Re: picric acid - it does happen

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From:Connie McManus <>,
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Dr Bob, 

thanks for this informative new clip.  I keep my picric acid in very small
quantities (approx. 50 g) with enough water to cover the top.  The only
thing I use this for is the Picric Acid/ Acetone solution in my gram stain,
so it doesn't matter that the PA is wet.  

This brings me to another question... I have benzoyl peroxide in my lab and
I am very concerned with the best way to store it as it is another very
explosive chemical.  When I worked at Ohio State University, I had a BPO
explosion in my lab.  I was drying 0.5g in the oven (35 C), but instead of
putting it on the rack, I made the blunder of putting it directly on the
bottom of the oven.  I left the lab for  a minute.  When I came back, the
oven door was open and blue smoke was wafting out (it had just happened
milliseconds before I came into the lab).  This caused all sorts of
excitement... the campus fire dept. came, all the employees had to leave
the building and my favorite, the firement tried to get into my lab by
chopping it with their handy axe.  Luckily, I was able to stop them and
open the door with my key.  So, in order to prevent history from repeating
itself, if anyone has suggestions on the best way to store BPO, I would
love to hear from you.   Right now, I keep some in my fume hood in a
ceramic dish with a large glass petri dish cover over it.  The fume hood
sash is always kept closed... I figure if it blows, the fumes & smoke will
at least be vented out.   

Thanks in advance for your helpful suggestions!  

Connie McManus
Veterinary Daignostics Lab
Utah State University
Logan, Utah

At 01:25 PM 06/24/2000 -0400, wrote:
>The following story appeared in this morning's Knoxville TN News-Sentinel 
>(June 24th, 2000):
>'Mouse House' Operations Resume
>Operations returned to normal Friday at Oak Ridge National Laboratory's
>House a day after two bottles of potentially explosive picric acid were 
>removed and disposed of, officials said.
>About 70 employees at the research facility were told to stay home Thursday 
>because safety concerns were raised during a chemical inventory.
>"This was all a safety precaution," said Marty Goolsby, a laboratory 
>Gollsby said acid in the bottles had crystallized and dried, making it 
>shock-sensitive and potentially hazardous. The Mouse House, which is inside 
>the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant, houses thousands of specially bred mice for 
>genetic experiments. Only a few personnel were allowed inside the facility 
>Thursday to feed the mice and do essential maintenance.
>Bob Richmond
>Samurai Pathologist
>Knoxville TN (near Oak Ridge)

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