From: jfmc4510**At_Symbol_Here**sbcglobal.net Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] C&EN news cover story Date: May 3, 2007 8:52:49 PM EDT >In 1996, Hill said, a postdoc in a chemistry lab at the University of Texas, Austin, poured a solvent dried over sodium wire into a sink, believing that he had destroyed the alkali metal. But the sodium was still active, and it caught on fire in the sink, igniting nearby open containers of solvents. Although it was accepted practice when I was going to school in the early 1960's to pour just about everything down the lab sink at the end of the day, I believe most waste disposal schemes now would frown solvent disposal in this way for two reasons: 1- solvents in plumbing lines may damage some plumbing materials and pose a fire/explosion hazard to the building and associated sewage collection points. 2. separate collection of solvents facilitaltes appropriate disposal, destruction and /or recycling/redistillation. So the real issue is not whether the presence of trace sodium metal in the solvent was recognized, but whether U of T had a lab waste disposal policy and whether the policy was published to students, lab instructors, post docs and everyone else.
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