Creating a 21st century chemical research laboratory: Hazard assessments and fundamentals webinar
May09

Creating a 21st century chemical research laboratory: Hazard assessments and fundamentals webinar

Coming up this Thursday, May 11, an ACS webinar on “Creating a 21st Century Chemical Research Laboratory: Hazard Assessments and Fundamentals.” The description: Safety in the laboratory requires a full team effort to be successful. When everyone in the laboratory understands how to identify hazards, assess risk, and select the appropriate control measures to eliminate a hazard or minimize risk, accidents, injuries and near misses can be reduced. Join Ralph Stuart, an Environmental Safety Manager at Keene State College, and Kendra Leahy Denlinger of the University of Cincinnati as they discuss the new ACS resources that can support a safer and greener chemistry, and thus better science for the 21st century chemical research laboratory. What You Will Learn What are the newly created ACS technical and cultural resources to support laboratory safety How to incorporate the information provided by ACS’s Hazard Assessment in Research Laboratories in your specific research laboratory What is mechanochemistry and how to carry out chemical reactions without the presence of a solvent Green chemistry case study: how to avoid solvent-intensive process of column chromatography by using functionalized polymer resins which isolate products using simple gravity filtration Register...

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#Chemsafety programming at #ACSSanFran
Mar30

#Chemsafety programming at #ACSSanFran

The 253rd ACS National Meeting starts on Sunday in San Francisco. Here’s what’s planned for chemical and laboratory safety; the Division of Chemical Health & Safety has its usual CHAS-At-A-Glance ready for printing. You can also find CHAS and the Committee on Chemical Safety in the Expo at booth 1125. Note: I did not have time to proofread this after putting it together. If there’s something that you want to see, double-check the time and location with the actual program! SUNDAY, April 2 Morning Division of Chemical Health & Safety Executive Committee Meeting (agenda book); 8:00 am-noon, Park Central, Franciscan I room Afternoon High School Program; 1:00-4:25 pm; SF Marriott Marquis, Golden Gate C2 room (CHED, WCC) Establishing a culture of laboratory safety in secondary education Sex, drugs, and the high school chemistry curriculum Best Practices in Selecting & Presenting Safety Training Content; 1:30-3:20 pm; Park Central, Olympic room (CHAS, CCS, PRES) Connecting safety culture to the educational mission Preliminary results of the chemical safety information and education survey Building safety culture through targeted training Flipped classroom techniques in safety training Relevant content, positive attitude, and memorable presentation Ask Dr. Safety: Chemical & Occupational Safety in the Cannabis Industry; 3:35-5:15 pm; Park Central, Olympic room (CHAS, CCS) Sensible approach to workplace drug testing for cannabis Chemical and occupational safety in the cannabis industry MONDAY, April 3 Morning Committee on Chemical Safety meeting; 7:00-11:30 am; Hilton SF Union, Continental Ballroom 6 Textbooks & the Practice of Science: Before, During & After Gutenberg; 8:45-11:25 am; Park Central, Metropolitan III room (CINF, CHED, HIST) Supporting transmission of knowledge for chemical safety education: An information workflow supplement to the laboratory textbook Cannabis: Emerging Challenges in Regulations, Product Analysis & Processing; 9:00-11:25 am; Park Central, Olympic room (CHAS, CCS, SCHB) Cannabis analysis: An overview of testing requirements and challenges in a rapidly emerging industry Quality control analysis of contaminants in the medical cannabis market in California: Pesticide, plant growth regulators, residual solvents, and microbiological contaminants in cannabis, cannabis extracts, and cannabis infused products States as cannabis laboratories: The far-reaching implications of federal non-recognition in the regulation of marijuana contaminants Assessing regulatory compliance at medical cannabis operations in the United States for patient focused certification Challenges cannabis laboratories face in product analysis representative samples Hemp as a nutritional supplement: Ensuring potency, safety, and regulatory compliance in manufacturing cannabis-derived health products Teaching Laboratory Safety in the Undergraduate Chemistry Curriculum, exhibitor workshop by Flinn Scientific; 9:30 am-noon; Moscone Center room 250 Afternoon Undergraduate Research Posters; noon-2:00 pm; Moscone Center, Hall D (CHED) Chemical safety and chemical disposal Cannabis: Emerging Challenges in Regulations, Product Analysis & Processing; 1:30-4:05...

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Exploding pumps trigger Sciex mass spectrometer alert
Mar29

Exploding pumps trigger Sciex mass spectrometer alert

From Marc Reisch’s story at C&EN: Scientific instrument maker Sciex has told owners of more than 2,000 mass spectrometers to immediately shut down the instruments because a catastrophic failure of turbo pumps manufactured by Agilent Technologies could “result in serious injury or death.” To date, Sciex says, no one has been injured. According to a safety notice dated March 13 for owners of API 4000, API 4000 Qtrap, and API 5000 model mass spectrometers, the rotors of the TV 801 turbo pump can suddenly fragment and be ejected at high speeds. The pumps are used to create a high negative pressure in the instrument’s vacuum chamber. For more, go read Marc’s story or see the information on Sciex’s...

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Hazardous reactions database launched
Mar15

Hazardous reactions database launched

From my story at C&EN: A nonprofit group today released a database tool chemists can use to share information about hazardous chemical reactions. Called the Chemical Safety Library, the tool was developed by a group that included representatives from pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions. “We feel this will be a valuable and unique set of data that is currently not available and should advance safety for all researchers,” says Carmen Nitsche, executive director for business development in North America at the Pistoia Alliance, which brings together companies, vendors, publishers, and academic groups to address research and development challenges in the life sciences industry. Go read my story for more. This seems like it could be a very valuable resource for chemists to learn from others’ accidents and near-misses, but only if people put in the effort to share their own...

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From the archives: UC Berkeley lab demolished when molten salt bath explodes
Mar01

From the archives: UC Berkeley lab demolished when molten salt bath explodes

More from last week’s trip into the C&EN archives. From Oct. 11, 1982: Molten salt baths cited as lab hazards A University of California, Berkeley, lab has been rebuilt and is ready for use again after being demolished in late July by the explosion of a molten salt bath. Berkeley chemistry and chemical engineering faculty members are concerned that many researchers are unaware of the potential dangers of these commonly used heat-transfer media. The explosion involved a glass polymer-synthesis apparatus immersed in a fused salt bath containing 3 lb of sodium nitrite and 1 lb of potassium thiocyanate. The bath had been heated above 270 °C using a hot plate. The experiment was being conducted in a closed fume hood. The explosion, which Berkeley faculty members estimate had the force of about 1 lb of dynamite, caused more than $200,000 damage to the new lab. The doors of the fume hood were imbedded in a wall 20 feet from the point of explosion and the interior walls of the lab were bulged outward. The chemical engineering graduate student conducting the experiment escaped probable death only because he was bending over to work on a floor vacuum pump at the time of the explosion. Book references to molten salts imply that they may be used freely, according to C. Judson King, dean of Berkeley’s College of Chemistry. “Molten salts are safe – that’s the message,” he says. Some may be, but others clearly are not. Mixtures of salts for heat transfer are common and are marketed commercially. Such commercial mixtures contain, for example, potassium nitrate, sodium nitrate, and sodium nitrite. King points out that, in the commercial mixtures, all of the components are oxidizers. In the mixture that exploded at Berkeley, thiocyanate, a reducer, was included and seems to have triggered the explosion. Mixtures that contain only nitrate and thiocyanate do not seem to explode. The explosive reaction involved nitrite and thiocyanate. The literature is not of much help in elucidating the problem. The dangers of the mixture are not mentioned in the molten salt safety review in the Journal of Hazardous Materials, King says. An extensive literature review carried out by King unearthed a 1945 Soviet publication that reported that some mixtures of potassium nitrite and potassium thiocyanate exploded when heated above 370 °C. “A small community of industrial chemists is aware of the dangers of molten salt baths,” King says. “However, the information does not seem to have filtered down to the rest of the chemical community.” –Rudy Baum, C&EN San...

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Safety workshops before #ACSSanFran
Feb28

Safety workshops before #ACSSanFran

The American Chemical Society’s Division of Chemical Health & Safety is running workshops on the Friday and Saturday before the society’s National Meeting in San Francisco in April  Friday, March 31: Laboratory Waste Management Lab Safety – Beyond the Fundamentals Saturday, April 1: How to be a More Effective Chemical Hygiene Officer Reactive Chemical Management for Laboratories & Pilot Plants Using ACS Lab Safety Resources in the Classroom Cannabis Chemistry Extraction & Analysis Cost and registration information is here. The division plans to run the same workshops before the ACS national meeting in Washington, D.C., in...

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From the archives: Chemists move wall with hydrogen peroxide explosion
Feb22

From the archives: Chemists move wall with hydrogen peroxide explosion

More from my trip into the archives earlier this week. From Nov. 20, 1978: Explosive peroxides SIR: We would like to alert persons to possible hazards involved with the rather common laboratory procedure of dissolving electrophoresis polyacrylamide gels with hydrogen peroxide, in order to measure radioactive species by scintillation counting. Recently a very violent explosion occurred in one of our laboratories which caused complete destruction of a hood and moved a cinder-block wall located 30 feet from the blast. Kick-out panels and glass were blown out of the laboratory and chemicals on shelves in the adjacent laboratory were knocked to the floor. Fortunately the blast occurred when the labs were vacant, or otherwise severe injury or loss of life would certainly have occurred to personnel. The blast apparently occurred due to the formation of explosive peroxides formed from the solubilization of polyacrylamide gels and subsequent counting procedures. The procedure used was basically the following: Polyacrylamide gels (1 cm2) were dissolved with the addition of 0.6 ml of 30% H202, and the resulting solution was added to a scintillation cocktail consisting of a 1:1 mixture of toluene and 2-ethoxyethanol along with scintillation fluors. After the samples were counted for 14C, the contents of all scintillation vials were pooled and concentrated over low heat on a hot plate in the hood. Eventually the radiological safety officer was to dispose of the material. Material had been accumulating in the hood for three to four weeks. Addition of hydrogen peroxide to the polyacrylamide gels could result in the formation of peracids azo- or nitro-compounds. This mixture was then added to the toluene-ethoxyethanol cocktail, and hydrogen peroxide not used in solubilization of the gel could form explosive adducts with the ether. Tests of a commercial cocktail mixture showed that peroxides were present even before the hydrogen peroxide was added. The procedure used for dissolving the gels is used by many laboratories and had been used for three years in our labs without incidence. We recommend that either alternate methods be used to solubilize the gels or that the peroxides be immediately destroyed after scintillation counting. –Dennis W. Darnall, Professor of Chemistry, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces And a response, from May 21, 1979: SIR: This is in response to Prof. D. W. Darnall’s chemical safety letter on “Explosive peroxides” in C&EN, Nov 22, 1978, page 47. It is by no means necessary to invoke the formation of an organic peroxide to understand the explosion described by Darnall. Mixtures containing strong hydrogen peroxide and soluble organic matter have been known to be explosive for many years. See, for example, E. S. Shanley and F....

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From the archives: Chemists lose hands from peroxide explosions
Feb21

From the archives: Chemists lose hands from peroxide explosions

Regarding the inadvertent synthesis of TATP at the University of Bristol, someone commented at “In The Pipeline”: I recall a C&EN story from the early 1980s about a group at K (Kansas or Kentucky?) preparing a batch of 100% H2O2. It exploded during purification and blew off a corner of the building. I vaguely recall a picture of the lab walls completely blown out. I believe they (Kansas? Kentucky?) shut down their chemistry program after that incident before restoring it after a couple of years. I dug into our archives to see if I could find the incident in question. I haven’t been able to find it, but I did dig up some other interesting stories: From July 21, 1952: Chemist Loses Hand in Performic Acid Explosion Five milliliters of performic acid exploded recently at Laval University, Quebec, Canada, tearing off the right hand of a graduate student and smashing all glassware in a radius of 2 to 3 feet. Numerous glass slivers were driven into his skin and into one of his eyes. According to information from the student, A. Weingartshofer-Olmos, and Paul A. Giguere, professor of physical chemistry at Laval, a small receiving flask containing the 5 ml of approximately 90% performic acid was being removed from the still when it detonated for no apparent reason. The acid had been prepared by the addition of 25 grams of 99% hydrogen peroxide to 20 grams of 99% formic acid in the presence of 6.5 grams of concentrated sulfuric acid as catalyst. After two hours for reaching equilibrium, the mixture was distilled under reduced pressure (5 to 10 mm Hg) at 30° to 35° C. This preparation had been performed several times before in the same manner without any mishap. The material was known to be dangerous and adequate precautions were taken. All glassware was thoroughly cleaned in fuming sulfuric acid. The distillation apparatus was entirely assembled through ground glass joints and no lubricant of any sort was used. The still was connected to a dry-ice trap, manometer, and vacuum pump through a length of Tygon tubing. Only 5 to 10 milliliters of the acid was prepared at a time. As nothing unusual had happened while the material was heated for distillation and as the distillate was kept at —10° to — 15° C , the operator felt that the danger period was over. He removed his face shield, pushed aside the two safety screens, and reached for the receiving flask. As he was about to touch the discharge tube to collect a pendant drop, the flask exploded. Like all peroxides and ozonides, performic acid is unstable, since it...

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