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Author: Subject: Legality of home chemistry
cnidocyte
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[*] posted on 7-1-2011 at 09:26
Legality of home chemistry


Unfortunately, being secretive isn't an option for me. My labs so small I have to work with the doors open and the neighbours can see into the lab. My next door neighbours know I'm a chemistry student and won't think anything of it but theres an appartment building with a nice view of my back garden and I don't know who might be looking out those windows. In the event that the police knocked on my door to question me about it, I'd just let them in and show them the lab to show them that I'm not making bombs or drugs or anything but I can't help but suspect that they might confiscate my equipment anyway. They may see it as an environmental hazard. I've spend years slowly building up this lab and I've put a lot of time, money and effort into it so I'm not too sure if it'd be such a good idea to let the police see it. They couldn't legally enter the house without a warrant but I don't wanna waste their time and get in the way of their job.

I can't really find much information about the laws concerning this home chemistry in my country. Its a highly improbable scenario but a bit of paranoia goes a long way. What can one do to protect themselves from having their equipment confiscated in the event that the police or whoever finds out about it? Hiring a lawyer would be far cheaper than having to replace ones equipment so thats definitely a good move. I did an oil drilling course years ago and got a HAZMAT certificate. Thats long expired but I suspect that having a HAZMAT certificate would be a plus in convincing the judge that you do not pose a threat to the environment and everyone in the vicinity with your lab. Whats your take on the matter?
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hkparker
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[*] posted on 7-1-2011 at 16:12


http://www.sciencemadness.org/talk/viewthread.php?tid=14529&...

read this page of this thread, a lot has been said against talking to police, and their right.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4097602514885833865...

Are you in the US? Because aside from things like Phorphorus I havent found any clear cut law on anything. They will just get you on "suspicion" or charge you with endangering the public or something. If anyone can link me to an actual law it would be much appreciated. Because I do belive it is possible to practive home chemistry 100% legally.




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Magpie
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[*] posted on 7-1-2011 at 20:39


Quote: Originally posted by hkparker  

Because I do belive it is possible to practive home chemistry 100% legally.


So do I, under certain special circumstances, ie:

1. You live within a commercial zone and have all the proper licenses and certifications. And you have a business license and call yourself a research facility. (But don't forget the IRS. They will expect you to keep books and show a profit at some point in time.)

2. You have the dignitas and auctoritas of someone like Robert Bruce Thompson, the published author on home chemistry. Apparently they don't bother him as he has quite a nice home lab and displays it publicly in the media.

3. There may be other such special circumstances about which I am not aware.

I would guess that 99% of us don't fall within the above categories.

[Edited on 8-1-2011 by Magpie]




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hkparker
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[*] posted on 7-1-2011 at 20:52


Oh of course not. The only person I've heard of being a registered research facility is NurdRage. So that's where its a grey area. Well I think if don't do anything to get you noticed the cops arnt going to come to your house for practically anything you buy in the US from what I've read, most times they raid labs is because a neighbor calls it in. So when I move to my own house somewhere that will be my plan, to just stay under the radar.



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Magpie
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[*] posted on 7-1-2011 at 21:08


Quote: Originally posted by hkparker  
Oh of course not. The only person I've heard of being a registered research facility is NurdRage. So that's where its a grey area. Well I think if don't do anything to get you noticed the cops arnt going to come to your house for practically anything you buy in the US from what I've read, most times they raid labs is because a neighbor calls it in. So when I move to my own house somewhere that will be my plan, to just stay under the radar.


So you are saying that NurdRage can withstand audit from the police and other authorities. Then why does he disguise his voice in his YouTube productions?

I wouldn't entirely agree that you can order any legal chemical (in small quantity) without a visit from the authorities. I prefer not to take that chance.

Your solution of keeping your head down and your mouth shut is the one I advocate also. But that does not make you legal in the eyes of the authorities.




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hkparker
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[*] posted on 7-1-2011 at 21:12


Not necessarily, but he is in Canada, and they are more forgiving. Yea not _any_ chemical of course, I wouldnt even try to order I2, red P, or Ether and not expect a visit. But most things are ok. And keeping my head down does make me more legal, just hope it means I wont draw any attention :)



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NurdRage
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[*] posted on 7-1-2011 at 21:46


Quote: Originally posted by Magpie  

So you are saying that NurdRage can withstand audit from the police and other authorities. Then why does he disguise his voice in his YouTube productions?



Don't use arguments from ignorance. Implying i have something illegal to hide just because i disguise my voice is kinda like saying only criminals would not consent to searches.

My reasons for anonymity are my own, but do not attempt to shift the burden of proof: it is on your shoulders to prove illegal activity, not on me to disprove it.

If this discussion is going be on point of law, at least make proper arguments within it.

Sure, my actions might make me highly suspicious, but that is all you really know, do not imply you know anything more about me.

[Edited on 8-1-2011 by NurdRage]
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[*] posted on 7-1-2011 at 23:03


NurdRage I apologize for implying that you might be illegal. I don't consider that you are illegal. I also very much admire your work.

I think that many contributors to this forum, myself included, are only practicing legal chemistry, with the possible exception of minor infractions of environmental or storage laws. But I don't think that any of us are going to invite the authorities over for an inspection.





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cnidocyte
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[*] posted on 8-1-2011 at 07:36


I'm reading a lot of negative things about the police on this forum and others and I agree with the majority of it. Its their job to arrest people and many of them do not care if the person they are arresting is actually guilty of a crime. The system is corrupt to the core, organised criminals exploit the futile legal systems of most western countries of today to the point that they regularly get away with murder, literally. On the other hand people are sent to jail for life for things most people would barely even consider a crime because some geniuses decided to implement a "three strike rule". Its clearly not about whether you are doing something wrong or not, its about whether the authorities decide that you are doing something wrong. Heres a good youtube channel
http://www.youtube.com/user/FlexYourRights
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entropy51
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[*] posted on 8-1-2011 at 08:08


Quote: Originally posted by hkparker  
The only person I've heard of being a registered research facility is NurdRage.
What does someone who posts anonymous videos to youtube have to do with Robert Bruce Thompson, Magpie's example of someone openly practicing home chemistry and publicizing it?
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[*] posted on 17-1-2011 at 13:46


Should I send the below letter to my local law enforcement and fire department or am I asking for trouble?


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

To whom it may concern,

The purpose of this letter is to notify law enforcement and safety officials of the establishment of a small scale home chemistry and biology laboratory at the home owned by NAME & Address.

The lab is being established to support our Son's interest in chemical and biological engineering and is purely educational. The basement, where this lab is being established, is also equipped with a similar scale electrical, software, and robotics engineering lab that were put in place to further our Son's education.

The chemistry lab will be equipped as described in the "Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments" by Author Robert Bruce Thompson. The lab will be equipped with proper safety precautions to include OSHA approved gloves, goggles, apron, fire extinguishers and ventilation. Any residual hazardous materials will be disposed of in accordance with proper hazardous material disposal requirements. All chemicals will be properly stored and safe guarded. Finally, our son has undergone a Chemistry Laboratory Safety Indoctrination at Indiana University.

Our family recognizes that today's environment is different than it was 40 years ago. We understand that a heightened concern exists regarding lawful chemicals, compounds, and materials being used for unlawful purposes. We understand that the term "Chemistry Lab" has, regrettably, become synonymous with drug making and terrorism - to the detriment of this country and its young chemist educations.

That is why we are providing this letter is to notify law enforcement and safety officials of this small scale home laboratory and that the chemicals, compounds, and materials present, are being used strictly for lawful, educational purposes. While the lab will be equipped with forms of chemicals such as Iodine, Ammonium, Sodium, Potassium, Lithium, etc - none will be used to produce illegal substances or used for illegal purposes. All chemistry experiments will be small scale and conducted with parental oversight under controlled conditions.

If you have any questions please feel free to call upon us.
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[*] posted on 17-1-2011 at 14:20


If you are determined to send such a notification I would do so before you have actually purchased anything like iodine or sodium,or expensive glass for that matter.



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[*] posted on 17-1-2011 at 16:35


Starman,

I am not determined to send it - I am considering it though. I am not sure if I am preventing a problem or causing one.

Bye the way, I've already purchased the expensive materials...
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hkparker
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[*] posted on 17-1-2011 at 17:37


I think that would cause problems. Read the thread "So my house was raided today", on page like 6 I think there was a lot of talk about why you _do not_ talk to the police, and it was very convincing.



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[*] posted on 17-1-2011 at 17:58


hkparker,

Thanks - I will read the thread.
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starman
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[*] posted on 18-1-2011 at 15:24


Perhaps its also a good idea to google for the appropriate legislation in your home state(Indiana?) as the acts seem to vary considerably from state to state in the US.Where I am located in Australia it is very clear cut,possession of most types of laboratory glassware is illegal.If you want to practice home chemistry here you are forced to sneak around like a criminal.:(



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[*] posted on 22-1-2011 at 17:33


If home chemistry is illegal in the United States, then how is it that there are multiple stores within a half hours drive of where I live that sell all sorts of laboratory chemicals, glassware and other equipment to the public? High Valley Chemical, which is one of these stores has been in business for around fifty years and continues to sell to the public. If you are not doing illegal shit such as methamphetamine manufacture, I would not personally worry about it, I talk openly about my lab to many people, I think that this is the best option and has benefited me more then harmed me. I can walk into a store and for $30 walk out with 2.5 liters of 70% nitric acid where I live.



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[*] posted on 2-12-2018 at 09:01


In America it really depends on the state. In states like NJ, it’s pretty much illegal although you’ll only really get in trouble if someone complains quite like with most crimes. But if someone does complain, you will end up getting at the very least raided and at worst shot. That last bit is not hyperbole. I actually know a few people who had this exact scenario happen to them while making some sort of pyridine derivative. They couldn’t get on the ground on time:(
Unfortunately this incident never seemed to get the attention of the news as unlike me, they never were that well known within the area. I however was surrounded by people who knew me since I was a baby before I moved so that probably helped me as people are less likely to complain and the cops, knowing who I am are more likely to first ask me to cease and desist, knowing that I am relatively reasonable/hates confrontation and will stop or if requested to do so, get better equipment to say scrub fumes or something.




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[*] posted on 2-12-2018 at 11:24


I've never had any problem with chems or equipment in the US.

Some people, and I'm not pointing any fingers, seem to be magnets for LE. You know, that guy that's always getting pulled over or stopped by the cops. When you look deeper, you'll find that personal behavior and appearance is 99% of this (and I'm not referring to race). There's an argument to be made this shouldn't be the case, but most of these encounters are completely avoidable, in retrospect.

Ironically, most everything chemistry-related I seem to get originates from New Jersey. Go figure.

[Edited on 2-12-2018 by Mr. Rogers]
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