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DoctorOfPhilosophy
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[*] posted on 7-7-2012 at 22:15
Why you can't buy sulfuric acid


This infuriates me. Here is the summery of the article:

"A woman was holding a child as she opened a cabinet to find some cleaning supplies. A bottle of sulfuric acid drain opener fell from the cabinet and spilled on both of them."

This is the link (GRAPHIC): Sulfuric Acid Drain Opener

My humble opinion is that thanks to every chemical being called "extremely dangerous", some ignoramus ignored the warning on the sulfuric acid drain cleaner and left the bottle above shoulder level, uncapped. Obvious bad idea - I don't even store acid above knee level, forget about putting it up in a kitchen cupboard.
Anyway now with Dr. Fox petitioning the Consumer Product Safety Commission to stop the sale of OTC H2SO4, it's gonna be that much harder for some of you guys to get it. I switched to commercial sources a while ago, but I can relate to the frustration of not being able to find the stuff.

For those who didn't follow the link, the child looks like he'll need LOTS of skin grafting before he looks like anything resembling healthy. :mad:
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weiming1998
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[*] posted on 8-7-2012 at 00:26


Quote: Originally posted by DoctorOfPhilosophy  
This infuriates me. Here is the summery of the article:

"A woman was holding a child as she opened a cabinet to find some cleaning supplies. A bottle of sulfuric acid drain opener fell from the cabinet and spilled on both of them."

This is the link (GRAPHIC): Sulfuric Acid Drain Opener

My humble opinion is that thanks to every chemical being called "extremely dangerous", some ignoramus ignored the warning on the sulfuric acid drain cleaner and left the bottle above shoulder level, uncapped. Obvious bad idea - I don't even store acid above knee level, forget about putting it up in a kitchen cupboard.
Anyway now with Dr. Fox petitioning the Consumer Product Safety Commission to stop the sale of OTC H2SO4, it's gonna be that much harder for some of you guys to get it. I switched to commercial sources a while ago, but I can relate to the frustration of not being able to find the stuff.

For those who didn't follow the link, the child looks like he'll need LOTS of skin grafting before he looks like anything resembling healthy. :mad:


That, seriously, is idiotic. Putting the acid up so high is stupid enough, but actually not capping it properly as well makes it a billion times worse. And now they want to ban H2SO4 drain cleaners to use by professionals only, just because this one stupid parent made an extremely idiotic choice? It is actually horrifying how stupid society has become.

NaOH drain cleaners as concentrated solutions can be just as corrosive as sulfuric acid ones. If that spilled on someone, the outcome is the same. People just fear acids more than bases because they hear it in the media more. The restriction to professionals part is also unsettling, as more and more chemicals are restricted to professionals and normal people have to make do with vinegar+baking soda.

And yes, not being able to find chemicals for experimentation is extremely frustrating, as the government sets laws and bans on more and more "evil chemicals". I can find zero sulfuric acid drain cleaner in Western Australia, which might be that already settling in.
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barley81
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[*] posted on 8-7-2012 at 05:18


The sulfuric acid drain opener gradually eats through its container. Perhaps this is what happened. The bottle may have ruptured or become damaged somehow over time. It may not have been anyone's fault.

Who is willing to write to Dr. Fox to stop his petition? I might do so.
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al93535
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[*] posted on 8-7-2012 at 07:18


I'm sorry to say; the government tries to save us from natural selection, but as obviously evident it needs to happen. Soon enough the human race is going to have a gene pool that promotes foolish, inept, and just a general idiot type of person.

I agree with you, that is infuriating. Instead of fixing the real problem, which is the absolutely ignorant, and stupid person they blame an inanimate object.
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BromicAcid
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[*] posted on 8-7-2012 at 07:19


I find it amusing that if you look at the section of the site containing Consumer Product Safety Commission Documents then you will see the decision of the CPSC was NOT to ban concentrated sulfuric acid in spite of being Mr. Fox's best attempts.



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TheAMchemistry87
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[*] posted on 8-7-2012 at 15:04


Some people dont think the consequences of this. Where i store my Acid or bases is not even high i have to actually bend down/ knee down to reach it
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DoctorOfPhilosophy
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[*] posted on 8-7-2012 at 18:08


Good news is that sodium hydroxide is an industrial dish washing fluid (I know because a friend turned on a commercial dishwasher while I was trying to fix it...) so I doubt they can just ban it as with sulfuric acid drain openers.
Good news is there is no need to stop Doctor Fox from any petitions because he was not only declined, but his language and style was completely inappropriate and unacceptable for such a petition (thanks to BromicAcid for the source). The cover page of his report AND reply featured graphic images of the aftermath of an accident, proving nothing and not giving readers the chance to opt out, even after a company called him out on it; he personally challenged the CPSC to a contest where they pour acid on their skin and he pours base on his; and his points (like limiting the concentration of acid to an arbitrary amount) are completely unsupported by fact.

The industry reply actually said
"Stripped of its significant bombast, demonstrations of inappropriate personal disfigurement and appeals to emotionalism, petitioner's core policy argument is that SADO's [sic] are more dangerous to consumers than ALKDOs."

If I were a millionaire, I'd lobby these guys. If only they understood the proper use of the apostrophe. :P
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hissingnoise
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[*] posted on 9-7-2012 at 05:50


Quote:
If only they understood the proper use of the apostrophe.

We have, it seems, a veritable pandemic of apostrophe abuse going on, these days!
Practically every plural has it gratuitously thrown in, and people who should know better are also guilty of this 'extreme behavior'.
OK, this is tongue-in-cheek, but I find the ubiquity of the error irritating . . .

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[*] posted on 9-7-2012 at 08:14


The good news is you can always make very pure (food grade, even) lye just by heating baking soda in a kiln @ 5-600 for an hour. Washing soda is 1st formed as the bicarbonate looses a CO2, and finally NaO, which will gladely react with some water, giving you lye. You can similarly make sulfuric acid, or even oleum, by pyrolizing alkali hydrogen sulphate to SO3-, and running this into water. Bisulfate is easily available in the pool section of larger big hardware stores. It also is or was the main ingredient in the supermarket product, sani-flush.


The Bisulfate is a double decomposition, 1st to the highly reactive pyrosulfate, and then to S03. Warnings, Sodium Pyrosulphate is reactive with glass even worse than molten lye. It will EAT YOUR GLASS. Also, don't mix with salts of simple aliphatic, carboxylic acids. IE, don't mix your pyrosulphate with calcium proprionate, unless you want deadly fumes of proprionic anhydride wafting up to you.

[Edited on 9-7-2012 by Fennel Ass Ih Tone]
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[*] posted on 9-7-2012 at 11:25


Sodium carbonate doesn't decompose at 500C, and you cannot make sodium oxide this way. However, heating baking soda in the oven is a good way to make pure anhydrous sodium carbonate!

Garage chemist made SO3 from sodium bisulfate with a quartz tube and electric furnace:
http://www.sciencemadness.org/talk/viewthread.php?tid=10217
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neptunium
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[*] posted on 9-7-2012 at 11:38


just like mercurochrome desinfectants, phenol , cyanide rat poison , chlorate stump remover, concentrated hydrogen peroxyde etc ....sulfuric acid in drain cleaner might not completly dissapear just yet but everyone here can see it is getting harder to find ....and one day ,when they dont sale enough to be profitable , we wont find it period.
slowly but surely we are moving into a chemicals free world , happy go lucky where idiots can drink shampoo , hands sanitisers, or draino and survive!
and of course biodegradable!
but will these product perform their intended purposes?




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[*] posted on 9-7-2012 at 13:58


Quote: Originally posted by neptunium  

slowly but surely we are moving into a chemicals free world , happy go lucky where idiots can drink shampoo , hands sanitisers, or draino and survive!
and of course biodegradable!
but will these product perform their intended purposes?


much like phenylephrine versus pseudo-ephedrine, i doubt it. that is exactly why we have these products. they are tried and tested. we know they work. there are plenty of replacement products meant to be a "green" alternative or to answer a safety concern. that's not to say they NEVER get it right, but majority of them fall way short.

besides, there are too many ways to make H2SO4to make it impossible to get.
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[*] posted on 9-7-2012 at 15:00


nope, Na2CO3 gradually decomposes above 500K to CO2 and Na2O. Higher temperatures = faster. It is NOT a very energy efficient way to make it, but it is sure possible with a kiln, baking soda, and water, to make pure LYE.
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[*] posted on 9-7-2012 at 15:20


I have never had much luck using basic drain openers to open plugged drains, where as the H2SO4 containing brands work quite well. Its probably because our water is quite alkaline.


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[*] posted on 9-7-2012 at 18:19


Sad to say, but there are plenty of stupid people who have no clue how to handle chemicals. Sulfuric acid should still be available to the public, but perhaps it should not be marketed as drain cleaner for the ordinary consumer.

Or perhaps the government should offer a quick training course in how to handle chemicals that the common public would have to complete before they could legally buy corrosive chemicals, a sort of "license" similar to a CPR card.

But I absolutely am AGAINST any type of "ban" on any consumer products. There are other things the government can do to incentivise or protect people without putting these products off limits to the people who really want/need them.

[Edited on 10-7-2012 by AndersHoveland]
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[*] posted on 9-7-2012 at 21:03


Quote: Originally posted by AndersHoveland  
Sad to say, but there are plenty of stupid people who have no clue how to handle chemicals. Sulfuric acid should still be available to the public, but perhaps it should not be marketed as drain cleaner for the ordinary consumer.

Or perhaps the government should offer a quick training course in how to handle chemicals that the common public would have to complete before they could legally buy corrosive chemicals, a sort of "license" similar to a CPR card.

But I absolutely am AGAINST any type of "ban" on any consumer products. There are other things the government can do to incentivise or protect people without putting these products off limits to the people who really want/need them.

[Edited on 10-7-2012 by AndersHoveland]


i rather think that education is the key. we have enough government control in our lives and, personally, i wouldn't trust a government sponsored program to teach me to play bingo let alone assume control over yet another aspect of safety regarding the public. they need to give power back to the teachers. let them teach. let them build an interest in the sciences like teachers did a generation ago. the older generations represented here can attest to the fact that once upon a yesteryear, there were less drooling, brain dead, reality t.v. educated morons dumb enough to store and handle dangerous chemicals like it was kool-aid. presently, it is almost taboo to even know how to properly handle such things, let alone have them in your home. your average person today holding a bottle with complicated instructions leaves me with the impression of nipper the gramophone dog cocking his head giving that "WTF?" look.
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[*] posted on 9-7-2012 at 21:11


Quote: Originally posted by Rogeryermaw  
we have enough government control in our lives and, personally, i wouldn't trust a government sponsored program to teach me to play bingo let alone assume control over yet another aspect of safety regarding the public. they need to give power back to the teachers. let them teach. let them build an interest in the sciences like teachers did a generation ago.

I completely agree, but I do think there can be some government regulations that are minimally invassive that can save ignorant people from horrific accidents.

You might also like this thread:
https://www.sciencemadness.org/whisper/viewthread.php?tid=20...
(individuals should have control over what type of products they are allowed to use)

I can understand the need to regulate chlorocarbons in refrigerants because of the whole ozone layer thing though.
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[*] posted on 9-7-2012 at 22:35


i imagine that most here are capable of the skills necessary to manipulate refrigeration equipment but i agree that 1: it can present quite the danger done improperly and 2: if done properly there is little need for handling refrigerant after the fact so fine, regulate the hell out of it. refrigerants(even so called "green" refrigerants)can be damaging to the atmosphere if released in large quantities.

but even my 10 year old nephew knows the safety protocols for handling sulfuric acid. when he chose to do a 4th grade science project about pH(reading pH with red cabbage juice) before he could ever touch a chemical he had to study and be able to tell us about acids, bases, hydroxide ions, hydrogen ions, what pH actually measures and a rundown of safety equipment and how to use it. he now knows where the baking soda is and that it should always be present if sulfuric acid will be used for anything. of course the chemical is dangerous but with the strength of education on his side, he knows how to prevent or reduce injury if he should come in contact with it. these are the simple lessons absent from our schools.
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[*] posted on 10-7-2012 at 06:13


If our govt. becomes so silly as to ban bread & butter reagents, you will probably see robberies from train tank cars. Oh, and if they ban conc. H2SO4, couldn't it be gotten by concentrating battery acid? Or will that have been reformulated to something "equivalent". The intellectual shame with the phenylephrine substitution for pseudo, is that it simply does not work. There is no doubt about it. Phenylephrine does not work for the indications it was intended for. And why oh why worry about a relatively miniscule local meth maker, when this represents at most, a fraction of a percent, in comparison to the Mexi cartels? Why? Because the govt. is in cahoots with them. Of course, whenever there are large sums of cash involved, our govt. wants a piece of the action. Very much like classical Italian mafia, and protection money/extortion schemes. Just makes me sick, knowing the truth. When looking into the crystal ball, IC Loperamide being banned/phased out. Later, I see (under guise of GREEN technology), polystyrene being phased out, in favor of corn based insulators. Also, get your 2-PEA HCL while you can. Once the general public realizes a powerful opioid can be made with it, and little else, that will be banned as well.
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[*] posted on 23-7-2012 at 19:16


For my 9th grade chem class, we had an extensive week long safety course where we had to memorize long lists of safety procedures, etcetc. The MOST dangerous thing we did in that class was probably ONE person putting about 5 drops of conc HCL into a test tube. (teacher failed on that part though, he wouldn't let her wear gloves as it might "eat through the gloves and stick to you" :facepalm:)
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[*] posted on 24-7-2012 at 11:44


I've dipped my hand, albeit perfectly dry, into conc. H2SO4. No corrosion. But I did have a wash bath of carbonate bicarbonate
standing close by. It was a real crowd pleaser. Sometimes I wonder weather I was remiss in performing this experiment on my-self, as my hands sweat relatively easily. But it all worked out in the end, and holding my right hand over the tub of soda (for the drippy drops), I must have waited a good minute before washing.
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[*] posted on 24-7-2012 at 12:01


Quote: Originally posted by Fennel Ass Ih Tone  
I've dipped my hand, albeit perfectly dry, into conc. H2SO4. No corrosion. But I did have a wash bath of carbonate bicarbonate
standing close by. It was a real crowd pleaser. Sometimes I wonder weather I was remiss in performing this experiment on my-self, as my hands sweat relatively easily. But it all worked out in the end, and holding my right hand over the tub of soda (for the drippy drops), I must have waited a good minute before washing.


that's how i taught my nephew. poured 98% over my hand and proceeded to tell him about how bases neutralize acids. then i dumped baking soda on my hand till the fizzing stopped and washed it all away. when he asked why i didn't just wash it off i showed him how H2SO4 can boil water.
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[*] posted on 24-7-2012 at 20:26


Why stop at banning sulphuric acid? Boiling water disfigures many more kids every year than acid does.
Stupid people do stupid things and no amount of nannying will fix that.

[Edited on 25-7-2012 by Twospoons]




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[*] posted on 25-7-2012 at 05:47


I've mentioned here before I once poured a 500ml or so of concentrated HCl - slowly - over my hand... The "why" of it was dumb, a mistake on my part, but the effect - none. The skin didn't even turn red.

I wouldn't want to try that with sulfuric or lye regardless of how dry my hand was. The duration of contact was fairly long. :D
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weiming1998
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[*] posted on 25-7-2012 at 06:17


Quote: Originally posted by Swede  
I've mentioned here before I once poured a 500ml or so of concentrated HCl - slowly - over my hand... The "why" of it was dumb, a mistake on my part, but the effect - none. The skin didn't even turn red.

I wouldn't want to try that with sulfuric or lye regardless of how dry my hand was. The duration of contact was fairly long. :D


Concentrated HCl, even if it was smoking in air, isn't very corrosive to skin at all (in my experience). I have gotten the 30-ish percent stuff from the pool store on my hands accidentally before. I washed it off with water about 30 seconds later. I was scared, but it did nothing at all, it didn't even hurt. Sodium hydroxide solutions, on the other hand, is very corrosive. I was unfortunate enough to get a dilute solution on the tips of my fingers, and it ended with a red mark that hurts for several days. But without water, the solid isn't very corrosive. I had no experience with concentrated H2SO4 (still attempting to get some!), but I guess, from how fast it dehydrates paper and eats through fabric, that getting it on your hands would be very horrible indeed.
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