I can't find the deleted beginnings of this thread, but you NEVER
EVER store acids and poisons in a container formerly or
conventionaly used for food. No exceptions, even X wives at the
Nice basic idea. But overkill. Lots of items packaged industrially
are using essentially the same sort of packaging used for food or
similar household familiar items.
The key isn’t to worrying about what a container was once used for
in the past. It’s about ensuring that it is now safe for a new use,
ie it’s clean, made of materials compatible with the proposed new
use, and that it’s safe in the future.
The latter generally means properly, and indelibly, labelling the
container for it’s new use. That does not include a bit of washable
marker on some masking tape. It CAN include proper, permanent
adhesive, clearly written labels, just as you would use on containers
purchased specifically for chemical use. It may also require removing
or clearly defacing or covering, prior labels so it’s non-food use is
obvious and won’t be confused in the future.
And it includes common sense. Containers storing dangerous materials
may need to be sturdier than some disposable (food) containers. And
people who’s shops might be accessed by untrained people, or
children, or pets, may need to pay more attention as well, to avoid
accidents, no matter what kind of container is used., food sourced or
But the statement, “no exceptions”, is perhaps overkill, since there
are indeed ways to reuse containers safely. I’ve used, for example,
rubbermaid storage bin type containers for electroplating or
anodizing dye baths. they work well, the polypropelene they’re made
of is appropriate, and the easy sealling lids keep unused baths
clean. Those containers came from the grocery store, and were
intended for food storage. Some of them had cereal or pasta stored in
them before I repurposed them. I don’t think my use of them in the
shop is a danger at all. They’re clearly labeled, and obviously not
food. And what about the ever popular Altoids tin boxes. They now
have items very different from the original mints. I don’t think
anyone is likely to be confused…
Jeff can you explain why? Is it to avoid confusion with what is in
the container or possible contamination? Just want to know because I
currently keep some pickle in an a former ice cream tub to
accommodate some of the larger pieces I made. (maybe I am ignorant,
but I do not get the x-wife comment)
The key isnt to worrying about what a container was once used for
in the past. Its about ensuring that it is now safe for a new use,
ie its clean, made of materials compatible with the proposed new
use, and that its safe in the future
Peter has a reasonable attitude, as usual. Somebody else posed the
Somewhere in the first week of Chemistry, or in the first chapter
about chemicals, somebody will say to use chemical glassware for
chemistry, not household containers. Thats because the public makes
the reasonable assumption that an orange juice container contains
orange juice, not nitric acid or hydrazine. This is an important
thing to understand. If you put your plating solution in a snapple
jar and put it in the refrigerator because you need it cold
overnight, you could kill your kids.
But that doesnt mean we have to be obsessive about it, just aware
and careful. And the more potent/poisonous/corrosive the chemical,
the more care is needed. Dont assume…
Really simple… food containers are for food Chemical containers for
nasty stuff. They are both very distinct in shape and feel to avoid
confusion without much thought. There are usually no contamination
problems except for killing idiot innocents.
I was probably way out of line with the X comment but some people
are not on my favourite list.
Really simple... food containers are for food Chemical containers
for nasty stuff. They are both very distinct in shape and feel to
avoid confusion without much thought.
I ran across an interesting product recently. VWR sells amber glass
bottles that have a plastic outer coating. The bottle can shatter,
and the coating will keep the contents inside. You can find them
Ive been following the thread regarding using food containers in our
shops/studios. Of course, this is a matter of safety. While in the
military we had safety training on a regular basis, and many of us
found it boring from the get go. None the less, it served an
important purpose. For the commander it helped ensure that his
resources, human and material, were available for use. In our
workplaces it does the same for us, our employees, and our
Having said that, we are also all individuals with different habits,
traits, etc. Some will never eat/drink in their studio, some will but
will always put their coffee in a place they never use chemicals,
while others will put it on their bench along with everything else.
What works for one wont necessarily work for others.
There is a level of safety that does keep everyone safe though. That
is to always look at everything from a safety point of view. If there
is any possible way something could go wrong, then do it a safer way.
In the matter of using food containers, if there is the slightest
possible chance that someone could mistake it for an edible, then
dont do it.
Obviously this isnt going to work in all cases. We are all
constrained by circumstances of money, time, facilities, and personal
traits. At this point we, each individually, need to review our
situation and as regards the risks involved against the potential
benefit and make a judgment call. Is the gain worth the risk? For
example, if you cant find your platinum glasses, is possible damage
to the eyes worth the job your doing? What if you cant find that tiny
tip to your torch? Will you risk melting something to meet the
Here are a couple links for Operational Risk Management:
Good point - all it takes is one child to try to drink from one of
these bottles and there goes the esophagus and stomach of the child -
with just a couple of drops. Common sense is essential to not mislead
someone who wouldnt know in your studio what is or isnt in drinking
I am concerned that a container of liquid might leak. Therefore, I
place those jugs, jars, etc. in a larger plastic or glass container -
this is called secondary containment by the regulators. Also acids
and bases are stored separately, and on the lowest level. Don’t want
them to drip onto other things or each other. This takes up a bit
more space, but gives some peace of mind.
One additional thing to consider about the miscellaneous containers
that one might use is that some plastic containers tend to shrink
rapidly when heated.
Whether for storage or use during one of your chemical processes you
may end up with a surprise if sufficient heat is involved. There
you’d be with a container suddenly smaller than the volume of liquid
within. Makes for a nasty cleanup and it makes the idea of using
proper containers a lot more appealing.
I thought I’d share a story someone told me yesterday - near enough
10 or 20 years ago there was a recurring PSA on TV:
Salt-of-the earth sort of guy on camera says, “Tool snapped off,
came right at me…” Holds up pair of safety glasses with a piece of
tool steel half driven through one of the lenses as he says, “Thank
God I had them on…” The power of it was that we knew he was a
real machinist, and those were really his glasses…
So, a friend and collegue comes to me yesterday and says, “Who has
nitric acid?” It just so happens that I had a liter of it that I
really didn’t want. I keep a small amount of dilute for testing
metals, other than that I have no use for it, and think of it as a
rattlesnake under the counter…
We’re talking and he tells me he keeps it concentrated… One time
(he says) he was working and somehow got a healthy splash. A bit old
gob of it landed right on the lens of his glasses… His description
of watching the acid dissolve the lens for a couple of seconds was -
well, unique. He said, “Thank God I had them on…”
So, a friend and collegue comes to me yesterday and says, "Who has
nitric acid?" It just so happens that I had a liter of it that I
We're talking and he tells me he keeps it concentrated..... One
time (he says) he was working and somehow got a healthy splash. A
bit old gob of it landed right on the lens of his glasses.. His
description of watching the acid dissolve the lens for a couple of
seconds was - well, unique. He said, "Thank God I had them
Odd. What were the lenses made of? Nitric won’t attack glass or most
plastics. Were you perhaps thinking of hydrofluoric?
Odd. What were the lenses made of? Nitric won't attack glass or
most plastics. Were you perhaps thinking of hydrofluoric?
Better look up chemical resistance to concentrated nitric acid of
plastics before you rely on this. Only fluoropolymers like Teflon
and Kynar are listed in the charts I have as showing good chemical
resistance to 50% nitric. The usual suspects for chemical storage
like HDPE, LDPE and PP all are attacked by it to varying degrees.
Also FWIW both hard and soft contact lenses are acrylic family
plastics which are not well known for chemical resistance.
But what I want to know is how he suppressed the blink reflex and
did not get it on the inside of the eyelid. Makes me cringe just
thinking about it.
are chemical safety goggles. Your basic acrylic or polycarbonate
glasses- especially standard acrylic lenses, are no match for
concentrated nitricacid. I burned an acrylic rod in half with it,
once. Like a hot knife through butter. Polycarbonates and even more
so PVC’s are entirely different animals. There is plastic and there
And the point is to wear eye protection when handling strong
The discussion of plastics and the nitric acid remind me of the first
place I worked after being kicked out of high school. It was a
cooperage that recycled 55 gallon steel drums. One of the processes
for cleaning the inside involved strong caustic soda and chains with
diamond shaped links. At the time putting the chain into the drum
and then removing it was a manual process. The employees wore plastic
aprons with rubber boots. On occasion human factors would come into
play and someone would wear an apron too short to extend below the
top of their boots. The resulting injury was usually fairly ugly.
I guess the moral of the story is that safety measures are only as
good as they are implemented.
Also FWIW both hard and soft contact lenses are acrylic family
plastics which are not well known for chemical resistance. But what
I want to know is how he suppressed the blink reflex and did not
get it on the inside of the eyelid. Makes me cringe just thinking
I don’t think the OP was talking about contact lenses. You’re right
about the material - the original B&L Soflens was a methacrylate. I
was involved in the design of the first production machine. Little
spinning platters, computer controlled.