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Author: Subject: What are most dangerous toxic chemicals you are comfortable handling in your home lab?
teodor
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[*] posted on 1-12-2020 at 09:28


Quote: Originally posted by MidLifeChemist  

Everyone - since we are talking about various gases like HCN, H2S, HBr, etc. - I found this very interesting page which lists IDLH
values / estimates (Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health) for a large number of compounds. Like @itsallgoodjames mentioned, the level for ozone is much lower than other gases mentioned in this thread.
https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/idlh/intridl4.html


I just repeat what I said before - without additional study this table is totally misleading.
According to this table these compounds have approximately the same level of danger: Arsine, Bromine, Chlorine Dioxide, Iodine, Ketene, Nickel Carbonyl, Ozone, Phosgene.
And, according to IDLH, any of them is 5-10 times more dangerous than fluorine.

I never heard about deadly accident of ozone poisoning in a home lab. But cases of deadly accidental poisoning with cyanide in a home lab are well-known, probably the case of Alan Turing is the most notable one. The same with Ketene vs Phosgene. The latter have many souls on its account while the former has virtually no reported cases.

Was one aware about 10 ppm OSHA PEL of acetic acid when he was making his salad? So, there is should be no difference to make it with iso-propyl bromide or benzene next time, according to OSHA.

Edit: I personally often use this table as well as OSHA PEL to plan general order of my experiments. This allow me to postpone working with some dangerous/nasty substances until I will have a better equipment/techniques. And I totally agree with what B(a)P said. One should study all available information as much as possible and postpone doing those things his lab is not suitable yet.


[Edited on 2-12-2020 by teodor]
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MidLifeChemist
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[*] posted on 2-12-2020 at 10:37


I think it is also interesting to look at industrial accidents, although it is true they are using chemicals at a much, much larger scale.

For example, there have been many deaths / accidents in the USA involving Na2S or NaHS. It helps remind me to be careful with my Sodium sulfide (I have a 1lb bottle) and that mistakes can happen.

https://www.csb.gov/csb-releases-safety-bulletin-warning-of-...

And if you want to look at non-industrial accidents, I think death from trimethylsilyldiazomethane tops the list.

[Edited on 12/3/2020 by MidLifeChemist]
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[*] posted on 22-12-2020 at 16:20


I had around 15ml of liquid N2O4/NO2 (I had because after months it destroyed jar cap 5 times and converted into iron nitrate, the rest in flasks turned into blue liquid- maybe N2O3?), now I have few grams potassium cyanide, sodium cyanide, nickel sulfate and few others.
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[*] posted on 24-12-2020 at 17:25


The most toxic chemical I've handled is probably bromoethane.



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[*] posted on 1-1-2021 at 06:49


The most toxic compound I had, was dimethylcadmium.
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[*] posted on 1-1-2021 at 07:45


Anyone know what melgar likely died from? It looks like he probably unpacked some chemicals from storage shortly before his death.



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[*] posted on 1-1-2021 at 07:59


The most toxic compound I ever worked with is probably thallium nitrate (but as a dilute solution, I never worked with solid stuff).

The most toxic things I have are:

Potassium dichromate

Small amount of mercury (elementar mercury isn't much toxic, it's very unreactive and evaporate incredibly slowly at room temperature, but it can be easily converted in to toxic mercury compounds)

Sodium selenite

Vanadium pentoxide

Ammonium fluoride

Small amount of diethylenetriamine and his pentamethyl analogue

Diethyleneglykol

When I work with inorganic, I am comfortable to work with most of chemicals. I dare not to work with cyanides, asrenic and his compounds and hydrofluoric acid (at least for now). I don't want to work with some very toxic gases like cynogen, HCN, PH3, AsH3, H2Se etc. But I am comfortable to work with small amounts of H2S. I don't feel to make elementary bromine - honestly, I don't have good glasware and fumehood, so I simply cannot make it. Bromine fumes like a hell and I live in housing estate, so this isn't good idea. If I really need some bromine, I'll make fresh bromine water just before I'll need it. I do mostly inorganic, so water and KHSO4 or something like that isn't problem in most cases. I don't work with large amounts of chlorine from the same reason - lack of good glassware for working with large amount of gases and living in housing estate.

I am not comfortable with working with some organic stuff, because I have just basic knowledge about organic chemistry. I also don't have space and money for buying various apparatus, magnetic stirrers etc., so I am also very limited in this field. I also don't know where to buy lots of useful organic chemicals, this is another problem.

[Edited on 1-1-2021 by Bedlasky]




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[*] posted on 1-1-2021 at 09:02


Quote: Originally posted by Bedlasky  
The most toxic compound I ever worked with is probably thallium nitrate (but as a dilute solution, I never worked with solid stuff).

The most toxic things I have are:

Potassium dichromate

Small amount of mercury (elementar mercury isn't much toxic, it's very unreactive and evaporate incredibly slowly at room temperature, but it can be easily converted in to toxic mercury compounds)

Sodium selenite

Vanadium pentoxide

Ammonium fluoride

Small amount of diethylenetriamine and his pentamethyl analogue

Diethyleneglykol

When I work with inorganic, I am comfortable to work with most of chemicals. I dare not to work with cyanides, asrenic and his compounds and hydrofluoric acid (at least for now). I don't want to work with some very toxic gases like cynogen, HCN, PH3, AsH3, H2Se etc. But I am comfortable to work with small amounts of H2S. I don't feel to make elementary bromine - honestly, I don't have good glasware and fumehood, so I simply cannot make it. Bromine fumes like a hell and I live in housing estate, so this isn't good idea. If I really need some bromine, I'll make fresh bromine water just before I'll need it. I do mostly inorganic, so water and KHSO4 or something like that isn't problem in most cases. I don't work with large amounts of chlorine from the same reason - lack of good glassware for working with large amount of gases and living in housing estate.

I am not comfortable with working with some organic stuff, because I have just basic knowledge about organic chemistry. I also don't have space and money for buying various apparatus, magnetic stirrers etc., so I am also very limited in this field. I also don't know where to buy lots of useful organic chemicals, this is another problem.

[Edited on 1-1-2021 by Bedlasky]


Potassium dichromate is often considered very dangerous. For some reason I never thought so, the main thing is not to inhale its dust. Dropping on the hand and similar actions are acceptable to me or spilling the solution on the skin. Also I do not have fumehood so I'm forced to let everything go in the atmosphere.
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[*] posted on 1-1-2021 at 09:26


Potassium dichromate is banned at my university for educational use. Only research laboratories are allowed to use it.

Actually, anything with H340, H350 and H360 is banned within educational labs; they can be stored, but not used.

I'll leave it to your imagination to guess how sad some laboratories are. You got these professors who used to carry out synthetic labs where they made azo dyes, Ni and Cr complexes, and all they can do now is soap making and Al salts, or oxalates.





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[*] posted on 1-1-2021 at 09:46


Valeg it is very bad. I started studying at the university this year. It is considered to be the best university in my country, but I have not seen a single flask yet. There were incredible reagents left in the school after the collapse of the Soviet Union. There are plenty of reagents, but I have never seen any reaction, so I try to get as much compound as possible. I also find that chemistry around the world has become very weak. Compared to old German and Soviet sources, after 20 centuries such large-scale studies in chemistry no longer took place. I can not understand why they want compounds if dont use them. If I had the reagents that were in my school, I would now be a professor of practical chemistry :D
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[*] posted on 12-1-2021 at 13:49


Btw, how are extremely toxic reagents like dimethylmercury handled in professional labs? In a negative pressure glove box? How do they decontaminate the equipment after use?
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[*] posted on 17-1-2021 at 04:07


Quote: Originally posted by Fyndium  
Btw, how are extremely toxic reagents like dimethylmercury handled in professional labs? In a negative pressure glove box? How do they decontaminate the equipment after use?


One of my profs used to handle incredibly potent cytotoxic compounds that are used to make antibody-nanoparticle-cytotoxic type molecules that are designed for targeted cancer chemotherapy.

Said cytotoxic compounds were so potent that less a milligram would likely be fatal.

He said they used a glovebox but I'm not sure if it was neg pressure, but there were very stringent measures taken in their handling, particularly in decontamination.

As for dimethylmercury there's the added danger of it's volatility, so negative pressure is a bad idea here as it'll cause more to evaporate. I would think that it is largely handled diluted in a suitable solvent and syringed from bottle to flask to minimise vapours from escaping and using certain gloves as it is able to permeate many materials but this is a guess, I have never, and will never, use that stuff.
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[*] posted on 19-5-2021 at 02:47


I extracted ricin and abrin from beans in my kitchen. Began to vomiting blood, and had bloody faeces. Think it's a few milligram is deadly dose.



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[*] posted on 19-5-2021 at 03:04


Extracted ricin in my kitchen? Sounds like a premise of a detective story. :D

Quote: Originally posted by medchemist  
As for dimethylmercury there's the added danger of it's volatility, so negative pressure is a bad idea here as it'll cause more to evaporate.


Do you say that sub-millibar negative pressure would increase it's volatility to a substantial degree?
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[*] posted on 26-6-2021 at 04:11


reading toxicity based on lethal dose is silly imo. ive tried being poisoned with fluorides (through welding smoke) and its quite nasty stuff. but theres so many places you get exposed to it, its an accumulative poison. mercury would def be the worst of accumulative poisons causing very rapid and irreversible brain damage, i believe exactly mercury is what killed my grandmother through faulty medicinal practices. just metallic mercury particles inserted near growing brain neurons will cause them to collapse roughly 3 times as fast as they grow, "2 drops of organic mercury" video sheds light on how nightmarish it really is. i do have half a kg of mercury that i keep locked up however. i also have some lead acetate i keep locked up along with the mercury
i also have a bottle of potassium chlorochromate, it constantly generates chlorine gas from the HCl in there, so if youre in for that kind of a rollercoaster you can have a try, cranking it open my buddy called it "instant swimming pool"

i also have some vials of ammonium sulfide, H2S is super toxic.
seeing selenium compounds is listed as toxic, i have H2SeO4 that i ironically use to avoid mercury toxicity




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[*] posted on 26-6-2021 at 12:11


Quote: Originally posted by roXefeller  
It looks like he probably unpacked some chemicals from storage shortly before his death.


The most dangerous chemicals are those you don't know you have. I had a fun experience with carbon that might be mentionable.

I bought some bone char for some experiments that didn't work; the package said 0-16-0 (NPK) as though it was sold as a soil amendment, but it wasn't sold to me in that way, and it didn't come to me from that seller on the label. (neither party offers any charcoal now) Now I considered it for decolorizing (gallic acid from nutgalls) because of the somewhat granular size. It didn't work for decolorizing either. Maybe it ought to be washed with HCl...fwoosh...instant H2S...A truly staggering amount of gas, bubbling out for a long time too. There is absolutely no indication that this isn't virgin charcoal otherwise. H2S is fine when you're expecting it...

It seems that this is spent carbon which had been used to desulfurize something somewhere. No one wants to admit this for some reason.

I've mentioned a similar experience with pottery grade BaCO3 which was in fact *heavily* contaminated with BaS.

[Edited on 27-6-2021 by S.C. Wack]




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[*] posted on 2-7-2021 at 23:04


Is Ozone really that bad as said earlier in this thread?
I mean ozone generators sold just specify nobody should not be in the room while the unit is running and one should open a window after to air out the ozone smell.
I have done lot of experimentation with high voltage and tesla coils in the past where the ozone smell was strong when running the high voltage.
I didnt feel any bad effects breathing the air even it did smell ozone.
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[*] posted on 2-7-2021 at 23:16


I had lung pain maybe one hour after breathing air with relatively low concentration of ozone.



If you are interested in aqueous inorganic chemistry look at https://colourchem.wordpress.com/main-page/

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[*] posted on 3-7-2021 at 00:23


Very strange i didnt get the same effects.
I know ozone smells at very low concentrations but i must have got some when being in that room playing with high voltage.
Maybe the concentrations are lower than one think as low concentrations also smell.
Wikipedia says as little as 0.1 ppm in air smells.
It also says:
All portable indoor air cleaning devices sold in California must be certified by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). To be certified, air cleaners must be tested for electrical safety and ozone emissions, and meet an ozone emission concentration limit of 0.050 parts per million.

Thats extremly low levels.
Im going to try an homemade ozone generator in some chemistry experiments (i know peroxides and explosion risks) and the Ozone generator unit is specified at 48 grams/hour.
If ozone levels over 0.050 parts per million is dangerous i will be dead just turning this device on for a couple of seconds.
Maybe one must be in high concentrations for a long time for it to be that dangerous as they say.
Also ozone decomposes fast in temperatures over 0°C, at least in solutions.
I wonder why there isnt more regulations and warnings if ozone is this dangerous as stated in many places.

Is the dangerous ozone levels set way too low or what?
Anyone know?
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[*] posted on 3-7-2021 at 04:15


Quite often those limits are set very low, the chemical industry is one such example.
Also it is quite a different if this exposure is continous and permanent, quite different from incidental exposure with the proper precautions.
Smoke from burning wood is also quite unhealty, daily exposure to high concentrations will shorten your lifespan.
A couple whiffs every now and then is probably not measurable.




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[*] posted on 3-7-2021 at 07:02


Occupational exposure is never comparable to occasional and rare exposure. Workforce can be exposed to the materials for 8-12 hours a day, 5-7 days a week around the year. Hence, even decimal ppm concentrations can cause exposure to quite significant amounts over the year, for every whiff you intake few nanograms or so, but over the year you easily get grams of it in your body.

This is why I first look LD50, LC50 and known carcinogenic and biopersistent aspects, because they give a much better idea how careful you have to be.

Also, looking into perspective, some time ago I realized I treated sodium cyanide as an ultra-dangerous superpoison that I used excessive safety gear, but then I once handled a powder in free room air without any protection that had three times lower LD50. It was considered toxic without lasting effects (unless fatal) and it did not have any major warning signs like NFPA blue 4, but the actual LD50 surprised me.
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[*] posted on 3-7-2021 at 21:33


NO2, Chlorine, Chloroacetone, H2S, SO3, Ozone, Ketene, Benzene, Mercury Nitrate, Mercury Acetate, lots of other stuff.

I try to avoid Dioxin and PCBs and Neurotoxins like Organophosphates and organo-mercury compounds.

It all comes down to what you can safely deal with and how worried you are about long term exposure.
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[*] posted on 3-7-2021 at 22:02


Probably uranyl acetate is my most dangerous. But it is pretty tame sitting in its jar.
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[*] posted on 4-7-2021 at 02:50


Lets say you want to do some reactions in your home lab that call for using one of the more high toxic compounds.
One can get one of these 3M 6800-type Full Face Respirator masks (or the Chinese copies) and attach different filters to them.
The filters are for different categories of chemicals like organic vapours, acid compounds, ammonia type compounds etc...
The Chinese copies are just about 40Euros, quite cheap for a life insurance.
But do these work good and is it safe if a accident happen and im wearing one of these?
Do any of you use such masks?
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