Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Dangerous chemicals?


#1
  Risking ones' health for a few pennies saved is ludicrous !
Ron at Mills Gem, Los Osos, CA. 

Ron,

I think you are going a little overboard. Risking One’s health is
part of life. Unfortunately everyday alive is a risk to One’s
health. There are many things around the shop, workplace, household,
and enviroment that pose a risk to One’s health. Whether you choose
to use acid or other chemicals (including the dreaded HF) should be
and educated decision, and the steps taken to protect yourself &
environment should be based on available safety and
proper set-up/precautions.

To just discount the use of “dangerous” chemicals as you suggest is
to deny yourself many useful, albeit possibly dangerous tools.
Tools that can serve a unique productive purpose. Tools for which
there are no other choices. In many cases it adds up to more than “a
few pennies” saved, the risks can be controlled safely in many
cases, and it is not “ludicrous” to put acid/chemicals to use. I
suggest that if you really feel strongly about this you quit pumping
gasoline, using bleach, breathing diesel fumes, soldering, pickle,
polishing, handling fire and open flames, changing your motor oil,
spray painting, and the list goes on.

respectfully, Steve Green


#2

Dear Steve, I am afraid that you completely missed the point of my
comments about hazardous substances. My suggestion was that it is
ludicrous to use dangerous chemicals when it is not necessary. In
the case mentioned, I suggested that using oxalic or any other acid
substance was completely unnecessary when polishing a substance that
is easily polished using non-toxic techniques. I use toxic
substances regularly BUT, only when they are the most effective way
to accomplish the task. For example, I still use the old technique
of “bombing” with peroxide and cyanide, but only when there is no
better alternative ,and then, very judiciously. Ron at Mills Gem,
Los Osos, CA.


#3

To just discount the use of “dangerous” chemicals as you suggest
is to deny yourself many useful, albeit possibly dangerous tools.
Tools that can serve a unique productive purpose.

With respect to the opinions of Ron and Steve, I don’t think it is a
case of black-and-white. There are many gray areas. One must evaluate
the risk-to-benefit ratio in order to decide if a particular process
is too dangerous. Are there alternatives the yield satisfactory
results with less risk, albeit usually with trade offs? As discussed
earlier in the thread, I believe most people would find conventional,
safer alternatives to polishing with HF acid.

Let’s face it… if any of us was a wilting daisy, we wouldn’t be in
this field. We wouldn’t have picked up our first torch or flex shaft
if we weren’t prepared to deal with the potential for injury. Each of
us is ultimately responsible for our own health and well being,
despite what some lawsuits might lead us to believe. I think it is
natural and good for us to approach potential hazards with
trepidation and caution rather than go blazing in with the assumption
we’ll know something is about to go terribly wrong before it does.

As Ive always says, “People… think.” :slight_smile: (we haven’t heard from
her in a while?)

All the best,
Dave
Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)
dave@sebaste.com