HELP Meeting Minutes
May 21, 2003
Hosted by PNRI and Matt Donelan

I. Officer nominations were requested of the members.  We had one nomination for Matt Donelan as Secretary.  Please email nominations for the following officers to

Vice President

II. David Blair of Heritage ETS gave a presentation on Reactive, Time-Sensitive, Potentially Explosive Chemicals

If you see crystals outside the cap, ask what is the chemical.   A very small amount of vibration can make it explode.
If you think a potential for explosion exists:
    Don’t physically handle the container,
    Don’t disturb immediate storage area,
    Don’t underestimate the potential hazard and
    Don’t ignore the problem.

Families of Chemicals

1st Family - Aromatic Multi-nitro Organic Chemicals
-If you mix with heavy metal solution – they are extremely sensitive and can spontaneously explode.  Don’t twist the cap!  
-How to recognize the problem:
- Solid material encrusted outside the cap – use a diffuse light source to backlight the container
- Solid material encrusted under cap
- Absence of water droplets normally visible inside the bottle.
- Faded, off-white coloration instead of the usual yellow color
- If in a solution, the presence of heavy metal with solid.

2nd family – Peroxidizable Solvents and Monomers.
- To form peroxide, light and oxygen are necessary.
- Visual indicators:
1. Visible discoloration of liquid
2. Liquid stratification or layering
3. Whispy like structures or unexplained cloudiness
4. Visible crystal formation
5. Storage in a clear glass container
6. Storage in a glass or cork stoppered container

-  Visual indicators in metal containers:
1. Rusty metal can (been around too long)
2. Storage in metal cans with cork stopper instead of a real lit.
3. Storage in metal can with copper

-  Visual indicators in any type of container:
1. Regardless of age, when liquid is very little and lots of air, it is better to dispose of liquid now
2. Lid is missing or not on tight.

If you find any peroxides at all, it is best to dispose of ASAP since the growth of crystals occurs very quickly.

3rd family – Heavy Metal Perchlorates  
-These are shock sensitive (e.g. zinc perchlorate)
-Small amount of material can do an amazing amount of damage

4th family – Heavy Metals Combined with Azides
-A big problem is pouring azides down the sink where they can react with the copper pipes.
-In 1995 a worker was killed.  An aqueous azide solution was being stored in a drum, the liquid evaporated and the azides reacted with the metal drum.  Hydrozoic acid had formed as well.

5th Family – Metal Fulminates
-Metal usually heavy
-Nitric acid or an inorganic nitrate
-An alcohol or ammonia solution

III. Mark Housman of MacDonald-Miller Facility Solutions gave a talk on Cross Connection and Backflow Prevention.

A Cross Connection is defined as "Any physical arrangement whereby a public water supply system is connected, directly or indirectly, with any nonpotable or unapproved water supply system, sewer, drain, conduit, pool, storage reservoir, plumbing fixture, or other device which contains, or may contain contaminated water, liquid, gases, sewage, or other waste of unknown or unsafe quality which may be capable of imparting contamination to the public water supply as a result of backflow."

Labs must have Reduced Pressure Principle Backflow Prevention Devices.  These are two independently acting, internally-loaded approved check valves separated by a reduced pressure zone.  The water pressure drop is large since you use backflow preventors in series.  You want to keep outside water from coming into your building and to keep lab water from contaminating domestic water.

Bothell requires one backflow preventor outside the building and one inside, while Seattle requires one inside the building.

IV. The next HELP meeting will be held at Celltech in Canyon Park, Bothell, on July 16, 2003 at 9am.

V. Carol Sangster of Chubb Insurance sent the following email with information as a follow-up to the presentation by David Blair: