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Author: Subject: Home lab + Sulfur
undead_alchemist
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[*] posted on 5-8-2009 at 23:39
Home lab + Sulfur


Was working on a project for a customer at home.
Had a reaction running with sulfur. the cooling could not keep up with it, so it ended up fuming. Problem was that the sink from the sulfur made it to the next unit over. They thought it was a gas leak.

They called it in. The Fire Dept. showed up, and confirmed it was not a gas leak, but sulfur.
Ended up having to show one of the firemen who was on hazmat around, and he made a few notes, and could see that things were stored right. but they still needed to report it in.

So I will know in a few days what will happen.
For now I will just clean up a bit. make sure all labels are up to date, and put way all the nice and clean glassware.

First lesson, never use a large amount of sulfur in a home lab, and two, get lager condensers and scrubbers.
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[*] posted on 6-8-2009 at 01:43


I'm sure this gives you a very disturbing feeling. I wish you the best of luck, and wish I could give you some advice.
What reaction were you doing with sulfur to begin with?




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[*] posted on 6-8-2009 at 06:57


Yes, probably the only times one can safely release sulfur smells are when a lot of fireworks are being used. Ie, like the 4th of July and New Year's Eve in the US.

If you can't wait for those times, a good wind might suffice.

I, too, hope all turns out well for you.




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[*] posted on 6-8-2009 at 11:21


Fire Inspector was just here.
Was given a list of things that need to be done to get back up to code.
Some of witch are:
Reduce flammable liquids by half.
Increase aisle size to at least 1M

They took photos of the main chemicals and how they were stored.
They also said that I need certified flammables cabinet.
All the other chemicals they did not really have a problem with, as they were under the limits allowed.

There will be a followup inspection in a few weeks
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kclo4
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[*] posted on 6-8-2009 at 12:17


Interesting, seems to have gone pretty well then, right?
I find that interesting they make you get a certified flammables cabinet, I doubt they'd worry about that for people who often use solvents for paint, etc.




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Jor
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[*] posted on 6-8-2009 at 12:58


Very nice to see that a home lab has been inspected by someone of the government and has not been raided!

Can you tell me the amount of flammables you have?
I would just buy such a cabinet, it is great that if you do you actually are accepted as a legal lab by authorities. Now that you have come this far, make sure you also properly manage waste.

Do you have any very nasty or politically sensitive chemicals, like arsenic, mercury and cadmium compounds, and things like CCl4, benzene, CWC list 3 chemicals, cyanides? If yes, how did they respond to these?

If you were treated like this, I might give it a go one time and get someone of the fire dept here to inspect everything. I have a hood, I have flammables cabinet, I do collect waste. BUT I do have mercury compounds, arsenic compounds, benzene, CCl4 and a little KCN, and this might raise a red flag.
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[*] posted on 6-8-2009 at 13:42


I got a phone call back not too long ago,
The head fire inspector said that to continue to do any work with chemicals. then it would fall under the chemical laboratory regulations of the fire code.

So unless the space is brought up to code, the most that can be done at the moment is very basic.
But things can still be fully stored. just not used. I will have to see what can be figured out.
I have been working on getting the lab out of the house anyways.

Will post a copy of the fire code that I just got.

Have at the moment more then 30L of Class 1 flammables.
They did not seem to say much about the benzene, just took a photo of it.
They even took a photo of the bottle of caffeine that I have.
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[*] posted on 6-8-2009 at 13:43
Lab fire code




Attachment: Scan001.PDF (150kB)
This file has been downloaded 688 times
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[*] posted on 6-8-2009 at 14:00


Quote: Originally posted by undead_alchemist  
Have at the moment more then 30L of Class 1 flammables.
The principle here is that you store "day use" quantities of flammables in the lab and bulk liquids outside of it. That's really all there is to it. You don't have to rid yourself of the flammable liquids, just store them differently. You may want to ask them what the rules are for bulk storage of flammables.
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[*] posted on 6-8-2009 at 16:37


Quote: Originally posted by undead_alchemist  

They even took a photo of the bottle of caffeine that I have.


Retain counsel. Before the RMCP visits.
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[*] posted on 7-8-2009 at 10:09


Wow,gotta love Canada.In Australia you'd already be in lockup.Any home laboratory equipment or chemicals is considered automatic proof that you are or intend to manufacture illicit drugs.



Chemistry- The journey from the end of physics to the beginning of life.(starman)
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[*] posted on 7-8-2009 at 22:51


Quote: Originally posted by entropy51  
Quote: Originally posted by undead_alchemist  

They even took a photo of the bottle of caffeine that I have.


Retain counsel. Before the RMCP visits.


I have 3 lawyers in the family as it is.
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[*] posted on 7-8-2009 at 22:53


As for the smell that set off this problem.
I have worked it out that a pack or two of novelty stink bombs would have been worse.
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[*] posted on 9-10-2009 at 12:52


UPDATE!


Fire Code inspection and electrical code inspection both passed now.
No changes other then removal of the flammable liquids.
Electrical cost an extra $141 for the permit and for an electrician to sign off on the work.

No other problems. No hazmat or police.
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[*] posted on 9-10-2009 at 14:29


Quote: Originally posted by undead_alchemist  
UPDATE!
No other problems. No hazmat or police.
That does it. I'm moving to Canada.

Glad to hear it!
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[*] posted on 9-10-2009 at 15:29


No problems yet, you mean. The next time somebody boils some cabbage or has a hard boiled egg with a few beers you will ALWAYS be the guy they think of. ;)
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[*] posted on 22-12-2010 at 16:58


Figure that I would post an update to this from last year.

A year a gone by and still no problems.

Also a partial list of the flammables that I had when the inspector was there.

1L Benzene
16L Ether
16L Acetone
12L Pyridine
8L Toluene
4L Methanol
4L Styrene
2.5L GAA (Now 20L for a project)

Nothing was said about some of the metals or other chemicals.
Not all are bad..
20lbs of magnesium turnings
1lb sodium
Nitric acid
40Kg Sodium Chlorite
14Kg of Sodium Sulfate
20Kg Sulfur
20Kg Sodium Hydroxide

Also I will note. All chemicals were ether from work or ordered through them.

PS. Ether works great for removing duct tape residue.
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[*] posted on 24-12-2010 at 02:47


I am sorry, but these are not amateur chemist amounts anymore in my opinion. I don't understand that the Fire Department just let you alone, I can imagine they don't like this at all.
Why do need these ridicilous amounts?
I fully support home chemistry, but too be honest this is crazy unless you live alone on the country side.
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[*] posted on 24-12-2010 at 10:06


Quote: Originally posted by Jor  
I am sorry, but these are not amateur chemist amounts anymore in my opinion. I don't understand that the Fire Department just let you alone, I can imagine they don't like this at all.
Why do need these ridicilous amounts?
I fully support home chemistry, but too be honest this is crazy unless you live alone on the country side.


I did say that was the amounts then.
As to why so much. things cost less in bulk.
Most moved back to storage at work.
Also where I live. The property is zoned commercial.
I also had shown the Fire Dept. my papers from work and my TDG/Hazmat certification. There was no problems after that.

Also the only stated problems they had were that I was over the 30L total amount without a flammables cabinet.
Other then that then having to move some boxes out of the way from the aisles to make them 1M, they had no problems with the storage of the rest.
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[*] posted on 24-12-2010 at 10:44


Quote: Originally posted by undead_alchemist  


Also where I live. The property is zoned commercial.
I also had shown the Fire Dept. my papers from work and my TDG/Hazmat certification. There was no problems after that.


That says it all. You weren't viewed as a home chemist but as a commercial chemist who just didn't quite meet all the regulations. So, the authorities in Canada may not be so much more enlightened than anywhere else.




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[*] posted on 28-12-2010 at 17:57


Quote:

So, the authorities in Canada may not be so much more enlightened than anywhere else.

Authorities, by their very nature, aren't usually considered "enlightened." It's the rest of our poulation that is more enlightened: http://www.macleans.ca/article.jsp?content=n5507945

Authorities, politicians, religions, oil companies. Is it even possible to be enlightened when your pockets are overflowing with cash?
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