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pantone159
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[*] posted on 21-10-2008 at 07:23


Quote:
Originally posted by BethanyHalford
I've been making a lot of calls to federal, state, and local authorities, and I have to say that in the few cases where there are laws (usually on a local level), they're pretty vague.


The Texas law is a case of being both specific and vague at the same time. Chapter 481 of the Health & Safety Code
http://tlo2.tlc.state.tx.us/statutes/hs.toc.htm
has an itemized listing of apparatus for which a permit is needed, it has such well defined terms such as:
(53)(K) a transformer;
(53)(N) an adaptor tube.
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watson.fawkes
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[*] posted on 21-10-2008 at 08:30


Quote:
Originally posted by BethanyHalford
I've been making a lot of calls to federal, state, and local authorities, and I have to say that in the few cases where there are laws (usually on a local level), they're pretty vague.
Vagueness frequently means "unconstitutional". This was the case with the first California "assault weapons" ban, which was overturned just on these grounds.
Quote:
Originally posted by pantone159
The Texas law is a case of being both specific and vague at the same time. Chapter 481 of the Health & Safety Code
http://tlo2.tlc.state.tx.us/statutes/hs.toc.htm
has an itemized listing of apparatus for which a permit is needed, it has such well defined terms such as:
(53)(K) a transformer;
(53)(N) an adaptor tube.
Thanks for that reference. I went and read up the relevant sections relating to "chemical laboratory apparatus". The vagueness starts right in the definition:
Quote:
from CHAPTER 481. TEXAS CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES ACT
(53) "Chemical laboratory apparatus" means any item of equipment designed, made, or adapted to manufacture a controlled substance or a controlled substance analogue, including:
So the definition of "what's controlled" contains within it a concept of <b>purpose</b>. The definition of apparatus includes only items <b>for</b> manufacturing controlled substances. This would encompass, clearly, the work of a cook who did his own glassblowing. It would also include the glassware that a cook bought and then set up for a synthesis of a controlled substance. But the definition itself doesn't include, not within the text itself, glassware bought for other purposes. This is a definition similar that for other context-dependent items, such as lockpicks and drug paraphernalia. But the regulation that follows that definition has no sensitivity to context. There's merely a presumption that all such items have that purpose and thus need control.

From a justice standpoint, this is intolerable. It's impossible to have justice under a law that asserts a potentially illicit purpose by mere possession of an item with multiple uses. This is worse than thoughtcrime. It's the assertion that you have already committed thoughtcrime simply by possessing something, whether or not you had thoughts even related to prohibited actions.

This vagueness is the center of a potential legal challenge. If the ACS had the political courage to defend the entire praxis pipeline of both its current members and its future members, it would sue to overturn this law. Getting standing is easy. Have a Texas resident pay for a flask from out of state. Find a seller who will hold the item in question until the case is resolved. Sue the state of Texas for declaratory relief, asking the court to throw out the apparatus provisions because of the vagueness of the definition.

But I have no expectation that the requisite political courage is present.
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[*] posted on 6-11-2008 at 17:53


I don't think a lot of people here have contacted their local or state authorities about the laws regarding chemistry labs due to the publicity it would bring to them. Home chemists have become an underground group of people in fear that the hobby they love so much will be ripped right out of their hands.

These analogies may be somewhat harsh, but I think they are true. A home chemist calling his/her local and/or state authorities about the legality of a chemistry lab is akin to:

A runaway slave asking a local white-man where the nearest underground railroad gathering is.
A Jewish individual in WWII Germany calling up the Nazi's and asking if it's illegal to hide in his attic.

The level of severity may not be the same, but the atrocity behind it is.




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chloric1
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[*] posted on 6-11-2008 at 19:03


Yes well, that being said, the vaugueness to me implies that I do not need to concern myself with said laws since I have no intentions in illegal activities. Of coarse that arguement will never hold in court. It might keep me out of jail but I doubt I will get my confiscated goods or reparations for damages.

So, I have come up with some ground rules to keep encounters with law enforcement unlikely.

1. Always keep chemicals and glassware out of plain site and preferrable in a locked cabinet, shed, or closet.

2. Reactions involving large amounts of chemicals, filtering, should be done indoors in privacy or outdoors at odd hours if noxious vapors are an issue.

3. Be very cautious about who you discuss you activites with ,and if you do divulge in discussion, make sure its someone that does not know your exact address.

4. This relates to rule 1 but if you are expecting a meter reader, a UPS delivery, or other visitors be sure to not leave out suspicous reagents or apparatus.




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[*] posted on 6-11-2008 at 20:13


Although a given home lab may be perfectly legal according to the letter of the law, I don't think that contacting the authorities with questions about it is adviseable.

The public, the media, and the police are highly prejudiced concerning personal chemistry and home labs. This, as we all know, is the result of terrorism and illegal drug making on a worldwide scale over the past few decades. This allows and even encourages the police to act like bullies when it comes to home labs. It doesn't matter that they are likely breaking the law and trampling on the lab owner's rights. They have public opinion on their side.

Unfortunately the home chemist of today can very much identify with a negro living in the South in the 60's or a jew living in Nazi Germany.

[Edited on 6-11-2008 by Magpie]
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[*] posted on 7-11-2008 at 14:54


Did anyone else here give Bethany Halford a call?

For those interested, the deadline for the article has passed and the article has been submitted for publication, she will be posting here again with the hyperlink once the article has been published.




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[*] posted on 7-11-2008 at 15:12


I talked to her. It should be out on the 10th, she said.



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[*] posted on 8-11-2008 at 08:48


I have access to print copies of C&EN news, I will be watching for the article.



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BethanyHalford
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[*] posted on 10-11-2008 at 06:25


Thanks to everyone who offered guidance for my article. You can read it online here (it's available to the public, not just ACS members).
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[*] posted on 10-11-2008 at 09:06


Dr. Beth,

Visit any time this collection of old druid alchemists and young apprentices, we will keep the drawbridge down for you. The missing component for the new health and energy plans is powdered extract of gryphon claw, so
we shall all have job security for at least the next four years to be engaged in its cooperative pursuit.

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Magpie
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[*] posted on 10-11-2008 at 10:58


Ms Halford,

Thank you for that excellent article on the dilemma of the home chemist. C&EN's popularity among chemists and chemical engineers will assure that it receives a wide reading, at least among professionals. Please report back to the forum occaisionally when you have some feedback from your readers.
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[*] posted on 10-11-2008 at 13:01


I also was pleased very much to read this article. Another Dutch member already has posted a link to this article on a Dutch chemistry forum (not a forum like sciencemadness, but aimed at people who work in chemistry, e.g. in corporate research labs or at universities), so the audience again is extended a little.



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undead_alchemist
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[*] posted on 11-11-2008 at 08:11


A link to the story has now made it to Slashdot.org
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pantone159
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[*] posted on 11-11-2008 at 08:30


Quote:
Originally posted by undead_alchemist
A link to the story has now made it to Slashdot.org


Which means that a link to SM is indirectly on Slashdot. Countdown to the SM server being swamped... 10.. 9.. 8..
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sparkgap
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[*] posted on 11-11-2008 at 17:12


Quote:
Originally posted by undead_alchemist
A link to the story has now made it to Slashdot.org


I did that. :) Good thing Slashdot picked that up. Hope our cause becomes more popular.

sparky (~_~)




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[*] posted on 11-11-2008 at 20:23


Her article was very good and as far as I can tell the first one with mainstream credentials which seemed sympathetic at least to our hobby. Too little to late I fear. We have no organized lobby with enough cash to represent us and defend our rights. I would bet good money that right now each and every one of us would end up a tier 3 hazmat story in at least local news if they knew about less than one percent of the things we all need to do our experiments with.

I believe this is already true even though virtually all household chemicals are more of a chemical hazard than nearly all of our lab gear and stock. It is a hyper-hysterical mindset the governments and peoples of every country today possess and I see no hope of this doing anything but getting worse with time. In short the war is over and we lost, best we can do is what we all already do and this is keep our heads down and our mouths shut.

I exclude Thailand from this after reading a previous post. Who knew the last bastion of freedom would show up in the Asian world. Sure would be nice if our governments were as science friendly as Thailand. I buy many items from there and often (in fact one less than a week ago) I get packages sealed in green homeland security tape. I would love to get my hands on their mail and riffle through it just to let them know how irritating it is to have my privacy violated every other time an order from Futurelec (and several ebay sellers) arrives.

Sadly it means we all need to stockpile the hell out of everything we can while (if) we still can. Much more sadly is the fact that this agenda on the part of our so called "free" countries forces us to have more on hand of various items which beforehand we would have deemed unsafe to keep in large amounts! Meaning the main thing they have done with their knee-jerk hysteria is to make us all much less safe than we were, when we were allowed to police ourselves using common sense and safety concerns as we have all done since the late 1800's when home science really kicked into gear.

I started around age 5 in science and that was 50 years ago. In all these years I remember only two stories which stand out of a home scientist causing harm or concern to the public. One was the infamous home built reactor story which likely represented a tenth of the threat we were told it was by the government and the media. The other was a NY trash collection person being killed by fumes from a broken bottle of HF in the 70 percent range. For 50 years of home science these two cannot possibly be enough incidents to justify the hysterical crucify chemists mindset we see every day from the government and the media.

I know some of the things in my lab would cause problems since combined they represent some kind of evil in the minds of LEO. Yet these are offset by a hundred other things in my lab. When they decide NaOH and some kind of transformer or glassware proves their case my question would be "yeah then what drug relation does my Uranium and heavy water have?". No doubt in court they would convince everyone I am making some kind of designer glow in the dark drug, which they would then twist into some kind of "he is also a terrorist making dirty bombs in between drug batches" bull story.

Leaving open the question in my mind as to why they do not add delimiters in their draconian laws such as $50 worth of list inorganics combined with 20 thousand worth of non drug related chemicals indicates a non drug lab. Of course this brings us back to the tier 3 scenario if we have rubber samples or other benign items as the man in her article did. I imagine the only way to win is to not play the game meaning secrecy is our only defense and this is not ever going to change.



[Edited on 11-12-2008 by IrC]
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[*] posted on 12-11-2008 at 01:22


hmmmm, hmmmm, hmmmm, hmmmmm, hmmmm :cool:
It's all such a tired cliche you know, an angry mob of villagers with torches coming up the road to Frankenstein's castle and all :P
I have simply got to get me a Jacob's ladder ...it will
go nicely with my plasma globe :D
Am I the only one who likes to flare an LP jetted meker burner just for the kick of it, to set the mood for an experiment. Mantles are nice, but some of the old burners are really a much more serious heat source for those high thermal demand reactions :D
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[*] posted on 12-11-2008 at 15:42


Noticed while I was on this http://www.jimmyr.com/ site looking at science articles, it has made it on the front page of Reddits science - Which automatically means it is on the front page of a lot of sites such as Jimmyr.com

Be Interesting to see the statistics on how many people were viewing SMDB and how many people are now because of the link in the page.
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[*] posted on 12-11-2008 at 17:42


I have not noticed any traffic spikes, though log analysis is running a couple of days behind. Fortunately for SM's web server, if not for its attractiveness to new members, most slashdot/reddit readers appear to skim articles or just read the first paragraph rather than reading them all the way through.



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[*] posted on 25-11-2008 at 21:40


Quote:

No, I mean that people soring gallons of fuel should have a fine as well, and then I'm really talking about 10+ gallons. I think no normal person needs that much, and no home experimenter uses that much solvent.


!!?

Do you have a car? I think my car has more than 10 gallons of fuel in it right now. Is that somehow different? Or is it just because cars are socially acceptable?

I also know for a fact that at least a few people here have more than 10 gallons of solvents. Shit, people with hobbies other than chemistry occasionally have over 10 gallons of flammable solvents. I know my parents have about that much just from unused/partially used cans of bullshit in their garage.

What about people with propane tanks? And are you saying that people with RVs, boats, ATVs etc... shouldn't be allowed to store more than 10 gallons of fuel? This is absolutely ridiculous. My father is a firefighter and even he wouldn't agree to that draconian fine/regulation that you are advocating.

10 gallons? I am absolutely appalled at your statement. One day you may need to stock 10 gallons of something just to ensure that you can continue your hobby for a few more years. Would you limit yourself?

I might actually agree to require some sort of anti-fire measure for people who have more than say, 30 gallons of flammable liquids but I would never agree with your statement.

Unbelievable.




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[*] posted on 9-4-2009 at 08:56


sorry to make reborn an old thread

but why does the gouvernement don't give us rules?
it is not a big problem to follow some rules like for safety or for environement protection. we only want to follow our passion and we don't want to make any trouble.

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hissingnoise
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[*] posted on 9-4-2009 at 09:56


Quote: Originally posted by Bikemaster  


but why does the gouvernement don't give us rules?

They have given us rules---those rules are No Explosives and No Drugs. . .
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[*] posted on 9-4-2009 at 10:18


Bethany,

Aside from regulations (safety issues), the problem is that the agency who have taken it upon themselves to enforce, does so largely through a very interpretive and somewhat arbitrary arm of the law, known as administrative law. "This should be this, therefore we'll write up a plan of action." "We don't agree to be sued, so we'll just not agree to being sued" (circular logic). "We f**ked up, so we'll just write a corrective action." They write the law as they go on, and it's it's own culture and almost personality cult.

**edited to correct couple type'o's, & to add; one of the only effective legal challenges to this admin. law involves questions of federal constitutionality (which are comparatively rare). Even when people in states say it is legal, the admin. fed law likes to trump the statue. Administration of federal law here certainly is not in the spirit of what it was intended to be.

[Edited on 9-4-2009 by Globey]
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[*] posted on 9-4-2009 at 15:55


... i know that explosive and drug are illegal but if you have a home lab (don't care about the reason) they will arrest you... i don't want to make meth and big bacth of acetone peroxide, i just want to do my hobby...

poeple don't like us because they just don't know wath is really chemistry...in their head pyrothecnie=terroriste and chemistry=drug...
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[*] posted on 30-5-2009 at 15:45


I remember a few years back, a legal company, operated out of a home, distilling essential oils, was raided and destroyed by the feds. They (the owners) were not prosecuted but did have to retain counsel and wound up suing the government for the loss of the equipment.. They lost that to.. Bottom line, The feds do what the want. It would be advantageous to set up a lab in an area zoned commercial and legitimize yourself….
You could test swimming pool water or drinking water. Something simple, under the radar.
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