Date: Tue, 31 Mar 2009 18:46:19 +1100
Reply-To: Paul Dover <Paul.Dover**At_Symbol_Here**PHARM.MONASH.EDU.AU>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: Paul Dover <Paul.Dover**At_Symbol_Here**PHARM.MONASH.EDU.AU>
Subject: Picric acid
Hi all, 

You were all so helpful with my question about amorphous silica, I am
asking your help on another matter.

One of our technicians in our weekly chemical disposal round came across
two small (about 25 ml) containers of picric acid. They were obviously
ancient, but at the time she was unaware of the danger of dried out
picric acid. It was noticed by someone near the storage area, and due
panic ensued.
The problem is the label is obviously yellow stained, it appears to be a
glass bottle with a plastic cap, with no visible 'fur' around the edges.
The label obscures the contents, so we don't know if there is liquid or
solid in the containers. Worst case would be around 20g total dried
picric acid (as would be supplied as 40% slurry in water). Now no one
can say what to do or what will happen. I have had reports from
'evacuate in a mile radius' to just put it in a bucket of water for a
few hours. 
The local chemical disposal company has said the Hazmat response will
come in with sirens and explode the thing...which is gross overkill.
They were the ones who 'off the record' recommended the water. Chemical
suppliers did not want to know. 
Our central OHS team will come out in the morning and in the meantime it
is in a sytrofoam box in a double brick locked bunker with approach
doors closed and "Do not enter" tape all over the door.
I guess my frustration is none of the 'experts' can tell me is 20g dried
picric acid the equivalent of a packet of fire crackers or a hand
Suggestions, comments?

Thanks, Paul

P.s another remote possibility, this having originated from the dark
ages, is it may contain something else!


Paul Dover
Resources Manager
Medicinal Chemistry and Drug Action
Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Monash University (Parkville Campus)
381 Royal Parade, Parkville
Victoria, 3052. Australia

Phone: +61 3 9903 9551
Fax:   +61 3 9903 9143

Email: Paul.Dover**At_Symbol_Here**

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