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Author: Subject: Would this actually work?
Hazard to Self

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[*] posted on 18-11-2005 at 15:32
Would this actually work?

In Spider Robinson's novel Telempath, the protagonist booby-traps a toilet by putting Sani-Flush (sodium bisulphate) in the bowl and bleach in the tank, so that when the toilet is flushed chlorine is released. The intended target has no sense of smell and would not detect the gas, but would enough chlorine actually be released to kill him? It sounds kinda dodgy to me. And if not, would it be more plausible if sodium cyanide or sodium sulphide were used instead of bleach?
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International Hazard

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[*] posted on 18-11-2005 at 15:46

I've read that mixing Sani-Flush and bleach will give chlorine gas, in addition it works in terms of chemistry well, acidifying bleach and all. However, your Sani-Flush would be dissolved in water and the bleach would be added, there would be a lot of water in the system so chlorine generated would dissolve first and not be evoloved, I think hardly any would be evolved as the Sani-Flush in the bowl would be going down the drain as soon as the handle was pulled so really you'd end up with mostly bleach in the bowl with only a little Sani-Flush resulting in little to no chlorine evolution.

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International Hazard

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[*] posted on 18-11-2005 at 18:14

Hm, I doubt you've ever worked with chlorine gas since you've asked this question. I know you don't need a sense of smell to know when it's present what with the HCl forming in your nose, mouth, throat, and burning your eyes. As Bromic observed, the solubility of chlorine at STP is very great and a great deal of it would dissolve in the water (IIRC rough number is ~3000 ppm/L aq. Cl including all species). Anyways, I guarantee the target would vacate that bathroom from the pain of it before he'd succumb to the gas itself.

Hydrogen cyandide or sulfide would be far more plausible as the former can only be detected by a portion of our society while the latter has an anaesthetic effect upon the sense of smelling (high conc. quickly kill your sense of smell and death occurs at 100 ppm IIRC).
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Chris The Great
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[*] posted on 19-11-2005 at 00:48

NaCN in the bowl, HCl in the tank?

I also doubt enough Cl2 would be generated fast enough to kill someone. It would make their life unpleasant however.

Anyone want to try it? ;)
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