Rules that keep you and your family
Regard all chemicals as potentially toxic. Do not
eat, drink or smoke when doing experiments and avoid physical contact with
Dispose of the waste properly. A general rule of
thumb is the following:
- Waste of salts of sodium, potassium,
calcium, magnesium, aluminium, and iron may be flushed down the drain,
at least if the associated anionic species also may be flushed down the
drain (see below).
- Waste of salts of titanium, chromium in the +3
oxidation state, manganese, copper and zinc is moderately toxic for the
environment. Quantities in the order of magnitude of 100 mg per day may be
flushed down the drain with a lot of water, but larger quantities must
be brought to a waste processing facility.
- Waste of salts of other metals than mentioned
above should be brought to a waste processing facility unconditionally.
- Inorganic anions, based on halogens, sulphur,
phosphorus, nitrogen, carbon and silicon may be flushed down the drain
with lots of water. Examples of these are sulfide, sulfate, chloride, chlorate,
nitrate, nitrite, thiocyanate. Other anionic compounds must be brought
to a waste processing facility. Examples are selenite, chromate,
- Organic waste (e.g. solvents) should never be
flushed down the drain.
- Solid waste should not be flushed down the
drain. In the course of months or years, the solid waste may collect at
bends and bumps in the tubing and may cause severe problems.
Precipitates can be filtered in a coffee-filter and the filter can be
disposed of, either as chemical waste or as plain household waste (see
above for classification).
gasses are evolved in an experiment, do the experiment outside! If you are lucky enough to have a fume hood, use
Avoid inhaling fine dust. This is a severe risk and
especially, when exposure to dust occurs frequently, adverse effects
can be expected in the long run.
Avoid contamination of your home. You live in your
house every day and surely you don't want to have long-term low-level
exposure! Keep chemicals at one location only, perform experiments at one
location only, or outside. Cleanup the area regularly and remove dust.
Be sure that
children and pets have no access to the chemicals. If you have children, be
encouraged to perform experiments, together with them, but never let them do
anything with your chemicals without supervision.
A final tip: Use small quantities of chemicals in your experiments.
Frequently, the use of large amounts does not add anything to the result of
the experiment, other than cost, extra waste and more risk! You will be
surprised to see how many experiments you can do, even with just a few grams
of a chemical.
Experiments, which introduce more risks than the usual
risks, as mentioned above, are marked with a
, together with a textual
description of the additional risk.