Treatment of concentrated sulfuric acid burns - Journal of Chemical

Treatment of concentrated sulfuric acid burns. Douglas D. Smith. J. Chem. Educ. , 1978, 55 (11), p 735. DOI: 10.1021/ed055p735.4. Publication Date: No...
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DOUGLAS D. SMITH Guillord High School Rockford, Illinois 611 11

Old Business

New Business

In a recent article, I attempted to kiddingly compare our times with that of 50 years ago by a reprint of a 1920's version of "What is a Woman?," and believe me, gentle readers, the lab roof caved in. I am delighted to know that someone out there reads this column, even though some do not "read" my brand of humor.

For a change, I am going to recommend an article that does not give: hints on how to teach tomorrow's lesson effectively, ideas on how to turn on students, or ways to save money on supplies. Get the September 1969 issue of The Physics Teacher and read Richard P. Feynman's delightful reflections on how a first-class scientist learned what science is. Students and teachers alike will enjoy this.

Great Chemists and Toxicity An interesting perspective on the risks run by scientists in the 18th and 19th century is found in an article by Soloveichik.' He speculates on the role of negligence in the early disability or deaths of Carl W. Scheele, Sir H. Davy, William W. Crickshank. and James Woodhouse. Scheelc. was an apothecary who fullowed the common habit of those in this line of work of tastinr the com~oundswith which he worked. Since he discoverei several arsenic compounds, was the first to point out that mercury exhibits two oxidation states, and worked with heavy metal compounds, we may suspect that he inadvertently poisoned himself. He became an invalid a t thirty-five and eventually had personality changes similar to those described in the Mad Hatter in l lice in wonderland." Sir Humphrey Davy is described as being reckless in the lab with the apparent motto of "live dangerously."Twice he became seriously ill after inhaling hydrogen fluoride, nitrous oxide, and chlorine, and needed long periods to recover. Ac-

cidents seemed to be part of his laboratory style. Two were serious, severely injuring an eye and a hand. The eye injury occurred while trying to prepare nitrogen trichloride. He had been informed that his brother-in-law had lost an eye and three fineers in the same ~.r e.~ a r a t i obut n . Davv still did not take any precautions. William Woolwich Crickshank is one who suffered because of poor ventilation: the electric motor had not been invented. His career spanned only six years with the early termination being linked to his work witb carbon monoxide, chlorine, and the first preparation of phosgene. Poisoning is the main suspect as "After World War I there were many cases of mental derangement as after-effects of phosgene gassing." These gases interfere with the oxygen content in the blood and prolonged exposure results in damage to the central nervous system.

' Soloveichik,Samuel, J. CHEM. EDUC, 41,282, (1964).

Treatment of Concentrated Sulfuric Acid Burns Hawkins' provides data in the form of graphs in order to find what combinations of washing with water or wiping with dry rags is best in removing spilled concentrated sulfuric acid from skin. His conclusions on safe handling and first-aid measures for this acid include: 1) Always wear goggles and use small bottles of acid. A small amount in the eyes would almost certainly result in loss of sieht. .~"~~. 21 If cuncentrntpd sdhmc ec~d1s rprllrd, dracerd any &thin(: u h w h hnr hem soaked wrh acid. Arcount~n,:f