Date: Mon, 30 Mar 2009 09:05:07 -0500
Reply-To: "Harry J. Elston" <helston**At_Symbol_Here**FGI.NET>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: "Harry J. Elston" <helston**At_Symbol_Here**FGI.NET>
Subject: Re: old Chemistry lab
Comments: To: Katherine Wall


The question is not one of hazard but one of risk.  Unfortunately, you do not provide enough information to make a call on that question.

The mere presence of a "hazardous chemical" may or may not pose an actual risk to workers in the area.  What are the hazards we're discussing here?  Are we talking about shock sensitive or air sensitive reactive materials, where a careless bump could cause a detonation?  Or are we talking about a mild poison that require ingestion of several grams to produce a systemic effect?  Clearly the risk to an individual working in the area is different for these two classifications of "hazardous chemicals."


-----Original Message! -----
From: Katherine Wall
Sent: Mar 30, 2009 8:27 AM
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU
Subject: [DCHAS-L] old Chemistry lab

We have two old chemistry labs connected by the old chemistry stockroom that are no longer being used for chemistry classes, but rather as storage of unwanted computers and what I consider to be general trash.  (Why these items are being stored here - no one seems to know!)The rooms are locked but many on campus have keys.  Two years ago, I had a chemical waste disposal company come in and all of the chemicals were packed up and taken away.  Several had to be stabilized due to peroxide formation, etc.  As I segregated the chemicals, I put all of the mercury compounds (many were so old they had elemental mercury in them) and broken mercury thermometers in one hood with the ventilation on.  It is next to this hood that most of the 'trash' is being stored.
My question is:  Is the area safe to use as general storage or are there still chemical hazards?
Thank you for your help.
Kathy Wall
Chemistry Lab Coordinator
Office SCI 204
Waubonsee Community College
Rt 47 at Waubonsee Dr.
Sugar Grove, IL  60554
(630) 466-7900 ext 2347
email kwall**At_Symbol_Here**

Harry J. Elston, Ph.D., CIH
Midwest Chemical Safety, LLC

Editor, Journal of Chemical Health & Safety

Nationalized health care:  All the efficiency of FEMA with all
the compassion of the IRS

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