RE: Daily Digest

Phosgene is not the same thing as mustard gas (more correctly called mustard
Phosgene is an asphyxiant while mustard agent is a vesicant.
I can't do subscripts so I'll have to write the formulas out longhand:
Phosgene is composed of one carbon, two chlorines and an oxygen atom.
Mustard agent has 4 carbons, eight hydrogens, two chlorines and a sulphur.

Rosalind Dalefield

Rosalind Dalefield BVSc PhD DABVT DABT
Senior Research Scientist, Toxicology
5 Portarlington Road
VIC 3220

-----Original Message-----
From: RNP []
Sent: Monday, September 10, 2001 9:14 AM
To: HistoNet Server
Subject: RE: Daily Digest



I did the same years ago - But the smell of burning chloroform was a big NO
NO! When you burn chloroform you produce phosgene (Mustard Gas) a most
deadly product which was used in WW1 as a major weapon in France.

I did this as a junior lab assistant to the horror of our then
immunohistochemist who smelt the gas from four closed rooms away!
Fortunately he knew what it was and alerted the lab.

Fortunately not too many labs use chloroform these days!

I put this down as one of the most stupid things that I have done in my
life! It might be interesting to hear some other tales of other mishaps in
histo labs which serv e as safety warnings.

On that note, in the same (1960's)lab we used radiators. Guess what - the
bung came out of an alcohol container and twenty litres of alcohol poured
onto a radiator. The subsequent fire almost burned the technical assistant
who was filling a beaker with the alcohol to death. She slipped and fell
into the conflagration (85% third degree burns  about 5 years to return to
any sort of "normal" life) Very lucky to survive!

After this the NSW Health Dept revised all its safety regulations.

Richard Powell
Lab Manager
Royal Darwin Hospital

-----Original Message-----
From: HistoNet Server []
Sent: Sunday, 9 September 2001 2:52 PM
To: HistoNet Server
Subject: Daily Digest


Date: 8 Sep 2001 11:23:53 -0500
From: Lesley Weston 
Subject: Re: Disposal of Used Paraffin (Long)

(a),(b) and (c) are all excellent reasons not to make candles out of used
paraffin, but there is also (d) used paraffin contains chloroform or
whatever clearing agent is used. I used to make candles as you describe (oil
red O was particularly pretty). But then we noticed that as they burned, the
room filled with the smell of chloroform, so I stopped. One could make
Christmas tree ornaments instead, or one could just throw the wax away, as
you suggest.

Lesley Weston.

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