Date: Fri, 4 May 2007 13:50:07 -0400
Reply-To: List Moderator <ecgrants**At_Symbol_Here**UVM.EDU>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: List Moderator <ecgrants**At_Symbol_Here**UVM.EDU>
Subject: Re: C&EN news cover story

From: 	  jfmc4510**At_Symbol_Here**
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.

Previous post   |  Top of Page   |   Next post

The content of this page reflects the personal opinion(s) of the author(s) only, not the American Chemical Society, ILPI, Safety Emporium, or any other party. Use of any information on this page is at the reader's own risk. Unauthorized reproduction of these materials is prohibited. Send questions/comments about the archive to
The maintenance and hosting of the DCHAS-L archive is provided through the generous support of Safety Emporium.