Jon Michael Fuja,
Thank you for bringing up the household hazardous waste disposal
option. I would like to second that mention of this as a great method
to dispose of ALL studio chemicals, used pickle, plating solutions,
patinas, etc. Santa Barbara’s household collection is FREE of charge,
every week, out at the local University. The EPA can also help you
find a household program near you, anonymously and easily, for proper
disposal. ‘Hobby Chemicals’ might be the description to use for your
local household disposal site.
I understand that the amounts of ‘toxic’ materials we all deal in
seem small, and ‘inconsequential’ but some of the seemingly innocuous
ones can play havoc with municipal water treatment… copper sulfate
knocking out beneficial microbes (good bugs that destroy bad bugs) in
sewage drain processing is an example (CS is a powerful
anti-microbial, anti fungal). Metals and Cyanides at levels not toxic
to people can be highly toxic to trout and other aquatic life. Look
up ‘cyanide fishing’ on the web for some inventive uses of these
chemicals. Gold mining as we know it would not be possible without
cyanide…but it is our responsibility to use powerful chemicals
judiciously and treat them properly when we are done with them.
The way I handle things in my studio is that if I wouldn’t eat it or
drink it, I pay to have it reclaimed / disposed of as waste, instead
of ‘dumping it’, no matter what I’ve ‘done to it’ to make it ‘safe’.
Period. Those are my guidelines. Why? Take a look at The Theory and
Practice of Goldsmithing, By Dr. Erhard Brehpol…Chapter 3,
Section 3…“Keep track of the receipt and disposal of all toxic
materials in a logbook, attaching receipts as documentation…” Dr.
Brehpol also characterizes even DILUTE solutions of sulfuric acid,
hydrocyanic salts, and soluble copper and silver compounds as “highly
toxic” (pp.97-99). If you want to protect yourself, and your
business, this seems like the best plan. And thanks Mr. C.
Lewton-Brain and Mr. McCreight. Why risk a problem with toxics
accounting later, when you are rich and famous? Why not be the best
professional you can be?
We, as metal workers, typically do not have the equipment or the
facilities to be sure (i.e. test / measure) that we have
appropriately neutralized all hazards to ‘safe’ levels (is that 250
parts per million of copper? (toxic?) or 25 ppm? (safe?). Did we use
’plenty of water’? The professional hazard treatment sites do, and
the household hazard sites will do it for you, again, probably for
FREE, and anonymously.
Spent pickle is a good example of this. Santa Barbara has a ‘Small
Quantity Generator’ business classification that allows for waste to
be properly treated / documented out at our local University for a
nominal fee. I suppose future waste-treatment superstars have a go at
it, wearing funny lab coats and looking serious… I drive there
every few months and they remove boxed and bagged waste from the back
of my truck, assuming that I am dropping off the worst toxic
materials ever…they arrive in hoods, goggles, plastic suits, the
whole shebang. I don’t have to tell them what it is, they assume the
worst, then test and treat it. Marvelously entertaining, really. Gets
me out of the studio for a bit, anyway.
I would bet that more and more towns and cities have similar FREE
programs, if you take a look. Sorry for the huge long post. Let