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:
"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.