Date: Tue, 31 Mar 2009 17:26:02 -0700
Reply-To: Gordon Wincott <gordon.wincott**At_Symbol_Here**GMAIL.COM>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: Gordon Wincott <gordon.wincott**At_Symbol_Here**GMAIL.COM>
Subject: Re: Picric acid
Comments: To: Paul Dover
In-Reply-To: <89907EA1DCFB7548A431C13A270F9DD506B16C94**At_Symbol_Here**prk-exch-01.vcp.local>

A past company I worked with had two small vials of picric acid
discovered upon site closure similar to what you found.  A commercial
waste handler/disposal company we were using for the closure came out
and used a remote opening device to carefully remove the lids on the
picric acid.  This was done outside, after work hours, and the proper
city authorities and local schools were notified of what was being
done, but no panic or emergency calls were needed.  The opener was a
remote controlled, pneumatic powered arm and clamp with a rotating
plate.  The vials were then immersed in water and the products
manifested off site by the waste vendor.  This did add some expense to
the building closure, but nothing extraordinary, and everything was
done satisfactorily to all concerned.

Gordon Wincott
Environmental, Health, and Safety Specialist

On Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 12:46 AM, Paul Dover
> 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
> grenade.
> 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: =A0 +61 3 9903 9143
> Email: Paul.Dover**At_Symbol_Here**
> Web: =A0

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