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Author: Subject: So called 'professional' labs (and people think home chemistry is dangerous)
The_Davster
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shocked.gif posted on 2-8-2006 at 15:56
So called 'professional' labs (and people think home chemistry is dangerous)


You may remember my thread on that idiot working with uranium, and now, from another place, I bring you all this tasty treat.


That is a 500mL bottle of arsenic trichloride with a bad cap aparently:o This is just on a shelf, not under a hood or anything. You must imagine my surprise when I was going through these shelves, turn around the bottle with the white junk on top, and realize with an 'Oh..Fuck...' what it is. I am assuming the white stuff is arsenic oxide, it is very light and powdery and falls like snow when the bottle is touched or walked by quickly.

People say doing chemistry at home is unsafe, but so far my experiances in so called professional labs, that there is a hell of a lot more danger there.

So share your experiances, that cause you to think 'my lab at home is much safer then this':P

EDIT: In retrospect his should probably have been put in legal and societal issues.

[Edited on 2-8-2006 by rogue chemist]




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BromicAcid
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[*] posted on 2-8-2006 at 16:06


Wow!
Neat!
Behold the poisonous beauty!
I really can't think of an example that would compare to that Rogue Chemist, I think you win.




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IrC
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[*] posted on 2-8-2006 at 16:06


On the bottle, "since 1882".

Is it possible this was one of their first bottles?

I worked in a shop that had years worth of mercury from old broken mercury switches all over the concrete floor. Little beads in every crack and crevice everywhere possible. In the 80's the building was destroyed for the asbestos used in it's construction in the early 1900's, with never a mention of any mercury.

I swear I do not have any drain bamage.

[Edited on 3-8-2006 by IrC]
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The_Davster
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[*] posted on 2-8-2006 at 16:25


It could be around 100 years old max, as that is the age of the university. This picture was taken in the surplus chemical room(a really stinky almost orgasmic room, run by a crazy guy who lets me borrow stuff:P). I have seen stuff labelled as opened as early as 1935(or was it 45?).



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not_important
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[*] posted on 2-8-2006 at 18:02


The label style looks sort of `40s or `50s, maybe even early `60s.

Get some moisture into AsCl3 and you have HCl, plus AsCl3 is fairly corrosive on its own. Could have eaten the cap, if I'm correct on the time range it would likely have been Bakalit with a fiber or maybe PE liner.

Leftovers from resreach on organic arsenic compounds, hot in the `30s and `40s, antibiotics pulled the rug out from under that.
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[*] posted on 2-8-2006 at 18:36


The person-in-charge in an institution may not be competent. Or he may feel that he hasn't the authority to correct a problem. And there is always somebody else to blame if anything goes wrong. So the worker only gets so concerned about a problem, even if it is staring him in the face.

With the home chemist it is just the opposite. There is only one person who is responsible and blameable. It is also his neck and/or his loved ones' necks who will directly suffer from any incompetance with chemicals.

But who do governments, and the sheeple, place their confidence in?....the institutions, of course.




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Darkblade48
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[*] posted on 2-8-2006 at 20:55


Oh, I can't think of anything right now (it's getting late at night, and I've been up since 6:30 am...) but our lab arranges chemicals in alphabetical order and places them on shelves. I'm sure there's a high likelihood that there are two incompatible chemicals placed side by side on the shelves somewhere (can someone say strong oxidizer next to strong reducer?) :P
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The_Davster
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[*] posted on 2-8-2006 at 21:25


Alphabetical is pretty common here as well.
I am so glad this lab job is over in a few weeks, we are going to be getting in something utterly utterly nasty and in bulk which I will not speak of here. If we had proper precautions taken it would be awesome though.

Lab hygene seems horrible here, noone here can remember the lab ever being cleaned in the time they were here, 5 years, and with some of the nasties we use, that dust could still be around. According to one of the post docs, even lab safety in less than first world countries is better, they had a special room to handle uranium and its alloys in back in Ukraine, and here, the fucktard won't even use the fumehood.:mad: Well I did get him to powder its alloys in the fumehood luckily, cutting and weighing is still being done in the general lab, at which point I make a statement by donning gasmask, and leaving for the rest of the day.

Sorry about ranting on the uranium again, he started working with it again recently and it pisses me off.



[Edited on 3-8-2006 by rogue chemist]

[Edited on 3-8-2006 by rogue chemist]




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[*] posted on 2-8-2006 at 21:48


Do you do the same stuff when he works with lead or mercury? Unless it is U235 I think you are making a cow over a toadstool personally....

The AsCl<sub>3</sub> is much scarier then any U - I would love to have that bottle however!

Just slip on my gasmask and gloves with old clothing and rebottle it and then decontaminate myself carefully




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The_Davster
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[*] posted on 2-8-2006 at 21:56


He has not really worked with Hg much, but he works with it mostly in the glovebox, and if not, I make myself scarce. With all the times I leave you would think I would be behind in the research, but I have done almost double what the new grad student has done.

Lead does not form compounds of interest to us to my knowledge.




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[*] posted on 2-8-2006 at 23:36


"Unless it is U235 I think you are making a cow over a toadstool personally...."

I could not disagree more with this. Having a pound or so of DU myself I have learned. Every time you do any cutting or machine work to it the fine particles turn instantly into a nice cloud of radioactive smoke, with particle sizes down to a quarter micron or thereabouts. Small enough to stay swirling around in the air for hours if not days. Breathing this in is a sure ticket to an early demise from some horrible cancer or other malady, not the least of which is total renal failure as this dust could not be more toxic to your kidneys. I think he is very smart to be so careful about the issue. No matter how much we learn it does no good if we are either dead or have so many body parts growing out in weird places we cannot hold our work.
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[*] posted on 4-8-2006 at 11:20


One of the worst things I saw was in a state run urine testing laboratory. Underneath the fume hood was a bottle of diethyl ether which must have been there, unrefrigerated, for about 5 years. They also had a bottle of perchloric acid that had begun to eat through the cap and crystalize over everything. Let's just say that I wasn't too keen to take anything out from under that hood.



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