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Author: Subject: Best and worst smelling chemicals?
Sedit
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[*] posted on 5-6-2009 at 22:47


SO2 is the worst thing. Maybe not the smell so much but its effects. I just recently( about 1 month now) opened and smelled a flask that I did not know had SO2 in it from decomposing H2SO4 and some organics... I will A: never make that mistake again.. and B: possibly never breath right again.

I have felt like I have fluid in my lungs since that time and honestly its scaring the hell out of me. My lungs feel... bare... If that makes sence. I hate the smell and I hate the effects even more. The work chemicals I had to deal with are a few chlorinated aromatics. the smelled like marsh gas and even going near the work are days later you would come out smelling like mildew and mold.





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hissingnoise
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[*] posted on 6-6-2009 at 02:44


Sedit, if you didn't tell your doctor about this when it happened, you should do so now. . .
While a one-off inhalation shouldn't have longlasting effects, you may have had an allergic reaction of some kind.
But get it checked out, anyway. . .
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hissingnoise
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[*] posted on 7-6-2009 at 13:47


I've found over the last good few years I've come to really dislike strong aftershave and similar scents from other men. . .
I sport a beard, myself, and only trim it when I notice straggliness (I don't use deodorants).
I have this (old?) fuddy-duddy idea that women should "smell nice" and men not at all.
And I abhor the stench of the cocktail of ordinary deodorants that everyone seems to reek of. . .
I don't consider myself homophobic, but I feel uneasy when men are more highly "scented" than women.
It's got the point where a (sexy) scent of a woman is completely swamped in the roiling ocean of cheap stinks.
Inhaling all this stuff can't possibly be healthy, surely?
And of course effeminate men (whose numbers seem to be on the increase) are always the worst offenders. . .
I suspect, though, I may be in a minority of one but then, so be it!
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[*] posted on 8-6-2009 at 12:08


In the past few days i had the "pleasure" of working with few lipophilic compounds found in garlic,...diallyl sulfide, diallyl disulfide,methyldiallyl sulfide... when just one empty 20ul pipette tip was left in the room for 15 minutes, there were probably only minute quantites of the substance in the tip yet it had a very strong smell...
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[*] posted on 8-6-2009 at 16:18


Bromine! I love the chemistry but I HATE the smell and the effects! Chlorine is "sharper"if that makes sense but bromine more intense, especially in the nasal cavity. I managed to make about 25ml of liquid bromine. I kept everything below 5 Celsius during the chlorination of saturated sodium bromide solution. I did it ouside and only had a little cough here and there. No worries. Then, I found my blackish liquid prize and decided to start washing the NaCl cake crumbs off it. Things got nasty in a hurry and I ended up dropping the whole mess in 5 gallons of water ad dumping a half pound of sodium thiosulfate in the water and letting it sit overnight. I coughed and had a stuffy nose for 24 hours. The next morning, I had a sulfur milk and the HDPE bucket had a yellow staind where the bromine sat and pieces of shredded plastic floatign around. I looked at it and said ,"Imagine what bromine would do to my esophagus!"

Today, I was shopping for gas masks!:P I guess bromine is not safe even when cold. If it is then it takes no time to get the vapor pressure to dangerous levels.




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[*] posted on 8-6-2009 at 16:35


You should chill your bromine, you did this right. What also helps in trying to minimize release opportunities. Use containers with an as narrow neck as possible, cover all containers with watch glasses, and use pipettes to transfer.

Before I had a homemade fume hood, I always made my bromine inside, next to the door with a blower blowing the air out of the door, as I can´t do these things outside, because neighbours will see it, and seeing red fumes will probably make them very scared.

The blower did pretty well, but still I smelled the stuff all the time and once , after the experiment, I had irritation in my nose and SLIGHT pain in my lung when I breathed in deeply. But I knew by theory I had not been exposed to more than 10ppm (very irritating concentration) for half an hour, so no serious results were possible (I read a lot of toxicology reports on bromine).
Nitrogen dioxide has also given me a SLIGHT pain once. This scared me more, but I was fine.

Yes, these things happen sometimes when you're young and unexperirienced. However, I am much more safe now, and a fume hood does wonders. I have hardly smelled bromine or chlorine since I have the hood, and if I do it is very faint and it is because I don't use it properly (lot of equipment in hood, or disturbing airflow in another way), and I use them quite frequently.

I obxserved something amazing. I was distilling bromine and removed the reciever flask after distillation. There was still dark red vapour in the condenser and allonge, wich only diffuses out very slowly. Until you remove the thermometer! At once ALL bromine drops out of the allonge, as it is heavier than. I had a large red cloud running over my work bench. :D

Hexamine is fishy, but not too bad! Benzene smells good. I want to smell aniline, but I am quite afraid of this stuff. Is it a strong odour?
I have once smelled garlic when experimenting with white P. This scared the shit out of me. It could have been either PH3, P4 or P2O3. I hope it was not the second. Garlic is generally a bad sign, toxic P-compounds or As-compounds. A garlic odour in the lab instantly gives me a sense of fear.

[Edited on 9-6-2009 by Jor]
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[*] posted on 8-6-2009 at 17:19


Chloric1, instead of buying a gas mask, why don't you build a simple hood? It doesn't have to be so excellent as some of those built by forum members who are much better engineers than I am. A simple wood box with clear plastic doors on the front, and a blower and exhaust duct on the back will do wonders. My hood is not at all elaborate, but I can make Br2 and Cl2 in it without smelling even a hint of that wonderful odor. The main thing is that the blower moves lots of air.

Jor, to me aniline doesn't have nearly as bad a smell of most amines. It's not that bad to work with with decent ventilation. With reasonable precautions I've never experienced any bad effects from aniline, not that it's not toxic. But it's not up there with phosgene or HCN by any means. I suspect skin contact is probably the real danger, do avoid that at all costs.

I think gaseous NH3 is the worst in terms of taking your breath away.
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chloric1
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[*] posted on 8-6-2009 at 18:18


I have thought about the fume hood. But I am limited on storage space and I do virtually all chemistry outside. I have a privacy fence so i don't worry about neighbors. One neighbor I have only comes once a week or two to pick up his mail! I almost never see him.;)

The gas mask is nly $38 and I can can build the hood but it would probably cost the same or more. I am looking for portability here. Like I said before the problems did not occur until washing. I will try the narrow neck flasks as well. This website is really fun to read. He used ice and salt and actually froze the bromine! I might try this. I will have some H2SO4 in the solution so only the bromine freezes. Bromine isolation by chlorine gas is best done by low pH anyways.

Just as an aside when the bromine got hot and heavyI couldn't even hardly smell the chlorine. I don't know why bromine is so nasty if it less reactive than chlorine. It must be a concentration thing. But the bromine ripped my bucket a new one big time. Chlorine tends to only harden and brittle plastics.

I love the smell of chlorine dioxide.

[Edited on 6/9/2009 by chloric1]

[Edited on 6/9/2009 by chloric1]




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[*] posted on 8-6-2009 at 18:41


I once had a solution evolving stibine. Don't ask because I still don't know why it was happening. There was a weak rather bad odor that it took me maybe 20 minutes to realize might be something dangerous. The walls of the container were getting splotchy with black material above a clear solution. I spent the night wondering if I was going to die because it has similar toxicity to arsine, which is to say, tremendous.



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[*] posted on 9-6-2009 at 08:59


I have made some stibine once (2 months ago), and decomposed it with heat giving very fine antimony as a smoke :). Covering the erlenmeyer with a watch glass and leaving overnight settled down the antimony as a nice powder :D
And yes it is very toxic, but less so than arsine!
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[*] posted on 9-6-2009 at 09:52


Jor, how did you make stibine? Did you do that in your home lab? I never tried to make stibine, not arsine, I'm too afraid of them. Phosphine I know and I have made that a few times. It also is toxic, but it does not have the serious cumulative effects of the other 2. The smell of phosphine is not too bad to me, but of course it is not pleasant.



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[*] posted on 9-6-2009 at 11:03


You have a point about the cumulative effects, but phosphine is just as toxic as stibine acutely! And antimony isn't that bad, arsenic is however.

Dissolve antimony trioxide in concentrated hydrochloric acid and add zinc. This gave a small amount of stibine, ginving grey smoke when heated.

For these kind of things I turn the fume hood on a higher speed, and I work with great care including gloves. My fume hood really does a good job. Woelen I really recommend that you turn your small kitchen exhaust into small fume hood by making it walled from 3 sides (with glass or wood) and covering the upper half of the front opening with plexiglas. This will make your work with certain gasses much more comfortable, if it performs good. It would be ideal to have a small sash but this may be difficult to make.

Remember that I always do these things really small scale. A small amount of stibine (few tens of mg at most) is not more dangerous than generating large amounts of nitrogen dioxide by dissolving a metal in HNO3, if done with good ventilation! :) In the worst case maybe a mg will escape from the fume hood and this dilutes, so I maybe inhale micrograms at most.


However, arsine should be avoided as the cumulative effects is much nastier than for antimony.
IIRC the LD50 for SbH3 is 20ppm for 1 hour, same for phosphine and arsine (they all have the same mechanism of toxicity AFAIK, so 1 mol PH3 is as bad as 1 mol AsH3 or SbH3 acutely). Very nasty, a few times more toxic than HCN.
However, I was much more uncomfortable when I made some CrCl3 from CCl4, as phosgene was formed : LD50 : 5ppm/1hr. This was quite scary and I had to really watch out to maintain a good air flow and don't influence it by moving in front of the sash and such. Not something I'd like to do again.

http://74.125.77.132/search?q=cache:h9MQViit34cJ:www.unidocs.org/hazmat/gases/un-015.pdf+toxic+gasses+wiki+stibine+20ppm&cd=2&hl=nl&ct=cln k&gl=nl

So small scale is the key to safety. Remember that I avoid working with toxic gasses in the first place, but sometimes I am interested in a reaction and I perform it.
Working in a fume hood is much more safe than outside as a fume hood reduces an exposure to an absolute minimum, as all contaminated air is drawn away from the user, even if it is not a proffessional hood. Working outside is fine for Br2, Cl2, NO2, H2S and HCN (small amounts), but the hydrides (H2Se, AsH3, etc) and phosgene are too dangerous. Before I had a fume hood, I couldn't make things like this at all, not the smallest amount, and now I can but only very small amounts.

Ofcourse these are just my opinion. What do you think?

[Edited on 9-6-2009 by Jor]
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[*] posted on 9-6-2009 at 14:14


I think one advantage of all these disgusting smells is that when someone 'passes wind' and everyone around you is making disgusted faces you can say 'oh, it's just nothing on the smell of SO2' / whatever stinky compound happens to be on your mind that that moment.
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[*] posted on 9-6-2009 at 15:44


Jor you are right. I feel comfortable working with halogens, SO2,NO2,and HCl outside. Hydrogen sulfide might be different though. Most common gas mask do not list that gas as one that is protected from. I would probably insist on a fume hood for this. I would build it. This is the only gas that I feel is worth working with that is REALLY deadly. I do not even consider arsine,phosphine, or stibnine. If I ever get into a postion of making white phosphorus then I will have to deal with phosphine. Especially if I am going to make sodium or barium hypophosphite.

I would like it if someone would show me pictures of there fumehoods for future design considerations. I want to make something unique for my needs and skill level but looking at several different models will feed my mind. It is better if you U2U me instead of clogging up this thread with a bunch of photos.




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[*] posted on 9-6-2009 at 21:13


A previous poster pointed out that isonitriles generally have revolting smells.

They are made by warming a volatile amine with chloroform in alcoholic KOH. The procedure is even used as a confirmatory qualitative test for amines in labs ... so if you are given a volatile amine then you have a legitamate, if unpopular, reason to make a stink.

But I was wondering how nasty-smelling the isonitriles of cadaverine and putrescene would be. Anyone want to make some and let us know?
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[*] posted on 11-6-2009 at 22:05


Hey, see this blogpost
http://pipeline.corante.com/archives/2009/06/11/things_i_won...

Apparently thioacetone is waay nastier than you average thiol. It seems to be made from the thioketal. Anyone got a synthesis?

Edit... apparently by pyrolyzing trithioacetone.

[Edited on 12-6-2009 by Paddywhacker]
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[*] posted on 11-6-2009 at 22:36


No kidding, thioacetone sounds amazing. It seems like 100ml of it in the right place could make it on the news. "The entire city..."



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[*] posted on 12-6-2009 at 04:35


'So there you have it - just install a fireplace next to your hood (what every lab needs, for sure) and remember that, in a thioacetone situation, fogging the area with brown nitrogen oxide fumes will actually improve the air.'

Ha!
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[*] posted on 12-6-2009 at 12:03


In the paper, they state: according to our perceptions, the intensity of the odor of this substance exceeds everything that is known of strong-smelling materials. The same will also make itself unpleasantly aware not only inside the laboratory, but also outside to far distances. He who has made his own experiences in this aspect, will easily be inclined to label the odors of materials like ethyl mercaptan, ethylene mercaptan or easily volatile sulfides, in comparison to sulfurated acetone, as substances of weak odor.

In one instance of distillation involving 100g acetone, hydrochloric acid and hydrogen sulfide which was distilled with steam under careful cooling, the odor spread in short time to distances as far away as 3/4 kilometers into the far parts of the city. If a stench can travel that far to the human nose and not dissipate, it's got to be pretty rank. According to them, even the king of rank.

Attachment: Ber. 22, 2592.pdf (562kB)
This file has been downloaded 602 times

[Edited on 12-6-2009 by Formatik]
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[*] posted on 12-6-2009 at 12:37


When are these sulfurated ketones formed? Good thing to know so I can avoid them at all cost. I really don't want to make such a thing by accident.

Yes by HCl/H2S/acetone, but any other reactions as well?

[Edited on 12-6-2009 by Jor]
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[*] posted on 12-6-2009 at 16:06


I dunno, haven't seen it described elsewhere. Just don't lead H2S into acetone and conc. HCl and try to distill it as they did, you can read the paper and see this lead to a storm of complaints from surrounding streets so they said they gave up on trying to isolate it. Extremely small amounts will contaminate millions of cubic centimeters of air according to them. Despite the stench and complaints, they said they never experienced ill health effects after dealing with it on several occasions (same thing can't be said for H2S, for which they must have taken strong precautions with). I wonder if O3 could be used for decontamination.
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[*] posted on 12-6-2009 at 17:26


I've had the pleasure over the past year of being a production chemist which allows me to work with a wide array of compounds, nearly every one of them using phosgene during the preparation. The worst thing I have had the pleasure of working with are the isonitriles. In Ugi's monograph on the subject he mentions that some chemists had to abandon their research on isonitriles due to the odor and complains from the neighbors. The odor lingers and sticks with you, stays in the back of your throat, you can taste it and it gets all over everything even with meticulous cleaning practices. The cure? Drinking orange juice supposedly helps but I am never lucky enough to have it on hand.



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[*] posted on 23-6-2009 at 00:02


Favorite? There isn't much that beats a big snoot full of Heliotropin. It just makes you feel good! Intoxicating it is.

Sometimes you catch a mild whiff of it in better vanilla ice creams, but for the most part, unless you make yourself a little bit, it's a hard odor to sniff these days.

So, who has smelled Myristicin Aldehyde? 3,4- methylenedioxy-5-methoxy-benzaldehyde. Can anyone present report on the matter? Is it dreamy?



[Edited on 23-6-2009 by zed]
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biggrin.gif posted on 11-7-2009 at 10:37


Good ones: Vanillin, sulfur dioxide, Menthol, Methyl salicylate, small concentrations of Cl2 and derivatives.. (you know, that bathhouse smell) gasoline, and iron.
Burning wood can be pretty nice too, depending on the wood.. No idea what exact chemicals (or mix thereof) that make up the smell though..

Worst:
Butyric acid.. Worst smelled so far atleast.

Quote: Originally posted by Paddywhacker  
A They are made by warming a volatile amine with chloroform in alcoholic KOH. The procedure is even used as a confirmatory qualitative test for amines in labs ... so if you are given a volatile amine then you have a legitamate, if unpopular, reason to make a stink.


I'd say that many volatile amines stink more than enough on their own..

[Edited on 11-7-2009 by Ketone]

[Edited on 11-7-2009 by Ketone]
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[*] posted on 12-7-2009 at 00:56


Quote: Originally posted by zed  
So, who has smelled Myristicin Aldehyde? 3,4- methylenedioxy-5-methoxy-benzaldehyde. Can anyone present report on the matter? Is it dreamy?

My 5 g batch smells nice. I'd describe it as fruity? This comes as quite a surprise, since I seem to remember it not smelling at all when I made it a few years ago. Anyway, I think it would do fine in some ice cream. ;)
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