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Author: Subject: Anyone else in the US having issues finding OTC sodium bromide?
SuperOxide
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Anyone else in the US having issues finding OTC sodium bromide?

Before I was really into chemistry, I remember seeing sodium bromide being sold at Home Depot, Walmart, Lowes, etc, and now that I'm into chemistry and have a use for NaBr, it seems that it's very difficult to find (at least in AZ, where I'm at). Places like Home Depot and Walmart have it listed on their website, but you have to order it and it's not at the store unless its in some other product in a minute quantity, which the max I've found was 18% NaBr.

Did this recently become a restricted chemical or something? Didn't find much on it. It doesn't seem like it is, but it's just odd that it's difficult to find. I haven't tried Ace Hardware yet, but I may give that a shot (they also have it listed on their site, but doesn't say they have it at the stores around me).
Texium

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Try a pool supply store. In TX I never saw NaBr at Home Depot, Lowe’s, or Ace, but Leslie’s Pool Supply (which appears to be in AZ as well) had it in stock in 4 pound containers, quite pure stuff. While you’re there, check out their other chemicals. I’ve found 27% hydrogen peroxide there too.

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SuperOxide
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 Quote: Originally posted by Texium (zts16) Try a pool supply store. In TX I never saw NaBr at Home Depot, Lowe’s, or Ace, but Leslie’s Pool Supply (which appears to be in AZ as well) had it in stock in 4 pound containers, quite pure stuff.
Interesting, I haven't tried a store that's specifically for pools, so perhaps that's the ticket. Still odd that it's not found in the stores that I remember seeing it in (my dad use to have a hot tub, so he would get it from one of those stores I believe).

 Quote: Originally posted by Texium (zts16) While you’re there, check out their other chemicals. I’ve found 27% hydrogen peroxide there too.
Badass! However I have like 500mL of concentrated H2O2 (>60% when I tested it about a year ago) that's been in my freezer for the past year and a half. I made it myself by letting some of the water vaporize off at like 80 °C for a while. I ended up not using it, so I have to go in the freezer and open the bottle to relieve some of the pressure. I have no idea why I made so much of it, I don't really have a use for it... yet
Texium

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Maybe you were remembering the brominating tablets (BCDMH)? I’ve seen those at the hardware stores before but never NaBr. Once you get ahold of some NaBr you can use that peroxide and sulfuric acid to make some really clean bromine. That’s my preferred method. Avoids any annoying interhalogens or expensive reagents, and the side products are totally non-hazardous.

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clearly_not_atara
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Separating bromine from BCDMH has been claimed using metabisulfite which supposedly takes Br+ to Br2 and Cl+ to Cl-. len1 wrote a book about it, and some trials are in this thread somewhere:

Kind of annoying, though, since often you just want HBr, which is much less of a handling issue than Br2. For this, the BCDMH separation by redox is a lot of extra work!

US 4254092A suggests another method: https://patents.google.com/patent/US4254092A/en
NH4Cl decomposes at 337 C at one atmosphere while NH4Br is stable up to 450 C. So, by precipitating a mixture of ammonium chloride and bromide, it may be possible to destroy all of the NH4Cl by heating to around 350 C and retain NH4Br.

The patent suggests using organic amines for this, with an eye to recovering everything, but we can afford to lose HCl (usually). Should be tried at small scale first to determine if aerobic oxidation of bromide will be an issue.

[Edited on 04-20-1969 by clearly_not_atara]
SuperOxide
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 Quote: Originally posted by Texium (zts16) Maybe you were remembering the brominating tablets (BCDMH)? I’ve seen those at the hardware stores before but never NaBr.
I suppose that's possible. Would make sense. Since I wasn't as into chemistry back then, I didn't actually look at the details on the back.

 Quote: Originally posted by Texium (zts16) Once you get ahold of some NaBr you can use that peroxide and sulfuric acid to make some really clean bromine. That’s my preferred method. Avoids any annoying interhalogens or expensive reagents, and the side products are totally non-hazardous.
That's exactly what I plan on doing.

 Quote: Originally posted by clearly_not_atara Separating bromine from BCDMH has been claimed using metabisulfite which supposedly takes Br+ to Br2 and Cl+ to Cl-. len1 wrote a book about it, and some trials are in this thread somewhere: https://www.sciencemadness.org/whisper/viewthread.php?tid=69... Kind of annoying, though, since often you just want HBr, which is much less of a handling issue than Br2. For this, the BCDMH separation by redox is a lot of extra work! US 4254092A suggests another method: https://patents.google.com/patent/US4254092A/en NH4Cl decomposes at 337 C at one atmosphere while NH4Br is stable up to 450 C. So, by precipitating a mixture of ammonium chloride and bromide, it may be possible to destroy all of the NH4Cl by heating to around 350 C and retain NH4Br. The patent suggests using organic amines for this, with an eye to recovering everything, but we can afford to lose HCl (usually). Should be tried at small scale first to determine if aerobic oxidation of bromide will be an issue.

I think Tom from Extractions&Ire has a video on processing BCDMH, and I have the book he references in the video, but I can't see me getting a better result than he did. His was definitely contaminated with some Cl2 and BrCl I believe, which I would like to avoid if possible - which I know it's possible to get just the Br2 out of BCDMH, but I don't think I'm skilled enough to do it very well. Getting Br2 from NaBr seems much easier and straight forward.
Texium

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I agree. It’s less expensive too, since BCDMH comes with a lot of wasted baggage, whereas the bulk of NaBr by mass is Br.

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arkoma
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I've bought NaBr at Walmart in Texarkana before, buts its been couple years maybe? have to look next i'm in there.

 Quote: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” and.. “The gentle reader will never, never know what a consummate ass he can become until he goes abroad.” Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad

draculic acid69
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Sodium bromide is rarely otc.only time I've seen it was 85%bcdmh15%nabr.
aab18011
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I found a pure bag of Sodium Bromide off of eBay. They sold me 500g for 10$, and I tested it. It was pretty damn pure... The bag says 99% NaBr and 1% Other. I'm sure a recrystallization would work, or maybe not necessary. https://www.ebay.com/itm/Genesis-Tru-Blu-Salt-Replacement-So... I am the one who boils to dryness, fear me... H He Li B C(12,14) Na S Cl Mn Fe Cu Zn Ba Ag Sn I U(238) "I'd rather die on my feet than live on my knees" -Emiliano Zapata AvBaeyer International Hazard Posts: 585 Registered: 25-2-2014 Location: CA Member Is Offline Mood: No Mood It is still easily available from several pool and spa companies that sell disinfectant chemicals. You just have to search thoroughly and use a brand name, not just "sodium bromide". AvB S.C. Wack bibliomaster Posts: 2387 Registered: 7-5-2004 Location: Cornworld, Central USA Member Is Offline Mood: Enhanced  Quote: Originally posted by Texium (zts16) Maybe you were remembering the brominating tablets (BCDMH)?  Quote: Originally posted by draculic acid69 Sodium bromide is rarely otc.only time I've seen it was 85%bcdmh15%nabr. I've never seen anyone with the last name Kardashian move their lips or heard their voice. They must all be mute? No it's never been in every store of every chain every year, and it would be weird to expect it to be there as brominating is weird and people aren't getting any smarter. Maybe someday soon there will be no more methanol in windshield wiper fluid or straight bleach or HCl, much less anything else that might be there now. "You're going to be all right, kid...Everything's under control." Yossarian, to Snowden draculic acid69 International Hazard Posts: 1274 Registered: 2-8-2018 Member Is Offline  Quote: Originally posted by aab18011 I found a pure bag of Sodium Bromide off of eBay. They sold me 500g for 10$, and I tested it. It was pretty damn pure... The bag says 99% NaBr and 1% Other. I'm sure a recrystallization would work, or maybe not necessary. https://www.ebay.com/itm/Genesis-Tru-Blu-Salt-Replacement-So...

Don't know if eBay is really considered otc.
But eBay is the best place to buy it
Texium

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Just a reminder that this thread was asking about availability in the US, where it is indeed READILY available OTC at at least one national pool supply chain.

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S.C. Wack
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Perhaps some areas are more into hot tubs than others?

If found at a big box national store it will probably be in the form of uneconomical 2 oz packets that are easy to miss.

"You're going to be all right, kid...Everything's under control." Yossarian, to Snowden
Praxichys
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Not really OTC but it's reasonable on Amazon if you have Prime.

My local ACE carries the 2lb bottles but there's a regional owner so I'm not sure if that makes a difference. They're the only local place that still sells gallons of sulfuric acid.
macckone
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It depends on the location and time of year.
People are not using outside hot tubs in the winter in colorado for example.
A pool place will have it but home depot will not.
In April and May it starts turning up in more places and by august they are sold out again.
violet sin
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I've bought it at the local Ace hardware, wallmart and ordered it before. northern california has a lot of pools and mine isn't small. that pesky mustard algae and black algae are devils. NaBr works nicely and can be bought in large quantities, 2 lb packages if memory serves. AZ should have a TON of it...

pool supply world sodium bromide is $22.9/Lb 4 lb is$50

you can buy there or familiarize yourself with the containers and brands, then go ask in store for something you "bought last year, and it worked great". I add the stuff as an adjuviant to other chlorination mixes. after shocking with granules or using liquid chlorinator, ill sprinkle NaBr where it will drift past the offensive spots on the way down. it works like holding your breath and scrubbing by hand wont. hanging by your ankles on the lip to scrub half way down was not fun.
zed
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Ummm. How much do you need? That Draculic-link seems to be offering 10x1LB bags for about \$80.00.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Genesis-Tru-Blu-Salt-Replacement-So...

A triple lifetime supply, for most of us. But, perhaps you have a Pool, a HotTub, or a Spa... In addition to your chemistry interests.

10 pounds of Sodium Bromide. That's a lot of Halogen.

Funny World. My Pyrotechnics guy say yer limited to 1 LB of Potassium Permanganate per year, without a special license. Whereas other vendors seem to be offering it without restrictions. Odd regulatory labyrinth we seem to be entangled in.

A few decades back, an elderly woman friend, was desperate for some Permanganate. Husband had Diabetic ulcers on his feet; soaking in a dilute Permanganate solution, cleans-up such ulcers nicely.

Dr. Wouldn't write a prescription for such a "folksy" remedy, and the Local Pharmacy wouldn't provide Permanganate without a prescription.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Potassium-Permanganate-Condys-Cryst...

Reminds me of the time, I went to a Chem Supplier and enquired about buying a small amount of Nitroethane. Where upon, he responded with: "I can give you a great deal on a 55 Gallon Drum!"

Ah, youth. "Gather ye Rosebuds, while ye may!"

Boy! I'm getting tired of being locked down. Vaccinate me!

I wanna go out on a date!

[Edited on 15-3-2021 by zed]
SuperOxide
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 Quote: Originally posted by zed [...] Funny World. My Pyrotechnics guy say yer limited to 1 LB of Potassium Permanganate per year, without a special license. Whereas other vendors seem to be offering it without restrictions. Odd regulatory labyrinth we seem to be entangled in. A few decades back, an elderly woman friend, was desperate for some Permanganate. Husband had Diabetic ulcers on his feet; soaking in a dilute Permanganate solution, cleans-up such ulcers nicely. Dr. Wouldn't write a prescription for such a "folksy" remedy, and the Local Pharmacy wouldn't provide Permanganate without a prescription. https://www.ebay.com/itm/Potassium-Permanganate-Condys-Cryst...

The permanganate for me was easy to find. I was able to get some Pot Perm Pro for a reasonable price. I haven't used it yet (planned on making some phthalic acid with it, but just extracted it from gloves instead). I did the silly "chemical volcano" thing mixing it with glycerin, but other than that it's just sat on my shelf.

It definitely has some impurities in it though (as you can see from the photo below, or other photos):

The MSDS has KMnO3 listed as the only chemical and at a concentration between 60% to 100%, which is a pretty wide range.

I could recrystallize it, but just haven't gotten around to it yet. Also not sure what solvent is best for it. I see it's soluble in acetone, but it also decomposes in organic solvents, and I'm not too comfortable with the idea of mixing an oxidizer like KMnO3 with a flammable organic solvent such as acetone (or methanol).

[Edited on 15-3-2021 by SuperOxide]
Syn the Sizer
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In Canada all sodium bromide was taken off the shelf, I don't know if all stores have done it yet, but a local spa dealer was told by Health Canada to take it all of the shelf for BCDMH. That is all I can find here now. Pisses me. Off, lucky I still have about 150g left from last year.

Syn'
macckone
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If you can get BCDMH, you can make sodium bromide or bromine.