From: ILPI <info**At_Symbol_Here**ILPI.COM>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] FW: ACS Thursday
Date: February 1, 2012 12:49:14 PM EST
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: <9E067BADFBE0074FB36BAD3305C01A090BB6D2E4**At_Symbol_Here**EVS01.stlcc.local>

Well, personally, I've used pentane which works pretty well due to the low boiling point (36 C).  But I would never let students do anything with fire, of course.   That said, isopropanol/water works great for the burning $20 bill trick, especially when it's one you've taken from someone in the audience.   The demo is good - but letting students play with fire in that manner is, of course, professionally derelict.

Alas, there are things like this out there...note the discussion of "Safety & Additional Information" that contains the very comprehensive instruction of "Don't get burned or set your house or yard on fire" : 

What this teacher is talking about leads to kids doing this on their own.  Which leads to this:,0,7829067.story
or kids trying it with something else, like gasoline....

Obviously, try to dissuade this person based on the high risk, near-zero pedagogical content, and personal/professional liability.

And then tell her that if you ever hear of her even contemplating doing this with students again, that you'll contact the principal, superintendent, school board, fire marshal, and local media to make sure it stops.   And that she ever has a student injured or killed as a direct or indirect result of this class activity that you will be first to testify for the prosecution/plaintiff against her.

Rob Toreki

Safety Emporium - Lab & Safety Supplies featuring brand names
you know and trust.  Visit us at
esales**At_Symbol_Here**  or toll-free: (866) 326-5412
Fax: (856) 553-6154, PO Box 1003, Blackwood, NJ 08012

On Feb 1, 2012, at 10:56 AM, Friedman, Donna G. wrote:

I just received this e-mail message from a high school teacher, it is not a joke, I am going to respond but decided to wait a bit to include your (more thoughtful) comments.
Donna G. Friedman, Ph.D.
Chair, Department of Chemistry
St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley
3400 Pershall Rd.
St. Louis, MO  63135
Subject: FW: ACS Thursday
Hello fellow teachers!
I have a quick question.  Not sure if I can make it on Thursday, so thought I had best send this e-mail.  I normally have my students light their hands on fire with a mixture of isopropyl and water.  (I test it first with a paper towel to make sure it doesn';t burn.)  My students have said there is a =93cooler=94 way to light your hand on fire and that Burroughs, Wentzville, etc. all do this cooler way.  We all know students don';t always know the =93real story=94, but is there a cooler (more exciting, brighter) way to light your hand on fire that is still safe? 
Thanks!  I would appreciate your help on this matter!!
Melanie Shedd
Principia Upper School

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.