RE: Isopentane

From:"Smith, Allen"

	Isopentane does not mix with water.  If you send it down the drain,
it will form a flammable film on the settling pond at the sewage treatment
plant.  There is a small chance that the film might catch fire.  There is
also a chance that the film of isopentane will poison the bacteria that
treat the sewage and disrupt the treatment plant for a day or two.  That
will make many people very unhappy.
	If you have only a few milliliters, you can set it out in a beaker
in a fume hood and let it evaporate.  It will, of course, add to outdoor air
pollution and the greenhouse effect.
	If you have a few hundred milliliters, the best thing to do is to
recycle it by distillation.  Because isopentane boils at 28 C, this can be
done only in a well air conditioned lab. Work in a fume hood, use a
fractionating column, and heat the isopentane with a heating mantle.  NEVER
	If you don't want to recycle the isopentane yourself, you'll have to
pay a waste hauler.  If you use a waste hauler, try to combine your waste
hydrocarbons with as many other department's wastes as possible.  Small
waste hauling jobs are usually charged for by the trip.  While waiting for
the waste hauler, store the isopentane in a tightly closed bottle in a
vented flammables cabinet.  Isopentane is very volatile and tends to leak
around lids.  If the flammables cabinet is not vented an explosive
concentration of isopentane can build up inside the flammables cabinet.
	A fourth way to get rid of isopentane is to add it to the heating
oil used to heat your hospital or school (or even to your home heating oil).
You can add 1 ounce (29 ml) of isopentane to a gallon of heating oil without
seriously affecting its burning rate.  This would be the ideal method of
disposal but for the fact that the EPA requires some inconvenient paperwork.
Don't add the isopentane to your automotive gasoline, it burns too fast and
will cause knocking.

Allen A. Smith, Ph.D.
Barry University
School of Graduate Medical Sciences
    Podiatric Medicine and Surgery
Miami Shores, Florida  33161-6695

-----Original Message-----
From: carmen loiselle []
Sent: Monday, June 09, 2003 12:14 PM
Subject: Isopentane

After reading few of the messages sent about the isopentane, I have to say
that I'm very concern.  We have a deep freezer in our lab in which, half of
it , contains  containers fill with isopentane.   Specimens embedded in OCT,

are stored in vials containing isopentane, in different levels.  I told my
supervisor about my concerns (specially after viewing the damage done in
Arkansas lab), saying that we should change our storage habit.  She agreed
and suggest, decanting the isopentane into a metal container, leaving the
specimen wrapped in aluminium foil in a cryovial (at -80C).   Then dispose
the isopentane by flushing it down the drain with running warm water.  Does
it seems to you, the right way to do it ??  How about the environment ??

A very concern lab tech .

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