Date: Tue, 17 Jul 2007 19:57:08 -0400
Reply-To: Steve <jsbonnell**At_Symbol_Here**FUSE.NET>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: Steve <jsbonnell**At_Symbol_Here**FUSE.NET>
Subject: Re: Request for Advice on Chemical Hygiene
Comments: To: rebelford**At_Symbol_Here**UALR.EDU
In-Reply-To: <f56d86e413dd6.469cb929**At_Symbol_Here**>

Krylon is the silver bullet for protecting the labels:
uctid=1736&content=product_details. Show the Krylon to the art
instructor--it is also used to make charcoal rubbings and chalk drawings
(relatively) permanent.

As for dealing with the unknown reagents, consider introducing the students
to a little analytical chemistry. There is a fair chance that you can cull
out the really bad players like picric acid, mercury, heavy metal salts and
peroxidized ether. Whatever you do, don't be grinding the caked ammonium

The remainder, I'm guessing, will be indicator dyes, and (relatively
innocuous) salts of unknown quality. Using very small quantities, make
aqueous solutions and create a matrix of tests. Teachers should test the
procedures first! When I taught chemistry, this was the final lab exercise
of the year. I gave the students 5 unknown salts and their grade on it was
based on correctly identifying both the anion and the cation for a 10 point
grade. Amazing how many perfect scores you get--and how fast you can use up
old stock.

In any case, don't save anything you can't identify and don't return the
tentatively identified materials back to inventory because they are going to
frustrate more than help...if the reagents have changed composition (no
label: unknown expiration date) you are not going to achieve the results you
are hoping to get no matter how motivated the students are to follow the
instructions for the exercises. I'll wager that all your anhydrous materials
are now, to varying degrees, hydrated.

The benefit of keeping them in stock for anything other than a closely
supervised "Identify the Unknown" exercise is not worth the risk. Discarding
unidentified materials is an important lesson to instill in the staff as
well as the students. I have seen some really good foreign taught chemists
who have learned some really dangerous habits. (I actually had to add "Do
not siphon hazardous waste by mouth" to one of our SOP's.)

See if you can find a local business partner for the school or suggest that
to the teachers. I don't know how remote you are but it might be a workable
plan to enlist the financial assistance of alumni to help restock or to
assist with the destruction costs.

In any event, treat those unlabeled reagents with respect and protect the
students--if you have to dump it all, so be it. You can start with a clean
slate and get the new inventory segregated and the bottles bagged, tagged,
taped, sprayed or etched and logged and at the same time you know that you
don't have any bad players lurking in your storage that are not appropriate
for that grade level.

Mgr., Env. Svc., Barr Laboratories, Inc.

-----Original Message-----
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU] On Behalf Of
Sent: Tuesday, July 17, 2007 8:42 AM
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Request for Advice on Chemical Hygiene

I am in Thailand and the day after I arrived I ran a one day workshop on
Information and Communication Technologies as the fourth day of a five day
nation wide workshop for high school teachers.  I included a section on MSDS
and Chemical Hygiene, and on the following day I was given written questions
by the "adjun" (teachers).  Although only a minor part of my workshop was on
chemical hygiene, every question but one dealt with either chemical hygiene
issues or green chemistry.
It appears that in this humid land (full of black mold) there is a
propensity for labels to disintegrate off bottles in school stock rooms, and
I was asked what to do.  So, I am asking if anyone has any web based (or
other) protocols for dealing with unlabeled containers that I could share.
I would really appreciate any input as these are great people whom I believe
have far greater problems than we do when it come to chemical hygiene issues
and they do care.
I really appreciate any input and help.

Bob Belford

Robert E. Belford
Department of Chemistry
University of Arkansas at Little Rock

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