Re: picric acid - it does happen

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From:Philip Oshel <>
To:Connie McManus <>
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We keep ours in their original bottles in the fixative 'frig. For 
use, we take out a bottle, remove what we need, and put the rest back 
(we use it for catalyzing the polymerization of corrosion-casting 

I don't think putting the benzoyl peroxide in a ceramic dish under a 
glass petri plate behind a glass window (fume hood sash) is a good 
idea. That's a lot of shrapnel if you have another explosion.


>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)

Philip Oshel
Supervisor, AMFSC and BBPIC
Dept. of Animal Health and Biomedical Sciences
University of Wisconsin
1656 Linden Drive
Madison,  WI  53706-1581
voice: (608) 263-4162
fax: (608) 262-7420 (dept. fax)

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