uses. E.g. HCl (30%) also is a classified as a list 2 drug precursor, but it can be purchased at many places.

Only if you order big quantities or combine it with other drug-precursors compatible for a certain production process then it may lead to problems. The seller most likely will have to register its sale so that law enforcement agencies can have a look into this.

I would not worry ordering it, a few hundreds of grams of KMnO4 is nothing special. Some sellers ask you to fill in a "declaration of use" form. Simply fill in this form and tell what you are using it for (chemical experiments is a valid thing). I once ordered acetic anhydride, which also is a list 2 precursor and used that as the reason of buying and I obtained the compound without any further hassle.

List 1 precursors are another thing, these have no other legal uses. This list contains chemicals which are used primarily for making drugs and all of these are complex organic compounds, not the helper compounds like KMnO4, red P, I2, HCl, CH3COOH and so on. I personally think that EU-rules for drugs-precursors are very reasonable and more lax than US-rules, where I2 and red P are more problematic. In my opinion, the EU rules on drugs-precursors only have little impact on people who do home-chemistry in a conscious and common-sense way.




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[*] posted on 7-12-2018 at 01:38


Within UK law, potassium permanganate is legal to buy in any reasonable quantity. However, if you wanted to buy more than 100 kg per year, a license would be required.



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[*] posted on 7-12-2018 at 04:28


Quote: Originally posted by 12thealchemist  
Within UK law, potassium permanganate is legal to buy in any reasonable quantity. However, if you wanted to buy more than 100 kg per year, a license would be required.


Same as in the rest of Europe then :)

I live in Europe aswell and I can get KMnO4 from fish stores as mentioned or in pharmacies where they sell it in miniature enveloppes with a set weight. This is very convenient for experiments.
It can also be found in survival / adventure stores to purify water or start a fire.
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[*] posted on 7-12-2018 at 06:29


Just be glad you guys don't live in China ;). Here it is completely illegal to own/possess if you are not a licensed company due to its potential to be used in explosives.
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[*] posted on 7-12-2018 at 06:53


Quote: Originally posted by Deathunter88  
Just be glad you guys don't live in China ;). Here it is completely illegal to own/possess if you are not a licensed company due to its potential to be used in explosives.
CCP: KMnO4 can be used to make explosives
KMnO4: am I a joke to you?.jpg




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[*] posted on 7-12-2018 at 07:20


Really crappy ones diammine zinc permanganate
Maybe ammonium permanganate but both slowly decompose easily with in a couple hours. More likely due to the use to make drugs with it.




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[*] posted on 7-12-2018 at 08:46


I hate the manufacture and use of illicit drugs as much as anybody. However, I think that no chemical should be proscribed anywhere. Who knows what good experiments the buyer has in mind.

KMnO4 is illicit in China? Yet China is the principal exporter of fentanyl to the US. Deaths from fentanyl overdose are rampant here. Where are the laws and police on this?




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[*] posted on 7-12-2018 at 11:19


Quote: Originally posted by symboom  
Really crappy ones diammine zinc permanganate
Maybe ammonium permanganate but both slowly decompose easily with in a couple hours. More likely due to the use to make drugs with it.


Or just mix it with aluminum dust to make flash powder.




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[*] posted on 7-12-2018 at 13:27


Then they should ban aluminum powder too. From the little I know about China (from reading about people doing business there) these are regulated at a local level. That makes sense since Beijing would have the greatest level of control. I'm sure in other provinces it's less of a problem.

A side note, in Korea I've seen a legitimate chemical reagents / glassware storefront open to the public.
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[*] posted on 7-12-2018 at 17:38


The only use of concern is entirely in South America, and even there it is nonessential. There is no reason for permanganate to be controlled anywhere else, except for the human condition. Obama said that what surprised him the most was US influence on the world.

Step 1

The coca paste is added to sulfuric acid or hydrochloric acid and water. The paste is dissolved into the acid solution.

Step 2

Potassium permanganate is combined with water. This mixture is added to the coca paste and acid solution. Potassium permanganate is used in this step to extract other alkaloids and material that are undesired in the final product. In particular, potassium permanganate is used to break down the alkaloid ciscinnamoylcocaine which is found in large concentrations in E. Novogranatense varieties. If the coca paste has a high concentration of this alkaloid and potassium permanganate is not used then crystallisation of cocaine HCl will be very difficult to achieve.


Have a partial speech transcript of the father of chemical control, deputy assistant DEA administrator Gene Haislip, who got to this place because of imported fake Quaaludes, but needed crack to make it happen:

And any ca—any case, this was a big push against cocaine and I could see that this was gonna go places. So, you know, I was thinking about all this and Dave and I happened to be on the same plane—airplane coming from something in Europe and I got out some napkins and I started sketching how a law would look, you know, how we’d divide things into two categories, precursors, essential chemicals, and how we could minimize the burden by setting some thresholds and different things that we could do.

And I sort of sketched it all out on a napkin, walked back to where Dave was sitting, sat down and I said, “Dave, I got something for ya”. He said, “What’s that”? And I sat down and I said, “Look, you know—you know, that chemicals are coming mostly from the U.S. and we gotta do something about it”.

“And so this is what we can do.” And I outlined the whole thing to him and marched him through it. He got it pretty quick and he said, “Yeah, that’s good. I’ll support that”. So this, of course, took several months of evolution but on—as soon as I got back to Washington a couple days later, you know, the staff, we talked about these things, ad infinitum.

And we were really reluctant to get into it and we didn’t know the chemical industry and we didn’t know, you know, what we could do here and there was a lot of problems with it. And we talked about all that but… So I called em in that morning and I said, “Gentlemen, today we’re gonna draft a new law and this is what it’ll do”, and laid it out to them.

And that’s the way the chemical program and the chemical legislation really came about. Now, you see, we had a significant problem here because, unlike methaquolone, we didn’t have a law or treaty of any kind. And I wanna mention of how that developed. It wasn’t too long, about that time, when we got a cable from—when we got a memo from State Department which basically said the following:

Well, it seems like Vice President Bush (Bush Number One) was at a big meeting in Quito (ph.) with a lot of Latins, and the Venezuelans wanted to do something and what they wanna do is a new treaty. And so Jean Kirkpatrick up in New York at the U.N. is asking us what we think.

And so I said, “This is the opportunity”. Did a little memo, threw chemicals in there, some other stuff, control deliveries, enforcement on the high seas, different things, and I said, “Yeah. The answer is, yes, it’s a great idea. Venezuelans, they don’t know what they’re doing but we can use it”.

“And this is what we’d have in it.” Mullen sent it to the State Department. Some people said, “Well, you’re wasting your time. The State Department isn’t gonna wanna do this”. Then he… That was true, but I knew that Jean Kirkpatrick would wanna do it, and she did. We voted for it.

And the next thing, within a few months, we were all in Vienna negotiating a new treaty, which is what we needed to put law in place because as soon as we hammered em in the United States, we knew that the chemicals would flood in from Europe just like methaquolone.




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[*] posted on 11-12-2018 at 15:39


Long time lurker, first time poster.

For what it's worth, KMnO4 is legal to buy and own for individuals in Sweden (may be different in other EU countries).

If I have understood the EU directives regarding drug precursor you only need a permit to sell the class II chemicals, not to buy and keep them for personal use. The class I stuff requires a permit in all cases though.

If you really want a straight answer you should probably just ask the agency that oversees trade with chemicals in your locale.
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