A few weeks ago, “Kenrod” left this comment on my post about the new safety policy for ACS journals:
So check out the Experimental in the Supporting Information of this Communication in the very first JACS issue of 2017: J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2017, 139 (1), 19; http://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/jacs.6b09889
The first two procedures describe the prepn of trinitroaniline (TNA) and triaminotrinitrobenzene (TATB). Both are known explosives. No hazard warnings whatsoever, not even a peep.
The paper was reviewed and published before the new policy went into effect. Nevertheless, I contacted JACS editor Peter Stang to ask him about it–in particular, how he’d like to see these sort of safety hazards addressed in JACS in the future.
Stang first noted that he did not handle this particular paper, because it was authored some of his colleagues at the University of Utah.
That acknowledged, “Clearly safety is an absolutely critical issue, and it’s also a very complex issue,” he said. He pointed to one source of complexity as quantity, because there may be different safety concerns depending on whether you’re making a few milligrams, a few grams, or several kilograms of a particular compound. Another source of complexity is that toxicity is difficult to determine when a brand new compound is synthesized. “To do toxicity tests on every new compound made is not feasible,” Stang said.
However, when there are known safety issues, such as in the above paper, “we will require authors to provide a warning, even if they don’t know the full details or extent of toxicity, explosiveness, or other properties,” Stang said.
And to that end, JACS has now issued a correction to the paper that adds this to the materials and experimental methods sections of the supporting information:
Warning: 2,4,6-Trinitroaniline (TNA) and 1,3,5-triamino-2,4,6-trinitrobenzene (TATB) are very
sensitive and highly explosive. They should be handled with extreme caution.