From: Slawomir Janicki <slawomir.janicki**At_Symbol_Here**COMCAST.NET>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Heirloom Chemistry Set Kickstarter Project
Date: Sun, 17 Nov 2013 20:40:25 -0500
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: 000f01cee3ff$27e6dd10$77b49730$**At_Symbol_Here**
In-Reply-To <52895A15.9020408**At_Symbol_Here**>

It is good that we are taking a hard look at the chemicals offered. I also wonder how the products of these experiments are going to be disposed of?


Is the 6th grader expected to call Clean Harbors and ask for lab-packing his jars? What happens if there is a dichromate spill on the carpet?


Slawomir Janicki, Ph.D.



From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU] On Behalf Of Samuella Sigmann
Sent: Sunday, November 17, 2013 7:07 PM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Heirloom Chemistry Set Kickstarter Project


I also noticed iodine is on his master list of chemicals available.  While not offered in this particular kit, it now another highly controlled substance that the big chemical companies won't sell to me unless I offer my first born.  I wonder how many meth producers have found this list and what the controls are?

If one looks at the (M)SDS offered by this company for ammonium dichromate...





CAUSE CANCER. Risk of cancer depends on duration and level of exposure.

...and yet his own video shows the demonstrator spreading it with bare fingers.  How many children (or adults) have you seen take their hands right to their mouth or face?  If this basic prevention to exposure is ignored, how can anything that is claimed about his attention to safety be believed.

I also noticed that the pledges just keep coming...

On 11/17/2013 6:22 PM, Neil Edwards wrote:

Not only is carbon tetrachloride banned from consumer products, but I am sure you know that its sale is severely restricted even within the scientific community. I pretty much had to jump through hoops to get a 1-liter bottle recently from Sigma Aldrich; and this is for a long-established university chemistry department purchase account. Fifty years ago, every dry cleaner was using it, and it was also supplied to the public in fire extinguishers.
We are living in a different world today, with a lot more knowledge of chemical hazards. I recall fondly the chemistry set I had when I was 11 or 12 years old. It was a part of the inspiration that led me to major in chemistry when I started college. Kids should have that kind of opportunity today; but the rules have changed, and the rules need to be understood and taken seriously, for many reasons.
Sent from my iPad
On Nov 17, 2013, at 5:54 PM, "Monona Rossol" <actsnyc**At_Symbol_Here**CS.COM<mailto:actsnyc**At_Symbol_Here**CS.COM>> wrote:
Amy, since we are apparently opening up our forum to John Ferrell Kuhns, you can forward an "an furthermore."   But in the future, I will know that you are likely to forward my messages to anyone I mention.   There is nothing here I would not say to this man, but if I were writing to him, I would have liked the option to say these same things in different words.  It is always nice to WHO I'm writing to.
And furthermore:   It was hard to find your list of 64 chemicals, but the Hacker list had a direct link to it.  Carbon Tet is on the list.  This chemical is one of a handful that is specifically banned in consumer products by the Federal Hazardous Substances Act.  That means it is not allowed in any product sold to anyone who could be considered legally a "consumer" of any age unless you have applied for and gotten an exemption from the CPSC.  I can pretty much guess you have not applied, because I get the Federal Register in hard copy every day and have since 1977.  I follow all of the petitions to CPSC.  If you do not have an exemption, it is flat out against the law to make this chemical available to consumers.
And 50 years of being a chemist still doesn't qualify one to write MSDSs. I have more years of experience than you, and am also a regulatory wonk.  I still wouldn't offer to write one.  There are other skills involved here such as toxicology and a deep knowledge of the relevant laws and liabilities.  And from the MSDSs I read on the Set Kickstarter website, those skills are not in evidence.  That's why I suggested going to established sources for these documents.  It also reduces the company's liability which is always to be desired.
Monona Rossol, M.S., M.F.A., Industrial Hygienist
President:  Arts, Crafts & Theater Safety, Inc.
Safety Officer: Local USA829, IATSE
181 Thompson St., #23
New York, NY 10012     212-777-0062
-----Original Message-----
From: Amy Westervelt <amy.westervelt**At_Symbol_Here**GMAIL.COM<mailto:amy.westervelt**At_Symbol_Here**GMAIL.COM>>
To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU<mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>>
Sent: Sat, Nov 16, 2013 3:53 pm
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Heirloom Chemistry Set Kickstarter Project
For what it's worth, I contacted John Farrell Kuhns directly about this, and here's what he had to say:
Benzene is NOT INCLUDED in the kit. Our Safety Date Sheets follow
the OSHA recommended format, and while we do sell benzene we don't sell it
to children or in our chemistry sets.
Our Safety Data Sheets are derived from those of the original
I have been an ACS member for nearly 50 years so I am more than cognizant of what is appropriate when it comes to kids and chemicals. We have more than 1,000 members in our student's Science Club and we have classes and workshops for them at least 3 times a month all year long.
We have been selling chemicals and chemistry sets for more than 10 years. We have two basic customers, for our chemicals, home hobbyists and lab professionals. In addition we sell to the area's HAZMAT teams.
We are very responsible when it comes to safety and education especially when it comes to families and children. Thanks for stating your concerns and if I can provide any other information please do not hesitate to ask.
FWIW neither of the two chemicals you asked about are included in any of our chemistry sets. As we get ready to ship these sets we will ascertain to what home setting each will be going and suggest appropriate substitutions in both chemicals and equipment.
On Sat, Nov 16, 2013 at 8:40 AM, Samuella Sigmann <sigmannsb**At_Symbol_Here**<mailto:sigmannsb**At_Symbol_Here**>> wrote:
Thank you, Monona.  On a totally non-technical note, it bothers me that many propagate the notion that "fun chemistry" is not, or cannot be "safe chemistry".
On 11/16/2013 10:25 AM, Monona Rossol wrote:
You may think because I'm an industrial hygienist that I look at it in terms of worker safety, but that's not at all what I'm doing.  I also vote on literally hundreds of ASTM consumer safety and labeling standards and I deal with all levels of  school  safety.   The CPSC regulations define a "child" as grade 6 and under which is age 12/13. So my first issue is with the age RANGE for which this educational "toy" is the suggested.
Next, the Federal Hazardous Substances Act as amended in 1989 (by a law I helped get passed) limits chemicals in children's materials to those that do not have to carry serious hazard warnings.  So I would suggest people not invest in this company, because the first lawsuit filed against them for an accident or even deliberate misuse of those chemicals by someone under grade six is likely to be dicey for the Defendants.
The next issue, as pointed up by others on this forum, is the "failure to warn" issue seen in the poor quality MSDSs.   While MSDSs and SDSs carry some liability for worker exposure injuries, the worker cannot sue for workplace injuries so there is little case law to look to.  But providing confusing or misleading information to consumers, who can be assumed not to be trained or educated in chemical safety, is a strict liability issue with a long history of precedent.  If a jury composed of ordinary consumers can easily see how the parents were confused by the MSDSs/SDS, product literature, or labels, they will sympathize with the Plaintiffs.
Then I'd suggest lawyers top off that case by showing that other labeling laws, shipping regulations, and a number of other smaller issues I noticed are also violations.   Now we have the Defendants for lunch.
If I were the owner of this company, I would get over the idea that my website was a version of the Sharks TV program on which he gets investors to make his business a big deal.  He needs to: 1)  restrict the customer age range;  2) sit with lawyers to develop literature that fully warns parents about the potentials for harm; 3) stop writing his own MSDSs as he proudly acclaims and for which he is unqualified; 4) direct link consumers instead to other free and respected sources such as the NJ DOH Right to Know Fact Sheets which ARE written for chemically unsophisticated people; and 5) obtain permission to use MSDS information from sources such as Aldrich or one of the major chemical suppliers and regularly updated.
The business would be smaller, but he wouldn't be putting his own livelihood and his investors money is in such obvious jeopardy.
Monona Rossol, M.S., M.F.A., Industrial Hygienist
President:  Arts, Crafts & Theater Safety, Inc.
Safety Officer: Local USA829, IATSE
181 Thompson St., #23
New York, NY 10012     212-777-0062
-----Original Message-----
From: Eric Clark <erclark**At_Symbol_Here**PH.LACOUNTY.GOV><mailto:erclark**At_Symbol_Here**PH.LACOUNTY.GOV>
To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU><mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Sent: Fri, Nov 15, 2013 11:48 pm
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Heirloom Chemistry Set Kickstarter Project
We're evaluating this chemistry set is as if it were a worker safety thing.  By
the time we insert all the proper documentation and remove all the risky things
it won't be fun anymore.  It would be more like work.
This chemistry set isn't some Walmart item from the toy department, it's a
serious learning activity that's also fun.  If anyone is interested enough to
want to spend this kind of money and share this with their significant young
people, then they'll also provide some kind of proper supervision and be
responsible, and not try to figure out a way to blame John Farrell Kuhns if
something goes wrong.  Btw, I thought that list of chemicals was pretty
Or, maybe we should download the smart phone app and just simulate the
Eric Clark, MS, CHMM, CCHO
Safety Officer, Public Health Scientist III
Los Angeles County Public Health Laboratory
(562) 658-1486
(562) 401-5999 Fax
-----Original Message-----
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU<mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU?>] On Behalf Of
Peifer, Patricia
Sent: Friday, November 15, 2013 1:10 PM
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU<mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Heirloom Chemistry Set Kickstarter Project
My sister is a dental hygenist and has a patient who many, many years ago got a
chemistry set for Christmas and gave himself a permanent gum injury by sticking
one of the chemicals in his mouth.  I do not know what the chemical was, but
must have been rather aggressive from what my sister describes.
Of course she also has a patient who still has a BB lodged in his cheek (the
kind of cheek that would be involved in a dental x-ray) from an incident
involving his brother and a BB gun, also many, many years ago.
-----Original Message-----
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU<mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU?>] On Behalf Of
Derheimer, Dan G
Sent: Friday, November 15, 2013 2:32 PM
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU<mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Heirloom Chemistry Set Kickstarter Project
Sounds like their safety information is "heirloom" also.
Dan Derheimer
Environmental Health & Safety
Indiana University Bloomington
1514 E. 3rd St.
Bloomington, IN 47405
-----Original Message-----
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU<mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU?>] On Behalf Of
Peter Zavon
Sent: Friday, November 15, 2013 10:37 AM
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU<mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Heirloom Chemistry Set Kickstarter Project
This sounds kind of interesting but I begin to question the validity of the
entire enterprise (especially their stated concern for safety) when I see that
benzene is one of the compounds provided with their kit AND that the MSDS they
offer for benzene not only lacks any mention that it is a known human
carcinogen, but includes the line "Chronic Exposure: No information found." (It
does state "Known Carcinogen" under Section 16: other
It also states in Section 8 that no airborne exposure limits have been
established while burying the OSHA and ACGIH limits in Section 15 Regulatory
I've not checked any of their other MSDS, but benzene is so widely known in this
regard that I have to wonder what these people think they are doing.
Peter Zavon, CIH
Penfield, NY
-----Original Message-----
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU<mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU?>] On Behalf Of
Ralph B. Stuart
Sent: Friday, November 15, 2013 8:11 AM
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU<mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Heirloom Chemistry Set Kickstarter Project
Here's something that I think will interest many on the DCHAS-L list... it
addresses chemical safety issues in interesting ways.
- Ralph
Heirloom Chemistry Set Kickstarter Project
This is the chemistry set you always wanted as a kid but either didn't get it or
you got stuck with some cheap plastic wannabe...
Ralph Stuart, CIH
Chemical Hygiene Officer
Cornell University
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