Sciencemadness Discussion Board

A Call to Action: Removing Hydrogen Peroxide from the Dept. of Homeland Security's List of Scheduled Chemicals.

killswitch - 25-3-2012 at 09:28

Dept. Homeland Security Scheduled Chemicals Appendix A

Specifically, page 17, section 8.

They consider hydrogen peroxide at or in excess of 35% concentration to be of interest, requiring institutions possessing quantities above a threshold amount (in this case about 40 gallons) to submit to registration with the DHS and to periodic security inspections, as well as constructing a report system to inform the DHS of loss or theft of materials.

I believe the intent of these regulations was to help prevent theft of materials in quantities sufficient for truck bombs (which, in my estimation, seem to be the only real way for terrorists to inflict more casualties in one attack than would be possible by employing an assault rifle with an extended stock and illegally modified for automatic fire).

While TATP presents a security concern as an easily synthesized primary that enables the initiation of an explosive charge without a lead-based primer or aluminium flash powder, the idea of a truck bomb using TATP as a main charge is laughable on its face. Assuming the material can be synthesized faster than previous batches sublimate, the fact remains that even if the perpetrators aren't killed by a premature detonation while synthesizing the charge or loading the truck, a simple speed bump, pothole, or particularly sharp turn is all that would be required to prevent them reaching their target. On top of all this, TATP is an inferior explosive due to the entropic nature of its decomposition.

HMTD presents equal difficulties, with the exception of sublimation of the product. This advantage is offset by its incompatibility with metals and additional difficulties in procuring the required materials, rendering an HMTD truck bomb equally unfeasible.

On top of this, reliable syntheses for peroxides in greater than gram quantities simply do not exist for obvious reasons, resulting in either a protracted and tedious manufacture, or risking unpredictable yields from a dangerous and untested procedure.

For the small batch quantities wherein peroxides actually present some degree of utility (though inferior to other methods), the unavailability of over-the-counter 35% or higher H2O2 presents no difficulty. Aqueous solutions of H2O2 can be concentrated to up to 50% by volume via freeze-distillation, utilizing the eutectic properties of H2O2 and H2O. For the small quantities required for an initiator, shoplifting sufficient quantities of 3% H2O2 to produce an improvised detonator would present no obstacle to someone determined enough to build a vehicle-borne IED.

Other than HMTD and TATP, hydrogen peroxide of 50% concentration or less is not an explosive precursor, other than for novelty explosives that are even more difficult and expensive to synthesize in the mass quantities required to serve as a main charge for a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED).

Conclusion
In light of the near-impossibility of constructing a vehicle-borne improved explosive device that utilizes organic peroxides as a main charge, combined with the de facto over-the-counter availability of concentrated hydrogen peroxide due to the ease with which solutions of 50% H2O2 by volume can be produced from lower-grade sources,

It is hereby proposed that that DHS adopt OSHA’s and EPA’s standard approach to listing hydrogen peroxide at a 52% concentration under their Process Safety Management (PSM) regulations and Risk Management Program (RMP), respectively.

Hydrogen peroxide of 50% concentration or less should be removed from the Department of Homeland Security's list of scheduled chemicals.


[Edited on 25-3-2012 by killswitch]

Bot0nist - 25-3-2012 at 09:44

That is very well written killswitch. Good luck in your cause, even though your motivation is the make organic peroxides, which are scary to me. BTW, you can just get a vacuum pump (fridge) and maybe $50-$100 worth of glass and you can crank out as much HT peroxide as you need from the easily acquired concentrations with just a bit of electricity for the pump and a bit of heat. Plus having vacuum and capable glass opens many doors to you in chemistry.

[Edited on 25-3-2012 by Bot0nist]

killswitch - 25-3-2012 at 11:09

Uh, my goal isn't to make organic peroxides easier to make for myself. My goal is to reform an unnecessary and ineffective law. Filing the appropriate reports with the DHS has a significant burden of administrative overhead. This should not be imposed on institutions that use a substance with massive and wide-ranging industrial applications, and which a determined criminal could produce in his own home after a trip to Walgreens.

Hydrogen peroxide is quite possibly the most environmentally-friendly oxidizer in the chemical industry. For those interested in chemistry in general and freedom to experiment in particular, especially those with professional ties, this is a change for the better that should be expedited, purely on a rational basis.

Therefore, any input or support from chemists and scientists is welcome. Of particular interest would be polishing the message of the initial post into a form that can be presented directly to DHS officials and local, state, and federal legislators to state the case for raising the regulated concentration of hydrogen peroxide from 35% to 52%.

[Edited on 25-3-2012 by killswitch]

Pulverulescent - 25-3-2012 at 11:54

Quote:
My goal is to reform an unnecessary and ineffective law.

The law won't be relaxed . . .
Whatever about its effectiveness, the DHS see it as wholly necessary since HMTD and TATP can be used in boosters intended to initiate insensitive explosive compositions!

killswitch - 25-3-2012 at 12:28

Quote: Originally posted by Pulverulescent  
Quote:
My goal is to reform an unnecessary and ineffective law.

The law won't be relaxed . . .
Whatever about its effectiveness, the DHS see it as wholly necessary since HMTD and TATP can be used in boosters intended to initiate insensitive explosive compositions!


Burdensome laws are never overturned by defeatism.

Those who are capable of killing others with explosives would easily procure what they need from 3% peroxide via freeze distillation. The only effect is to place an administrative and financial burden on institutions (including small businesses) that seek to employ more environmentally-friendly oxidizing agents.

I believe that now is the time to start rolling back what was hurriedly laid out in a state of irrational panic over ten years ago. The case for hydrogen peroxide is stronger than for any other listed chemical. If we succeed here, it will send a message to scientists and engineers both professional and hobbyist that we can make headway in loosening the strictures the DHS and DEA have placed on the building blocks of matter that strangle hobbyist chemistry.

Some restrictions, obviously, should still apply, as we don't actually want people making huge bombs unless they're employed in landscaping or mining. The theft of, say, a hundred gallons of nitric acid should obviously be reported to law enforcement. Nor do we want criminals making dangerous drugs that negatively affect society.

But you simply can't paper over nitrogen, oxygen, and chlorine with red tape, any more than you can legislate the value of pi.

And even were the campaign to stall after H2O2, you'd have accomplished something. Something good. Good for science, good for industry, and good for the environment.

[Edited on 25-3-2012 by killswitch]

bbartlog - 25-3-2012 at 14:53

What is the threshold amount? I browsed the linked document and couldn't find it. I bought 15 gallons of 35% peroxide last year (OTC) so (while I agree in principle with you) I'm curious how much of a hassle this particular monitoring represents.

killswitch - 25-3-2012 at 15:21

Quote: Originally posted by bbartlog  
What is the threshold amount? I browsed the linked document and couldn't find it. I bought 15 gallons of 35% peroxide last year (OTC) so (while I agree in principle with you) I'm curious how much of a hassle this particular monitoring represents.


400 lbs (880 kg), including the water. So, by my calculations about 163 liters, or 43 gallons. So you're in the clear, but not by all that much.

Edit: It seems their threshold amounts for compounds in column 15 are intended to hover closely around "Whatever we think a terrorist can reasonably cram into the bed of his Tacoma after he incapacitates the truck driver."

[Edited on 26-3-2012 by killswitch]

bbartlog - 25-3-2012 at 15:45

On the one hand, I agree that it's hard to find a feasible terrorist use case for 50 gallons of 35% peroxide that isn't served equally well by one gallon. On the other hand, if they're intent on tracking all this stuff, I don't see this threshold as a particularly onerous one. I don't think any home experimenter is going to need amounts over the threshold. I don't accept the existence and mission of the DHS as valid (being a libertarian radical), but given acceptance of it I can't see a strong argument against this particular restriction.

killswitch - 25-3-2012 at 16:12

Quote: Originally posted by bbartlog  
On the one hand, I agree that it's hard to find a feasible terrorist use case for 50 gallons of 35% peroxide that isn't served equally well by one gallon. On the other hand, if they're intent on tracking all this stuff, I don't see this threshold as a particularly onerous one. I don't think any home experimenter is going to need amounts over the threshold. I don't accept the existence and mission of the DHS as valid (being a libertarian radical), but given acceptance of it I can't see a strong argument against this particular restriction.


First, glad to find another person willing to speak out against the DHS. (Though such people would probably gravitate here, if they gravitate anywhere).
Second, there seems to be no strong argument in favor of the restriction, either.

It puts a regulatory burden on small businesses such as dental supply companies, salons and spas, cleaning companies that use peroxide bleach instead of chlorine, hardware stores, and many more. Transporting lower concentrations simply wastes fuel, since water doesn't need to be trucked around by 18-wheeler. Hydrogen peroxide is at least as prevalent as acetone, and has just as many, if not more, consumer applications.

I think all of us here can all agree that listing it doesn't make the world one iota safer. Instead, it wastes time and money, and in such a way that all of us are negatively affected. Increased costs of basic commodities are spread throughout the economy, raising prices and depressing wages for everybody.

And nobody's losing their jobs over this: the "Compliance Officers" who help mid-size companies deal with these regulations will be doing something more useful instead, and the DHS doesn't have to lose face over it, as all they're doing is changing the regulated concentration.

[Edited on 26-3-2012 by killswitch]

Fleaker - 25-3-2012 at 18:45

You know, the form that Univar or Brenntag hands out for this chemical is the exact same as they hand out for nitric acid, or sodium nitrate (which we were shocked at since it's relatively innocuous and we use it en masse for silver flux). It's a simple form. I don't know where the form goes but we've had to have it signed starting last year on orders as small as 15 gallons of 35% peroxide, but it's a one time form from the company per chemical. I don't really think it's a big deal, as it's still available if you have legitimate use. While I agree that the reportable quantity is rather arbitrary, I have found little effect in this law for those in business with a reason to have this material (and others).

We use peroxide every day for dissolving metals (mostly as a W or Mo etchant or for platinum). No inspections so far. And if, God forbid there was a loss, I'd certainly get in contact with the authorities anyway. We have to keep quantity records for mass balance for the EPA anyway, so it's not like these regulations are particularly onerous.

Much ado about nothing, in my honest opinion.

killswitch - 25-3-2012 at 19:33

Quote: Originally posted by Fleaker  
You know, the form that Univar or Brenntag hands out for this chemical is the exact same as they hand out for nitric acid, or sodium nitrate (which we were shocked at since it's relatively innocuous and we use it en masse for silver flux). It's a simple form. I don't know where the form goes but we've had to have it signed starting last year on orders as small as 15 gallons of 35% peroxide, but it's a one time form from the company per chemical. I don't really think it's a big deal, as it's still available if you have legitimate use. While I agree that the reportable quantity is rather arbitrary, I have found little effect in this law for those in business with a reason to have this material (and others).

We use peroxide every day for dissolving metals (mostly as a W or Mo etchant or for platinum). No inspections so far. And if, God forbid there was a loss, I'd certainly get in contact with the authorities anyway. We have to keep quantity records for mass balance for the EPA anyway, so it's not like these regulations are particularly onerous.

Much ado about nothing, in my honest opinion.


It's still unnecessary, and rescheduling it would be a step in the right direction. Wasn't the Millennium Bomber the last time a North American terrorist ripped off an industrial facility for materials? That was back before anyone in domestic law enforcement was paying any attention at all. These days, a plan like that would never fly.

It's important that we start dismantling this thing before it becomes "just the way things are." The only hope here is "death by a thousand cuts."

neptunium - 26-3-2012 at 05:39

i completly agree , some people here have valid argument but i think they are missing the point. Its not so much about the danger of the chemical itself ,more than the bureaucratic burden, the unnecesary paperwork and the slow (but steady )restriction of liberty.
Changing the concentration limit wont make a huge difference but its a step in the right direction. and it sends a message that the government cannot ignore. There are people still awake and watching whats going on.

Sign me up if you send the request killswitch

watson.fawkes - 26-3-2012 at 18:02

Quote: Originally posted by killswitch  
Those who are capable of killing others with explosives would easily procure what they need from 3% peroxide via freeze distillation. The only effect is to place an administrative and financial burden on institutions (including small businesses) that seek to employ more environmentally-friendly oxidizing agents.
Your whole argument hinges upon the word "easily", since if the regulation makes it harder for their targets to acquire 35% peroxide, then it's effective for the purpose of the regulation. And indeed the regulation is effective, because most people are unable, for any number of reasons, to actually carry out the concentration step.

So if you want your argument to hold weight, you need to change the facts on the ground and make it easier for them. The best way to do this is by researching the requisite chemical engineering, proving your concept, and educating the public by publication. Concentration of hydrogen peroxide is a regular affair within the chemical industry, but not so much at the pilot scale. After all, why would any one who has a legitimate need for a 55 gallon drum of H2O2 make it themselves when they can buy it? Note: that drum weighs about 500 lbs, so you can tell where the reporting limit comes from.

The problem, and I'll quote the old chestnut, is that the gap between theory and practice is smaller in theory than in practice. So the needed pilot plant, in order to actually avoid the reporting limit, would have to be capable of making one drum of 35% H2O2. Presumably the raw material would be sourced from retail 3% H2O2. Assume that raw material, and let's assume some modest losses, is around 15 times the volume of the final product, so we need 15 drums of 3% peroxide, and since that's hard to find, we'll just go with 3300 quart jugs of 3%. Presumably there's a big enough smurf network to acquire this. And enough budget. If you buy on sale, you're still looking at $3000 just in reagent acquisition.

You did say "easily", right?

killswitch - 26-3-2012 at 22:12

Quote: Originally posted by watson.fawkes  
Quote: Originally posted by killswitch  
Those who are capable of killing others with explosives would easily procure what they need from 3% peroxide via freeze distillation. The only effect is to place an administrative and financial burden on institutions (including small businesses) that seek to employ more environmentally-friendly oxidizing agents.
Your whole argument hinges upon the word "easily", since if the regulation makes it harder for their targets to acquire 35% peroxide, then it's effective for the purpose of the regulation. And indeed the regulation is effective, because most people are unable, for any number of reasons, to actually carry out the concentration step.

So if you want your argument to hold weight, you need to change the facts on the ground and make it easier for them. The best way to do this is by researching the requisite chemical engineering, proving your concept, and educating the public by publication. Concentration of hydrogen peroxide is a regular affair within the chemical industry, but not so much at the pilot scale. After all, why would any one who has a legitimate need for a 55 gallon drum of H2O2 make it themselves when they can buy it? Note: that drum weighs about 500 lbs, so you can tell where the reporting limit comes from.

The problem, and I'll quote the old chestnut, is that the gap between theory and practice is smaller in theory than in practice. So the needed pilot plant, in order to actually avoid the reporting limit, would have to be capable of making one drum of 35% H2O2. Presumably the raw material would be sourced from retail 3% H2O2. Assume that raw material, and let's assume some modest losses, is around 15 times the volume of the final product, so we need 15 drums of 3% peroxide, and since that's hard to find, we'll just go with 3300 quart jugs of 3%. Presumably there's a big enough smurf network to acquire this. And enough budget. If you buy on sale, you're still looking at $3000 just in reagent acquisition.

You did say "easily", right?


I have no clue why the hell they would need that much peroxide, because making more than 20g of TATP is ridiculously unsafe. For the amounts they would need, they could easily shoplift the required 3%. And as for the concentration step:

Easy: Put it in the freezer. The liquid that doesn't freeze is your concentrated peroxide.

I had some 3% store-bought H2O2 that expired in 09 and was stored at room temperature. The tamper-proof cap was swelling from O2 buildup. A few weeks ago I put it in the freezer overnight. As I attempted to remove the tamper-seal, the hole I pricked immediately released a jet of liquid (no doubt propelled by the O2) that caused the most painful H2O2 embolisms I have ever experienced. There was at least 8 mL of 30%+ H2O2 emitted. And this wasn't even at the eutectic point, which is quite a bit colder than -40 degrees and beyond my refrigerator. Imagine what dry ice and some fresh bottles could do. At the right Wal-Mart or H-E-B, you could pick up dry ice, acetone (in the hardware or automobile section), hydrogen peroxide, and the Works, which makes for a decent catalyst.


And all this is not to mention that TATP can be made using sodium percarbonate (available at hardware stores and is the main ingredient in OxyClean) as the oxidizer, so controls on H2O2 don't seem to prevent criminals from manufacturing peroxide initiators.


Mass production of TATP or HMTD is a non-starter, as they cannot be used as a main charge. It's the guy who shoplifts one or two bottles each from a Walgreens, a CVS, a Target, and a Wal-Mart and jams them in the freezer to make 5+ grams of material that is the real issue, and detecting him will be a matter of detecting his production of a main charge.

[Edited on 27-3-2012 by killswitch]

[Edited on 27-3-2012 by killswitch]

watson.fawkes - 27-3-2012 at 05:10

Quote: Originally posted by killswitch  
Mass production of TATP or HMTD is a non-starter, as they cannot be used as a main charge. It's the guy who shoplifts one or two bottles each from a Walgreens, a CVS, a Target, and a Wal-Mart and jams them in the freezer to make 5+ grams of material that is the real issue.
Well, you appear to be mistaken about that. If that were the actual issue, the reporting limit would have been set differently. It appears that what they're worrying about is indeed using organic peroxides as a main charge, because that's the synthesis that the regulation actually affects. The threat model does not seem to be the small guy, because the regulation has no effect on them.

Bot0nist - 27-3-2012 at 05:26

Quote:
Mass production of TATP or HMTD is a non-starter, as they cannot be used as a main charge. It's the guy who shoplifts one or two bottles each from a Walgreens, a CVS, a Target, and a Wal-Mart and jams them in the freezer to make 5+ grams of material that is the real issue.


Retoric like that would be excellent to enact further legislation of H<sub>2</sub>O<sub>2</sub> to encompass the readily available 3% variety.

neptunium - 27-3-2012 at 05:40

anyone going arround buying large quantity of H2O2 will get noticed sooner or later. i think the legislation is trying to takle the liquid bomb plot of 2006 .
when 20 some terrorists plotted from England to use it as a weapon .
Thats the reason why no liquids are allowed on a plane anymore.
They do not give too much details on the device for obvious reason and they can protect plane by simply not allowing liquids.
but on the ground this new regulation is probably the counter measure resulting from yet another scare .


weiming1998 - 27-3-2012 at 05:48

Quote: Originally posted by Bot0nist  
Quote:
Mass production of TATP or HMTD is a non-starter, as they cannot be used as a main charge. It's the guy who shoplifts one or two bottles each from a Walgreens, a CVS, a Target, and a Wal-Mart and jams them in the freezer to make 5+ grams of material that is the real issue.


Retoric like that would be excellent to enact further legislation of H<sub>2</sub>O<sub>2</sub> to encompass the readily available 3% variety.


Probably not. 3% H2O2 is used to clean wounds, dye hair, and other uses. Even if they will ignore these uses, the banning of all hydrogen peroxide will spark an outrage in the "alt med" community, as some of them drink diluted hydrogen peroxide as a way to "oxygenate" their blood and detoxify themselves. Others think that H2O2 and baking soda is the universal cleaner and sodium percarbonate cannot replace it.
As the H2O2 therapy supporters are extremely numerous, far more in number than amateur chemists or people that etch circuit boards, plus they are a group of people that thinks that the government is hiding the miracle from us. If the government bans H2O2, they will start conspiracy theory websites everywhere on the net, and even in real life, maybe even protests. The government simply cannot ever risk to get a massive group of people saying that they are evil, and possibly reduce the amount of people that takes vaccines to a very small amount (if government is so evil it bans the cure all H2O2, then they are lying about vaccines and they really do cause autism!), reducing the numbers below herd immunity and possibly start an epidemic. Even if that doesn't happen, they still don't want protesters going everywhere and the amount of people taking conventional medicine to decrease.

Edit: Just Google "H2O2 therapy" if you don't believe me.

[Edited on 27-3-2012 by weiming1998]

killswitch - 27-3-2012 at 06:47

Quote: Originally posted by weiming1998  
Quote: Originally posted by Bot0nist  
Quote:
Mass production of TATP or HMTD is a non-starter, as they cannot be used as a main charge. It's the guy who shoplifts one or two bottles each from a Walgreens, a CVS, a Target, and a Wal-Mart and jams them in the freezer to make 5+ grams of material that is the real issue.


Retoric like that would be excellent to enact further legislation of H<sub>2</sub>O<sub>2</sub> to encompass the readily available 3% variety.


Probably not. 3% H2O2 is used to clean wounds, dye hair, and other uses. Even if they will ignore these uses, the banning of all hydrogen peroxide will spark an outrage in the "alt med" community, as some of them drink diluted hydrogen peroxide as a way to "oxygenate" their blood and detoxify themselves. Others think that H2O2 and baking soda is the universal cleaner and sodium percarbonate cannot replace it.
As the H2O2 therapy supporters are extremely numerous, far more in number than amateur chemists or people that etch circuit boards, plus they are a group of people that thinks that the government is hiding the miracle from us. If the government bans H2O2, they will start conspiracy theory websites everywhere on the net, and even in real life, maybe even protests. The government simply cannot ever risk to get a massive group of people saying that they are evil, and possibly reduce the amount of people that takes vaccines to a very small amount (if government is so evil it bans the cure all H2O2, then they are lying about vaccines and they really do cause autism!), reducing the numbers below herd immunity and possibly start an epidemic. Even if that doesn't happen, they still don't want protesters going everywhere and the amount of people taking conventional medicine to decrease.

Edit: Just Google "H2O2 therapy" if you don't believe me.

[Edited on 27-3-2012 by weiming1998]


Ehh... that's a little tinfoil-hatty for most people's tastes, and most alt-med stuff is bullshit. The simple truth is that the government CAN'T ban hydrogen peroxide in its totality. Could you imagine trying to ban hair bleach? Carpet cleaner? Tooth-whitening mouthwash formulas? It'd be ridiculous.

The simple truth: The only place TATP manufacture could be completely prohibited is in a place like North Korea.

killswitch - 27-3-2012 at 06:53

Quote: Originally posted by watson.fawkes  
Well, you appear to be mistaken about that. If that were the actual issue, the reporting limit would have been set differently. It appears that what they're worrying about is indeed using organic peroxides as a main charge, because that's the synthesis that the regulation actually affects. The threat model does not seem to be the small guy, because the regulation has no effect on them.


Then the government regulation is retarded. They were actually considering adding acetone and urea to the list of scheduled chemicals until industry professionals pointed out how stupid that would be. As I pointed out in the first post, main-charge VBIEDS based on TATP or HMTD have so many issues with them that they simply can't be used.

Bot0nist - 27-3-2012 at 07:48

I never said ban it, bit they sure like to wrap stuff up in red tape and bureaucracy. I don't believe anything will become of 3%. I was just pointing out that killswitch was seemingly arguing for it restrictions. Everyone is in a tinfoil hat wearing, conspiracy theory having mood lately it seems.

[Edited on 27-3-2012 by Bot0nist]

watson.fawkes - 27-3-2012 at 09:07

Quote: Originally posted by killswitch  
Then the government regulation is retarded. They were actually considering adding acetone and urea to the list of scheduled chemicals until industry professionals pointed out how stupid that would be. As I pointed out in the first post, main-charge VBIEDS based on TATP or HMTD have so many issues with them that they simply can't be used.
Before I lay into you, I want to point out that I agree with the sentiment of your original post. I just think you're being horribly ineffective about it.

There are two rather common fallacies that circulate around here. You're exhibiting some of each.You don't understand how anybody might use organic peroxides in a vehicle-weapon, therefore you've discounted its possibility. You don't understand why the regulators wrote the rule you did, so you call it retarded. My surmise is that you may be about to look for their ulterior motives, the first step on the road to conspiredom. The second of these is easy enough to address and has indeed already been mentioned:
Quote: Originally posted by neptunium  
i think the legislation is trying to takle the liquid bomb plot of 2006 .
when 20 some terrorists plotted from England to use it as a weapon .
[...]but on the ground this new regulation is probably the counter measure resulting from yet another scare .
The people who wrote the regulation know something you don't. There was very likely some discovered plot involving drum-sized quantities of H2O2, so now it's restricted. We know of a number of these already that fit this exact pattern. Shoe-bomber, therefore "take off your shoes".

The first concern simply requires more imagination. If you ask the question "How could an organic peroxide be used in a vehicle bomb?" you'll head down a much better path. There seems to me a very straightforward way of doing this, which is (1) to use a refrigerated truck ("reefer"), (2) synthesize the peroxide compound in the back of the truck, and (3) explode the truck. A refrigerated truck has as rather high-capacity chiller in it, ideally suited for such syntheses. It would take only modest effort to take the coolant loop and repurpose it for chilling a reaction vessel. Such trucks commonly idle constantly to run the refrigeration system, so such behavior wouldn't be suspicious. Most of the sensitivity concerns go away when you don't ever have to repackage or even manipulate the material.

bbartlog - 27-3-2012 at 17:43

Quote:
You don't understand how anybody might use organic peroxides in a vehicle-weapon, therefore you've discounted its possibility. You don't understand why the regulators wrote the rule you did, so you call it retarded. My surmise is that you may be about to look for their ulterior motives


I don't think a vehicle-scale preparation of peroxide explosives is feasible. It's possible that the regulators know something I don't (we'll call this the 'government is smarter than I am' hypothesis or maybe heuristic). It's also possible that they're kind of stupid, at least when acting together in committee: they may have decided that it would be practical to make a 100 kilo charge of TATP just because making a 50g charge is easy. Call that the 'stupid government' hypothesis.
I've seen enough stupid government and little enough smart government that I always lean towards the stupid government hypothesis. No ulterior motives required.

Quote:
There seems to me a very straightforward way of doing this...


Straightforward *to you*, because you're highly intelligent. I don't know whether you've noticed, but the reason terrorists haven't succeeded in doing much to us is because the overwhelming majority of them are stupid - even the 'straightforward' plot you describe would be logistical rocket science to them.

watson.fawkes - 27-3-2012 at 21:02

Quote: Originally posted by bbartlog  
It's also possible that they're kind of stupid, at least when acting together in committee: they may have decided that it would be practical to make a 100 kilo charge of TATP just because making a 50g charge is easy.
[...]
Straightforward *to you*, because you're highly intelligent. I don't know whether you've noticed, but the reason terrorists haven't succeeded in doing much to us is because the overwhelming majority of them are stupid - even the 'straightforward' plot you describe would be logistical rocket science to them.
I assure you, the chemists that work in this field for the government are not stupid. I would guess that the threat I laid out has already been examined. It doesn't need to be easy so much as plausible in their eyes, not even so high a standard as "likely".

I highly recommend reading Mike Davis's book Buda's Wagon, a monograph history of the car bomb. Completely fascinating. It seems straightforward to me perhaps because, frankly, it doesn't seem like much of a stretch from what's gone before. There's a table of near the beginning of that book titled (paraphrasing) "Major Technological Developments". Using a reefer truck seems completely plausible to me in light of that table.

Also, "terrorists" include both the foreign and domestic variety. Although the focus has been on foreign-origin terrorism for the last decade, the home-grown variety hasn't dropped off the map. If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say that it's a domestic incident that led to the restriction.

quicksilver - 28-3-2012 at 09:24

Quite some time back we had a discussion of this sort. It's significant to ask oneself "why" the law was enacted. It's my opinion that often times laws that don't make direct sense on their surface are used as "Prosecution Padding". The issue (which also pulls in discussions on the Patriot Act II) allows the Prosecution in a courtroom to have heavier bargaining weight.
DHS has "Watched Chemicals", DEA has "Listed Chemicals" (please do a Search). One is dope-oriented, the other weapons-oriented. The DHS 2011 budget is higher than the DoD!!!! Substantially higher than Justice (& the DEA). They learned quickly that Courtroom leverage is a bargaining chip for annoyance Felons. This actually started from unbelievably stupid drug cooks who even though they made a small amount of drugs, their product was potentially lethal, superficially poisonous, & generally a serious problem to the community. They didn't have enough product to get the stupid jerk off the street so they "padded" the laws with more restrictions on other materials aside from the completed drugs. This was also called "The Precursor Law" and it worked in states where a judge would let an individual go with Time Served, fine, ect. He could now stop the individual from continuing. (This was actually first discussed during the Parkinson Disease- like nightmare from Fentnyl as the cooks continued to make the product and the results hit the Middle-Class.)

Arrests by DHS for actual or attempted domestic terrorism do not have to be made public by that agency (Patriot Act) unless subpena issuance other than Defense Counsel & the local news doesn't like to spend money for a story when there are free stories available.

The DHS "Watched Chemicals" are not "restricted" in the manner of "Listed Precursors" from the DEA. The actual issue is to prevent (1.) large quantity thefts, (2) Prosecution padding.
It's important to understand where these laws come from & how they are used. It's basically a TRACKING law.
The ATF (who is actually IN the courtroom much more frequently than the DHS) uses expressions such as "azide explosives", "ammonium nitrate explosives", or "ammonium perchlorate with smaller size than 15um" - purposely to be ambiguous (to give the Prosecution some breathing room) - not to achieve to direct prosecution but to seal a Plea Bargain. This in turn allows gov't agencies to get annoyances off the street and serious problems serious years in prison.

I deeply doubt that many people here would get even a glance for a container of 50%+ H2O2. However if fingers, testicles, & eyeballs went flying, it would give someone a chance to stop that person from "sharing" his dysfunctional agenda. Additionally, it would bring to heel some serious domestic terrorist assholes who believe that killing children is their right of free expression.


Here is the DHS CSAT & the ATF list:


Attachment: chemsec_csat_sva-1.pdf (1.3MB)
This file has been downloaded 903 times

Attachment: 2011_list.pdf (140kB)
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entropy51 - 28-3-2012 at 13:07

Quote: Originally posted by watson.fawkes  
I assure you, the chemists that work in this field for the government are not stupid.
I have to laugh every time I see a reference to "stupid bureaucrats" used in reference to some law or regulation that people here do not like or understand.

Apparently people think that government regulators are all C- English majors, or maybe just illiterate political hacks.

I have worked with and know a lot of the scientific staff of agencies such as DEA, ATF, DHS, FDA, NIST and NIH.

Not one of them is stupid.

killswitch - 29-3-2012 at 18:37

Quote: Originally posted by entropy51  
Quote: Originally posted by watson.fawkes  
I assure you, the chemists that work in this field for the government are not stupid.
I have to laugh every time I see a reference to "stupid bureaucrats" used in reference to some law or regulation that people here do not like or understand.

Apparently people think that government regulators are all C- English majors, or maybe just illiterate political hacks.

I have worked with and know a lot of the scientific staff of agencies such as DEA, ATF, DHS, FDA, NIST and NIH.

Not one of them is stupid.


The bureaucrats aren't stupid. The legislators, on the other hand...

Jesting aside, many Congressmen at the state and federal level are scientifically illiterate. Bureaucrats with scientific expertise can finesse the execution of the law, but they can't flat-out contradict it.

Now, make no mistake, I'm not saying the bulk of the government is stupid. What I am saying, though, is that it is MASSIVE and the Law of Large Numbers all but guarantees that ill-advised measures will emit from it in a small but intense trickle.

Yes, the internet is full of people screaming "fuck the police," "that man is a fascist pig," "I'm not saying it was aliens, but it was aliens," "POLICE STATE!," "Weed was banned because Hearst," "take our guns," and "sacrifice personal liberty... temporary security... deserves neither...," and it collectively boasts enough Reynolds Wrap to block Arecibo. I get as tired of it as anyone else not infected by the hysteria, but none of that changes the ridiculously low probability of the currently established 'concentration of interest' for hydrogen peroxide actually serving to prevent or punish a crime.

Now, regarding the counterexample of the 'chiller truck' scenario: It IS interesting that there is at least a theoretical plan of attack that could utilize peroxides as a main charge. I hadn't thought of refrigerating the entire truck.

I'm interested to know a few things about the practical implementation of such a plan.

How would they neutralize and dry the product? With such a large mass, I would never remove any of the liquid until the pH was exactly 7, and if the liquid isn't at least partially removed, the explosive charge is all but useless.

They couldn't decant the water and dry the charge while on-site, so they would still have to drive a truck loaded with an extremely sensitive primary explosive. Yes, keeping it cold and in the dark makes many peroxides much safer to handle, but there's still the problem of the mass of crystals shifting against each other with each movement of the truck.

Yes, there's a chance it could work. Yes, that chance is higher than for filling up the back of a U-Haul with peroxide slurry as each 2kg kitchen batch is cranked out by some nut. But it still strikes me as unwieldy and unfeasible.

[Edited on 30-3-2012 by killswitch]

Magpie - 30-3-2012 at 09:41

Perhaps the vision of Mr Zazi in Colorado pushing a shopping cart full of beauty shop grade (12-24%) H2O2 down the isle is stuck in the minds of the regulators.

killswitch - 30-3-2012 at 10:12

Quote: Originally posted by Magpie  
Perhaps the vision of Mr Zazi in Colorado pushing a shopping cart full of beauty shop grade (12-24%) H2O2 down the isle is stuck in the minds of the regulators.


That's below both the threshold both in concentration and quantity.

watson.fawkes - 31-3-2012 at 14:51

Quote: Originally posted by killswitch  
Now, regarding the counterexample of the 'chiller truck' scenario: It IS interesting that there is at least a theoretical plan of attack that could utilize peroxides as a main charge. I hadn't thought of refrigerating the entire truck.

I'm interested to know a few things about the practical implementation of such a plan.

How would they neutralize and dry the product? With such a large mass, I would never remove any of the liquid until the pH was exactly 7, and if the liquid isn't at least partially removed, the explosive charge is all but useless.
First, you wouldn't cool the whole truck but rather repurpose the coolant loop to act as a chiller for the exothermic synthesis. This could be done by any qualified commercial refrigeration technician. Reaction rate is limited by the ability to remove heat from the reaction vessel (a drum, presumably), and the chiller in a reefer truck would provide plenty of that.

Neutralization. Don't bother. That's a concern for storage stability.

Liquid removal. Put a mesh filter drain in the bottom of each reaction drum. Drain off the bulk of the liquid, either under gravity or suction. Use a vacuum pump to pull off the rest in vapor form; you can do this at the very end.

A typical reefer truck in the US is 53 feet, 1/3 longer than a standard 40 foot shipping container. It seems fully feasible that you could get a 30 - 40% fill rate after two days of work. It's a comparable size charge to the Oklahoma City bomb.

killswitch - 5-4-2012 at 09:40

Quote: Originally posted by watson.fawkes  
First, you wouldn't cool the whole truck but rather repurpose the coolant loop to act as a chiller for the exothermic synthesis. This could be done by any qualified commercial refrigeration technician. Reaction rate is limited by the ability to remove heat from the reaction vessel (a drum, presumably), and the chiller in a reefer truck would provide plenty of that.

Liquid removal. Put a mesh filter drain in the bottom of each reaction drum. Drain off the bulk of the liquid, either under gravity or suction. Use a vacuum pump to pull off the rest in vapor form; you can do this at the very end.

A typical reefer truck in the US is 53 feet, 1/3 longer than a standard 40 foot shipping container. It seems fully feasible that you could get a 30 - 40% fill rate after two days of work. It's a comparable size charge to the Oklahoma City bomb.


There's still the issue of sensitivity. It would take, by that estimate, at least a week, total, to reconfigure the truck and synthesize the charge. And this strikes me as beyond the capabilities of a single individual, given the sheer size of the quantities involved. In fact, McVeigh would have been physically incapable of constructing his bomb without the assistance of at least one other person (and many experts believe that Nichols alone wouldn't have been enough to grind up the prills AND load the truck within the timetable given). Now that we have a black president, white supremacist militias are under much heavier surveillance now than they were then, and many mosques across the country are also under FBI surveillance (rather prejudiced, but sadly true). The Oslo bomb didn't use any significant quantities of explosives that required any kind of chemical synthesis, just mixing the ingredients. Given that NH4NO3 is much more heavily restricted in the States, Breivik's plan would not have succeeded in the United States. An even more complicated plan would have required more than one person for any realistic chance of success.

So, while I admire the ingenuity of the plan you've posited (which I never would have thought of myself), the ability of criminals to employ it in an act of terrorism appears somewhat dubious. And I would hazard a guess that such a plan would be far, far more expensive to implement than the OKC bombing, which cost only $5,000 for the charge and detonator. I simply don't see any way other than theft to accomplish a peroxide-based plot. And the theft of chemical substances in any real quantity is nearly guaranteed to trigger a far higher degree of response from law enforcement than almost any other kind of theft, other than robbing an armored car.

[Edited on 5-4-2012 by killswitch]

watson.fawkes - 5-4-2012 at 14:14

Quote: Originally posted by killswitch  
And this strikes me as beyond the capabilities of a single individual, given the sheer size of the quantities involved.
I agree, this is not a single-person operation.

Nevertheless, it's plausible, in the light of this scenario, that there's a rational regulation involving drum-sized quantities of H2O2. And that, finally, was the purpose of the example, to show that it need not be pure paranoia on the part of regulators to do what they did.

killswitch - 5-4-2012 at 14:35

Quote: Originally posted by watson.fawkes  
Quote: Originally posted by killswitch  
And this strikes me as beyond the capabilities of a single individual, given the sheer size of the quantities involved.
I agree, this is not a single-person operation.

Nevertheless, it's plausible, in the light of this scenario, that there's a rational regulation involving drum-sized quantities of H2O2. And that, finally, was the purpose of the example, to show that it need not be pure paranoia on the part of regulators to do what they did.


I'm not sure that this scenario occurred to them when they wrote the legislation, though. After all, they outright admit that it took lobbying on behalf of industry representatives to convince them not to put acetone and urea on the Scheduled Chemicals List. And they still don't address the fact that sodium percarbonate can be used as a precursor instead of aqueous hydrogen peroxide, sidestepping the restriction entirely.

[Edited on 5-4-2012 by killswitch]

gregxy - 7-4-2012 at 22:25

It would make more sense to try and remover the regulation of phosphorus and iodine
on the grounds that they are elements, naturally occurring and made by God or some or some other such nonsense. Besides it should be enough to just regulate the pseudoephedrine.

There are probably simpler ways to make high explosives from the higher concentrations of H2O2 than was outlined earlier but I won't give any hints.
The whole discussion is academic since the regulators won't listen to
any of us on this.

killswitch - 2-6-2012 at 09:41

Quote: Originally posted by gregxy  
It would make more sense to try and remove the regulation of phosphorus and iodine
on the grounds that they are elements, naturally occurring and made by God or some or some other such nonsense. Besides it should be enough to just regulate the pseudoephedrine.

There are probably simpler ways to make high explosives from the higher concentrations of H2O2 than was outlined earlier but I won't give any hints.
The whole discussion is academic since the regulators won't listen to any of us on this.


Wait, what? Was this post supposed to be in the other thread?

Nevertheless, if you want as simple as possible, just grind up pool chlorine tablets (70+% Ca(OCl)2) as finely as possible with some power tools and mix it very evenly with finely powdered baking sugar, cram it into an aluminum tube, wipe off the threads, and screw on the endcaps. Pow!

Actually, don't do that. I get the feeling hypochlorites are even more dangerous than chlorates.

hyfalcon - 2-6-2012 at 16:55

If someone wanted H2O2, all it would take if find a drop yard with tankers on it. Can you say 50,000lbs. of peroxide? I've seen loads of this running up and down the roads. I wonder what industry needs THAT large a quantity?

ScienceSquirrel - 8-12-2012 at 19:56

Quote: Originally posted by hyfalcon  
If someone wanted H2O2, all it would take if find a drop yard with tankers on it. Can you say 50,000lbs. of peroxide? I've seen loads of this running up and down the roads. I wonder what industry needs THAT large a quantity?



Hydrogen peroxide is widely employed in the food industry and elsewhere.
I kills everything, leaves no contamination and can be flushed in to the normal drainage system.
What is there not to like?

neptunium - 8-12-2012 at 20:12

and liquid rocket oxidizer ! although not so much anymore..

[Edited on 9-12-2012 by neptunium]

AndersHoveland - 30-12-2012 at 21:23

I see this issue paralleling the gun control controversy. The arguments, for and against, are essentially the same.

jinni73 - 7-5-2013 at 15:50

Quote: Originally posted by killswitch  
Quote: Originally posted by weiming1998  
Quote: Originally posted by Bot0nist  
Quote:
Mass production of TATP or HMTD is a non-starter, as they cannot be used as a main charge. It's the guy who shoplifts one or two bottles each from a Walgreens, a CVS, a Target, and a Wal-Mart and jams them in the freezer to make 5+ grams of material that is the real issue.


Retoric like that would be excellent to enact further legislation of H<sub>2</sub>O<sub>2</sub> to encompass the readily available 3% variety.


Probably not. 3% H2O2 is used to clean wounds, dye hair, and other uses. Even if they will ignore these uses, the banning of all hydrogen peroxide will spark an outrage in the "alt med" community, as some of them drink diluted hydrogen peroxide as a way to "oxygenate" their blood and detoxify themselves. Others think that H2O2 and baking soda is the universal cleaner and sodium percarbonate cannot replace it.
As the H2O2 therapy supporters are extremely numerous, far more in number than amateur chemists or people that etch circuit boards, plus they are a group of people that thinks that the government is hiding the miracle from us. If the government bans H2O2, they will start conspiracy theory websites everywhere on the net, and even in real life, maybe even protests. The government simply cannot ever risk to get a massive group of people saying that they are evil, and possibly reduce the amount of people that takes vaccines to a very small amount (if government is so evil it bans the cure all H2O2, then they are lying about vaccines and they really do cause autism!), reducing the numbers below herd immunity and possibly start an epidemic. Even if that doesn't happen, they still don't want protesters going everywhere and the amount of people taking conventional medicine to decrease.

Edit: Just Google "H2O2 therapy" if you don't believe me.

[Edited on 27-3-2012 by weiming1998]


Ehh... that's a little tinfoil-hatty for most people's tastes, and most alt-med stuff is bullshit. The simple truth is that the government CAN'T ban hydrogen peroxide in its totality. Could you imagine trying to ban hair bleach? Carpet cleaner? Tooth-whitening mouthwash formulas? It'd be ridiculous.

The simple truth: The only place TATP manufacture could be completely prohibited is in a place like North Korea.


Hey man I would really like to see your evidence that all these alt meds dont work as I have been studying the oil industry lately and have spotted an extremely negative pattern, and when you saying most alt-med is bs is a little worrying but if you have evidence that shows me a different view point I would really love to see it.

if you want to make a bomb there are only 2 ingredients you need and ones kerosine they have not banned this because of ingredients in a bomb,
as far as I can see they have banned it because its good for you h202 is formed up in the stratosphere and used to be delivered to us through rainfall but because of all the chemicals being sprayed it now doesn't reach the ground or get into our diet so they now have to add it in,

diluted food grade 35% hydrogen peroxide is as far as i can see fantastic for you allegedly helping the body fight an array of diseases including cancer and this websites claim http://educate-yourself.org/hp/index.shtml goes against what your saying.
FIRST look into the basic science of MMS as your primary at-home oxidative therapy because it's gaining a reputation for CURING just about every disease condition in the book, from 4th stage cancer to AIDS, to diabetes, to malaria, etc.

so killlswitch where is your studying that h202 doesn't do these things and alt medicine is bs, what do you base your theories on as I for one like to be educated and someone who has obviously studied this is far more beneficial to me than someone who just states these things on a website?

There are currently 10 patents pending on lemon juice which is really good for depression if all alt-meds are rubbish why do they base all of the medicines on plants and natural extracts?





[Edited on 8-5-2013 by jinni73]

killswitch - 1-6-2013 at 05:33

Quote: Originally posted by AndersHoveland  
I see this issue paralleling the gun control controversy. The arguments, for and against, are essentially the same.


Nope. H2O2 requires one knows what they are doing chemistry-wise to cause harm, and there is no commercial support for any aspect of the process beyond purchasing raw materials.

Classifying H2O2 as a 'watched chemical' is like requiring registration and background checks for pressure cookers or propane tanks.

Trotsky - 8-6-2013 at 09:19

I use 35 percent hydrogen peroxide to remove iron from my water. It's way too expensive to use 3 or 8 percent solution. It costs me 120 bucks for six gallons of 35 percent solution. It's 70 bucks for 5 gallons of 8 percent solution. do the math.

It'd be nice to buy a 55 gallon drum, but I couldn't find anyone to sell it to me.

I buy my peroxide from one of the suppliers selling h2o2 for drinking. I forget what health benefits they suggest it has. It's nonsense, but they're cheap.

hyfalcon - 8-6-2013 at 11:21

Quote: Originally posted by killswitch  
Quote: Originally posted by AndersHoveland  
I see this issue paralleling the gun control controversy. The arguments, for and against, are essentially the same.


Nope. H2O2 requires one knows what they are doing chemistry-wise to cause harm, and there is no commercial support for any aspect of the process beyond purchasing raw materials.

Classifying H2O2 as a 'watched chemical' is like requiring registration and background checks for pressure cookers or propane tanks.



Especially since you can go in most pool supply stores and buy 27% Bauqucil H2O2 all day long and nothing is thought about it.

Tiny amounts of 35% food-grade H2O2!

MPCato - 7-11-2013 at 08:09

A friend just called me and reported her shock and amazement that she was unable to order an EIGHT OUNCE bottle of 35% food-grade H2O2 because she does not possess a fixed residential address. For over 35 years, she has used a private mailing center where she must sign for all packages. She lives in a motor home and travels a lot.

MPCato - 7-11-2013 at 09:06

Quote: Originally posted by entropy51  
Quote: Originally posted by watson.fawkes  
I assure you, the chemists that work in this field for the government are not stupid.
I have to laugh every time I see a reference to "stupid bureaucrats" used in reference to some law or regulation that people here do not like or understand.

Apparently people think that government regulators are all C- English majors, or maybe just illiterate political hacks.

I have worked with and know a lot of the scientific staff of agencies such as DEA, ATF, DHS, FDA, NIST and NIH.

Not one of them is stupid.


No they are NOT stupid! Furthermore, their administrative "betters" are not stupid, they are intelligent, clever, arrogant and morally dysfunctional -- and therein lies the true horror of what is happening to America. The political level bureaucrats who command these highly trained and mostly harmless lab drones are engaged in an accelerating campaign to strip harmless Americans of every vestige of real control over their own destiny. With rare and precious exceptions, this is nothing more than part of a multi-tentacled agenda -- one that was clearly and accurately described by the Cloward-Piven plan. No, I am not a "conspiracy theorist". I am a life-long student of human history -- a history that, among many other facts, proves that human beings are conspiratorial by their very nature.

[Edited on 7-11-2013 by MPCato]

[Edited on 7-11-2013 by MPCato]

MPCato - 7-11-2013 at 09:18

Quote: Originally posted by AndersHoveland  
I see this issue paralleling the gun control controversy. The arguments, for and against, are essentially the same.


Indeed! Every single one of the "arguments" offered by those who want to disarm the harmless (which is swept into the subject of this thread) are in fact better arguments for doing the exact opposite!

chemrox - 8-11-2013 at 00:09

@Killswitch: You've written the document and seen all the discouraging reactions from folks who are willing to accept unreasonable controls. Now, where do we go from here? How do you think we should distribute the manifesto, petition however it should be presented. How can I help?

Morgan - 13-12-2017 at 14:34

"Querying the data" on purchasing a large quantity of hydrogen peroxide. Just some perspectives maybe of interest that came up today. Starting around the 27-29 minute mark.
https://www.c-span.org/video/?438282-1/deputy-attorney-gener...