From: JOHN L STRAUGHN <0000120dde6ec15c-dmarc-request**At_Symbol_Here**LISTS.PRINCETON.EDU>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Old Perchloric Spill-Wooden Cabinet
Date: Fri, 11 Sep 2020 22:51:37 +0000
Reply-To: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**Princeton.EDU>
Message-ID: DM5PR06MB2347C3BC726FB569118BC93283240**At_Symbol_Here**

I'll risk being accused of whistling past the grave yard at midnight and say that it is small, superficial (the varnish turned color due to acid-only reaction) and not worth losing sleep over. I would sand off the stained varnish and hope that re-application of varnish will blend in; but probably not well enough. 60-70% perchloric acid is, in this case, simply a strong aqueous acid and the perchlorate ion is a "spectator" only. 100% perchloric would definitely have given them immediate action.
To get a hazardous wood-perchlorate ester formation it would take some time and far more liquid in contact to allow that. The famous perchloric acid digestion procedure hood incident (see Bretherick's) involved long term absorption of acid vapors through cracked or corroded grout between tiles that were glued to wood. When the hood was demolished by carpenters they hit the tiles with a hammer and the rest was history.
Only my humble opinion, but I know I'm right.

From: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**Princeton.EDU> on behalf of Nora Dunkel <noradunkel51**At_Symbol_Here**WEBSTER.EDU>
Sent: Friday, September 11, 2020 12:58 PM
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**Princeton.EDU <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**Princeton.EDU>
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Old Perchloric Spill-Wooden Cabinet

Hello all,


What is the best way to deal with a perchloric acid spill on wood, when the spill occurred several months ago? 


A biology faculty member recently retired and his lab space was assigned to another biologist.  When the new PI moved into the lab, she discovered purple splash marks on a wooden cabinet.  Apparently, the previous PI had spilled some concentrated perchloric acid (70%) and the acid stained the wood.  Nobody is sure exactly when the spill occurred=97sometime between October 2018 and February 2020.


Besides the risk of spontaneous fire, what other hazards do these doors pose?  Should the doors be disposed of as hazardous waste?  If so, what hazards should the waste hauler and I consider?  The cabinet doors will need to be removed to dispose of them; do they need to be treated as potentially explosive?  How should they be stored until our next waste pickup?


A photo of the cabinet is here:


Thanks for your help!



Nora Dunkel


Chemical Safety Officer

Webster University

Browning Hall 314

314-246-2244 (office)

661-348-1445 (cell)




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