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Author: Subject: Home Chemistry and parents/friends/other people - the dangers of stupidity
Quantum
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Home Chemistry and parents/friends/other people - the dangers of stupidity

I was inspired to make this post because I caught my sister picking up my DMSO bottle - by the neck with only her fingertips! She was holding it like someone would hold a dead animal. I had just unwrapped the bottle and had it on the floor and was coming back from my garage to get it.

So how do you keep idiots from handling your chemicals and glassware? Normally you just warn them of the dangers when they don't know what they are doing but this does not always work if they refuse to listen...

What if, what is isn\'t true?
innervision
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Mood: eh.

I'd stick with telling them that whatever they do with your reagents/equipment; you'll do to them. Theoretically it should work like a charm... realistically though, I don't know. Give it a shot.
BromicAcid
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DMSO with bare hands, your problem would have been solved if you had some DMSO still on the neck of the bottle. I mean, if you get that industrial grade DMSO on your hands you get the rankest taste in your mouth and things start to smell funny, that should be deterant enough for anyone, like putting cyanne pepper on a couch so a dog doesn't chew on it. Though rampid chemophobia could set in and lead to the loss of your lab or chemicals as people in your household begin to fear you more and more. It is afterall a thin line we walk.

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The_Davster
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People used to pick up my stuff and look at it, then I told the people who were prone to do that that I had made nitroglycerin.
It's been a long while since I worked with HEs, and they know that, but the idea that what they are picking up could be explosive is enough to keep them from messing with it.

sparkgap
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I merely tell people that unless they wear gloves and a mask, they'd become very sick from handling my stuff.

...but then again, my folks are slightly more intelligent than the majority...

sparky (^_^)

"What's UTFSE? I keep hearing about it, but I can't be arsed to search for the answer..."
Swany
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Since it is winter, and subsequently the lab is well below zero in both farenheit and celcieus, this forces me to use the kitchen some for my projects, and you will find white powders drying on filter papers in various warm spots in the house as well. People basically leave my stuff alone.

To deter friends, I tell them everything is extremely explosive, usually showing them some organic peroxide or nitric acid ester on cement, and letting them hit it. I imagine they never knew that 1/10th of a gram could be so loud...

NERV
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Normally my family is smart enough not to touch my lab I have made it extremely clear to them on many occasions that my things are fairly dangerous. Plus I keep all of my equipment and chemicals locked in my room with a heavy padlock so that there are no slip ups.

Although there was the one time that my mom through a bottle with around 80ml of bromine that I had stored in the freezer into the trash wile I was away .

Vir sapit qui pauca loquitur.
DeAdFX
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I usually tell my parents what I am doing. Even if it is burning a small pyrotechnic mixture that I have done a trillion times. They were into science back in their days so they understand the dangers/excitement of chemistry

sorry about the double post I was going to start a new paragraph but had the submit button selected instead haha.

I personally think that using fear as a way to ward of people is boarderline k3wlish. These days people have no mind of their own and they repeat stuff ignorantly like fo shizzle my nizzle and that stupid white trash/chave/wigger/rap/britney spears crap.

[Edited on 24-2-2006 by DeAdFX]
chochu3
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I use to tell my family my chems were very dangerous, then when I got older and had a job I would say it my stuff don't touch unless you are going to buy me some more. My problem was they would always throw away my chemicals. One time I was away and they threw away 500 ml of sassafras oil and 5 liters of concentrated sulfuric acid. When I was younger I believe 11 or so my mother found a sealed tight jar full of mercury and opened it and it fell all over my floor. Luckly that was in the garage. Beside these incidents I never really had any trouble, besides my stuff getting thrown away.

one more thing, I had tried freezing 30 ml of sassafras oil for the safrole and shit it took me 6 months till it finally froze. After coming back home for the summer from Texas A&M I found that it was thrown away. Shit I was pissed and that will probably be the last time I have sassafras oil to since it is restricted to much now.

[Edited on 24-2-2006 by chochu3]

\"Abiding in the midst of ignorance, thinking themselves wise and learned, fools go aimlessly hither and thither, like blind led by the blind.\" - Katha Upanishad
MadHatter
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Chemicals and Gear

Never had a problem with my parents over this. For my shithead brother and any other
person, I made it clear. Break my shit - I break your neck !

From opening of NCIS New Orleans - It goes a BOOM ! BOOM ! BOOM ! MUHAHAHAHAHAHAHA !
joeflsts
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 Quote: Originally posted by MadHatter Never had a problem with my parents over this. For my shithead brother and any other person, I made it clear. Break my shit - I break your neck !

I was fortunate... Dad supported my interest until he died and Mom was a school teacher which gave me access to glassware and chemicals most kids could only dream about. When I think back I'm not sure if I was more interested in my reactions or hiding from Mom in the basement so I could smoke her cigerettes.

Joe
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 Quote: Originally posted by Quantum ...I caught my sister picking up my DMSO bottle - by the neck with only her fingertips...

If only such stupidity was restricted to amateurs...

I know of someone who worked as a lab technician in a school. During a cleanout of its stockrooms, the school needed to dispose of some chemicals, including a large amount of mercury. To do this, they hired – presumably at great expense – a waste disposal "professional". Given UK health and safety regulations, this man probably spent most of his time satisfying the demands of health and safety bureaucrats. Despite this, he thought that the best way to move the bottle of mercury to his van was to pick it up by the neck. Now mercury is so heavy that lead floats on it, and needless to say, the bottle fell apart, spilling its contents throughout the van. He then proceeded to clean up the mercury, by using his bare hands to scoop it into another container.

1f /0u (4|\\| |234d 7|-|15, /0u |234||/ |\\|33d 70 937 0u7 /\\/\\0|23.
IrC
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The best way to go is to tell people everything is radioactive. Nobody touches it then, they don't even want to be in the room. Of course, it helps that just about everything I have IS radioactive and everyone knows it. I still get a laugh when someone was playing with a bottle of oil with a huge chunk of metal in it, and then freaked when they read the U-238 label on it. They put it carefully down and have never been back in the room! So maybe this wont work for others?
UniversalSolvent
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 Quote: Originally posted by IrC The best way to go is to tell people everything is radioactive. Nobody touches it then, they don't even want to be in the room. Of course, it helps that just about everything I have IS radioactive and everyone knows it. I still get a laugh when someone was playing with a bottle of oil with a huge chunk of metal in it, and then freaked when they read the U-238 label on it. They put it carefully down and have never been back in the room! So maybe this wont work for others?
Eh. If you have the money, buy a small chunk of U-238 or two strips of it from United Nuclear. That'll keep people away.
YT2095
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like NERV, I also keep all my Chems safely locked away in a cuboard, and the Lab itself is also lockable from both the inside or outside, being in here is by Invitation only, that includes my wife!
I dont lock up my High Voltage aparatus, but when I leave all is discharged and left in a state of short circuit.
I have a 1 year old daughter, that will one day learn about these things too, I ensure that she will get to that age!

[Edited on 28-6-2006 by YT2095]

\"In a world full of wonders mankind has managed to invent boredom\" - Death
Twinkies don\'t have a shelf life. They have a half-life! -Caine (a friend of mine)
Jdurg
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I have all my chemicals/elements kept inside a cabinet in my bedroom. I typically only keep small amounts around since I have no need for 100 grams of many things. (I do have a great deal of sodium metal, but that's because when I bought it a while back I was in the process of buying the dense heavy metals, so when I saw a few ounces for sale for only about 20 bucks I bought a few ounces. I forgot how NOT dense sodium is).

The particulary dangerous items (like the heavy alkali metals and the halogens) are sealed in glass ampoules. Sadly, financial troubles have forced me to still live at home at 25 years old and trying to find a place to live where I don't have to worry about my collection breaking any rules is tough. My parents have no interest in my collection so they never bother touching it. (Though my father was interested in seeing my uranium and thorium samples).

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NitratedKittens
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Twice, my mum has done this, first picking up a beaker that contained potassium hydroxide solution and narrowly escaping chemical burns , and then picking up a 2 liter bottle of 9% hydrogen peroxide

Basket of kittens for you ........BOOM
Texium
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Luckily for me, I am an only child and my parents are smart and cautious, while also generally not chemophobic. They let me use the garage freely for chemistry, as long as "the chemicals stay away from the car." They take some interest in what I do, and enjoy it when I will occasionally do little demonstrations for them. I would definitely have to be much more careful about storing my chemicals and glassware if I had younger sibling(s) though. I keep my reagents in an unlocked cabinet in the garage, and glassware stored on open shelves in my bathroom and bedroom.

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Magpie
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 Quote: Originally posted by zts16 I keep my reagents in an unlocked cabinet in the garage, and glassware stored on open shelves in my bathroom and bedroom.

Home Depot sells some nice cabinets (Do-Able) that I use for my reagents, glassware, and other equipment. If you have room in your garage they would work well. I have two that are closets taking very little floor space. Then I have one that is wall mounted and one with drawers placed right below it. They are all full now.

The single most important condition for a successful synthesis is good mixing - Nicodem
DutchChemistryBox
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 Quote: Originally posted by Swany Since it is winter, and subsequently the lab is well below zero in both farenheit and celcieus, this forces me to use the kitchen some for my projects, and you will find white powders drying on filter papers in various warm spots in the house as well. People basically leave my stuff alone. To deter friends, I tell them everything is extremely explosive, usually showing them some organic peroxide or nitric acid ester on cement, and letting them hit it. I imagine they never knew that 1/10th of a gram could be so loud...

 Quote: Originally posted by NERV Normally my family is smart enough not to touch my lab I have made it extremely clear to them on many occasions that my things are fairly dangerous. Plus I keep all of my equipment and chemicals locked in my room with a heavy padlock so that there are no slip ups. Although there was the one time that my mom through a bottle with around 80ml of bromine that I had stored in the freezer into the trash wile I was away .

 Quote: Originally posted by Jdurg I have all my chemicals/elements kept inside a cabinet in my bedroom. I typically only keep small amounts around since I have no need for 100 grams of many things. (I do have a great deal of sodium metal, but that's because when I bought it a while back I was in the process of buying the dense heavy metals, so when I saw a few ounces for sale for only about 20 bucks I bought a few ounces. I forgot how NOT dense sodium is). The particulary dangerous items (like the heavy alkali metals and the halogens) are sealed in glass ampoules. Sadly, financial troubles have forced me to still live at home at 25 years old and trying to find a place to live where I don't have to worry about my collection breaking any rules is tough. My parents have no interest in my collection so they never bother touching it. (Though my father was interested in seeing my uranium and thorium samples).

Sorry if I ruin this thread. But you guys are talking about "the dangers of stupidity", and then you post things like this?

Maybe it is me, but in my eyes, this is far from responsible.

macckone
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I am going to second keeping things locked up. I have a 7 year old who absolutely refuses to listen (genetic psychological issues not bad parenting) and a cat. Locked doors and storage containers are all that work.
szuko03
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It just seems like a lot of people on this site are and I hate to word it like this inexperienced and young. Because of the reasons DCB stated. Putting things in places where individuals, parents or anytone for that matter, can touch or endanger themselves is extremely unwise. Even just drying things around the house. And I know you can say that "its not that bad" whatever but I am literally buying a bolt down safe for a garage with a lock in it even though I'm almost 30 and only live with my 60+ old parents who fully understand my passion for chemistry. But my point is and its what I told my mother, if I dont take all of these "ridiculous" precautions no one else will. If I want to be the chemist I am I assume all responsibility for safety which means going above and beyond.

If you guys continue to take short cuts and assume everything will be ok, it wont be. And I am not trying to be insulting but I think everyone is guilty of not realizing the real dangers when they are young. Never do chemistry in your bed room, never store chemicals in your bed room or do chemistry without a fume hood and a well vented area NOT A RESIDENCE. Just ask anyone whose ever had a lead contamination or a runaway reaction that created Nitric Oxide or some other poisonous gas, it is not something you want to sleep with or expose your family to.

I would say do not start building a lab until you have informed your parents. Keep a log of all the chemicals in your locked area, and yes lock them up thats what professionals would do. And give all the information to the owners of the residence if its your parents do them the favor of telling them of what you are keeping in THEIR house. Just because they are kind enough to let you run the risks of doing chemistry doesnt mean you act like you own the house. I am surprised at some of the risks you guys take as far as keeping stuff out in the open.

Chemistry is a natural drive, not an interest.
Loptr
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I imagine the younger ones are somewhat limited by the resources available to them. Also, when you are young, you to tend to be more optimistic. You don't necessarily think what would happen if what I am attempting to do doesn't go according to plan.

What happens if this catches fire and a family member isn't able to get out in time...

[Edited on 20-4-2015 by Loptr]
szuko03
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That is true I think we are all "invincible" when we are young its only when we get a little older and mature and out live our friends even though we are only 24 is about when you realize how fragile life is. Also there are many many fates worse then death and unfortunately those are more likely. I like to say its surprisingly hard to kill a human they live past getting shot in the face 10 times etc but an 18 year olds arm can be blasted off and they dont grow back.

My only point is someday you will learn, you just gotta hope its an easy thing to learn. Nitrated kittens I certainly hope you learned to not keep your stuff where your mom could accidentally blind herself. I dont know what I would do if my passion actually hurt a loved one I probably couldnt live with myself. It would create some huge identity crisis especially if it was a family member or my fiancee after all how can one call himself a chemist if he created a hazardous situation with his chemicals.

I know we are all young hindered by what we can get and a lack of true experience. I guess that is one of the bad things of the internet I had to wait until I could get a credit card before ordering we had one computer my parents kept me on a short leash it was hard putting gasoline in a can and lighting it on fire let alone ordering chemicals from the internet in strengths that my parents could hurt themselves. It is unfortunate that we can forgive childhood indiscretions as just that the universe however isnt forgiving.

Chemistry is a natural drive, not an interest.
macckone
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One other piece of advise is to keep MSDS sheets and if someone starts trying to mess with something have them read the MSDS sheet. Cats won't read it but at least it gives them something to shred in another room if they accidentally get into the lab area.
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 Sciencemadness Discussion Board » Non-chemistry » Legal and Societal Issues » Home Chemistry and parents/friends/other people - the dangers of stupidity Select A Forum Fundamentals   » Chemistry in General   » Organic Chemistry   » Reagents and Apparatus Acquisition   » Beginnings   » Responsible Practices   » Miscellaneous   » The Wiki Special topics   » Technochemistry   » Energetic Materials   » Biochemistry   » Radiochemistry   » Computational Models and Techniques   » Prepublication Non-chemistry   » Forum Matters   » Legal and Societal Issues