Re: [Histonet] Picric Acid


I've always been instructed by HAZMAT officials that old picric acid (particularly if crystals have formed under the lid) is an acute explosion hazard. Just opening the jar can cause a large explosion.  I've been in two situations (once in Memphis, Tennessee, once on Honolulu, Hawaii) when either the bomb squad or Army Explosive Ordinance Division came out to remove our picric acid.  (Not at my insistance, but theirs.   I would not open a jar of dry picric acid with crystal formation.  Go to this website for more information.

Jacqueline M. O'Connor HT(ASCP)
Abbott Laboratories
Global Pharmaceutical Research and Development
Discovery Chemotheraputics

John Kiernan <>
Sent by:

11/10/2003 11:11 PM
Please respond to jkiernan

        To:        jim <>, Histonet Listserver <>
        Subject:        Re: [Histonet] Picric Acid

Wash under a tap. Put some water
in the jar if it has dried out.

Picric acid explodes if its temperature
goes above 300C. Sources: Lange's
Handbook of Chemistry, just checked;
also remembered from various textbooks
read over the years.  This cannot happen
in the presence of liquid water.

Nearly all anecdotes about picric acid
explosions in labs are urban legends
(= untrue). For confirmation of this
assertion, check it out with Google,
but allow a couple of hours and use
your brain to evaluate the produce.
> jim wrote:
> Has anyone information or data on the safe disposal
> of Picric Acid (crystals have formed on lid of
> bottle).
> Thanks
> Jim Manavis
> Senior Hospital Scientist
> Department of Neuropathology
> Institute of Medical & Veterinary Science
> Adelaide, SA, 5000
> Australia
> Phone: 61-08-8222-3668
> FAX: 61-08-8222 3204
> e.mail:
> Disclaimer: Not this little black duck!

John A. Kiernan
Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology
The University of Western Ontario
London,   Canada   N6A 5C1

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