Markup Help 
All posts Reviews Conferences Research

I doubt anyone still has this blog on their readers but I haven't heard much about this story (LINK via Boing Boing). I must say that the guy seemed to have a well organized home laboratory. What he was doing with it seems to be anyone's guess. The picture above is from the police file.

The chemicals that make the article include:
potassium permanganate
potassium nitrate
ammonium nitrate
iron oxide
zinc oxide
copper sulfate
hydrogen peroxide
aluminum powder
sulfamic acid
potassium silicate
sodium bicarbonate
wax shavings
PVC shavings
methyl hydrate
hydrochloric acid

"In his furnace room, he had an electrochemical setup where he seemed to be turning potassium chloride into potassium chlorate"
The only reason that I have emerged a bit from my hole is that this is an issue for me. A former student of mine became a popular local science show leader and over the years developed a home lab of alarming and surprising dimensions. All was well until he died suddenly in a motorcycle accident and left his rather non-scientifically inclined wife to deal with his home lab. We are still sorting through the details but suffice it to say that he was a high school teacher when the local schools were closing down science store rooms and a significant portion of chemicals deemed to dangerous for school ended up in his basement.
So, how do we balance the interests of the non-professional amateur scientist with the practical safety issues related to the use and disposal of the products of reactions that can be done with chemicals from the hardware store?

I do not have any quick answers other than a hope that municiple hazardous waste disposal centers are open to well labelled small (and not so small)amounts of chemicals or a young widow is going to lose a significant portion of her life insurance benefits taking care of what her amateur scientist husband left her.

Posts linking to this one

Chemical health and safety news from the past week:Liberal Arts Chemist weighed in on responsible home laboratoriesAIChE’s Spring Meeting and the 8th Global Congress on Process Safety is coming up in April; ExxonMobil’s Michael Dolan will give the...
A list of small, useful things (links):David has a nice post on ISCO Gold columns. An interesting analytical technique using metathesis. Want to learn about a flavor chemist? Christine has a great post about one.Cheap Laugh Tuesdays still good for...