Solvents safety handbook

Solvents safety handbook

Book Reviews scholarship, and probably one that few in the field can do without. That is not to say that the book is without flaw. My campaign to end ...

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Book Reviews scholarship, and probably one that few in the field can do without. That is not to say that the book is without flaw. My campaign to end the use of the word *particulate” as a noun has obviously not yet reached Southern California. The SI system of units is employed only to the extent that the units were already in use-pressures are still reported in either torr or atmospheres, and temperatures in degrees Kelvin rather than in k&ins. In some areas the lack of real acquaintance with techniques in the laboratory lead to silly and largely trivial errors. A very high volume filtrrtion apparatus is describedas having four lilters in series.when theaccompanying figure makes it extremely clear that the filters are in parallel. It is stated that there are two kinds of membrane filters. “nuckopore and millipore.” Actually, the first of these is, of course, Nuclepore. a trade name for a unique sort of filter, and Millipore is a trade name for one of a number of competing products, all derived from a fabrication technology developed in the 1930s in Germany, and originally called, simply, Membrunfkr. It would probably be preferable, all things considered, to place these two types in a category with a new name, such as “nonfibrous filters,” to use the trade name Nuclepore for the filters fabricated, as these are, by nuclear track etching, and to restrict the term “membrane filters” as a generic term for those filters derivative from the original Sartorius product-Millipore, Gelman, Synthesia, etc. On a larger scale, the more general criticism can be leveled that there is virtually no discussionof the analytical chemistry of pollutants in the more or less classical sense.There is an excellent treatment of devices that measure the gaseous pollutants, for example, by their spectral properties. It is scarcelyhinted that, if you are only going to measurea specific pollutant a few times, it may be much cheaper to trap it in an aqueous solution and carry out a selectiveor specificchemical reaction leading to color formation or fluorescence. 1 grant such techniques to be far lesselegant than long path infrared or ultraviolet absorption, etc. Nonetheless, the old “wetchemical” analytical techniques have their place, during the early stages of determining the scope of a problem, in local public health laboratories in less allluent jurisdictions, and certainly in the Third World. Other, even rather sophisticated techniques are given short shrift. Ion chromatography is mentioned only briefly, and the name of J. E. Lovelock is invoked only in the context of halogenated organic species that might disturb the ozone layer, never in connection with the electron capture detector. Lovelock’s name also never comes up in the context of the Gaia hypothesis, for the excellent reason that this subject is not discussed.Considering the highly controversial nature of that work of Lovelock. and its potential bearing on atmospheric chemistry, the rejection of this-if the authors are aware of it-must be counted as a shortcoming. My final criticism is, I must admit, totally idiosyncratic. Accordingly, let me refrain from calling it a shortcoming of this volume. Let me say instead that my own dream of the ideal treatmmt ofatmosphericchemistry would includejust a trifle more homage to the remarkable people who gave us the tools and the paradigms that we use so freely today. Certainly a sentenceor two could be added to mention by name, as well ‘asby bibliographic reference (if at all) the contributions of the pioneers like M. D. Thomas. E. W. Hewson, John Middleton, P. W. West, Bernard Saltzman. M. 8. Jacobs, P. J. Lawther. R. S. Scorer. and that entire group of early workers who gave us the techniques and first measurements of many of the pollutants now routinely monitored by massive automated devices.I will not deny, certainly, that great credit accrues to the present younger generation who, helped on by computers, are gradually reducing the whok behavior of the atmosphere to something that will fit onto a rather small number ofchips. On the other hand, in view of what appears to be a concerted elfort by the USEPA IO give the impression that both air pollution and its treatment have no existencebefore there was


an EPA,and that acidicdeposition began in the early 1980s.a deeper bow to our true history seemsin order. It is true that the first few pagesof the present volume do indeed mention a very few of the pioneers (and Maimonides!); a bit more of a tour through history would be a good lesson for the uadoubtcdly large numberofstudents who will use this book. For theseare indeed quibbles. The authors have produced a volume that can be understood by any student with three yearsofchemistry. yet enlightens an old hand like me. Despite the rather appalling price, it is recommended for individual ownership as well as purchaseby institutional lihrarics. This is a major family achicvcmcnt. JAMESP. LODGE. JR

Solvents Safety Handbook, D. J. De Renxo, Noyes Publications, Mill Road at Grand Ave., Park Ridge, NJ 07656, 1986, xii + 696 pp. Price $86.00. One of the anomalies of our culture is the enormous disparity among the risks that we tolerate and refuse to tolerate. We take to the roads on holidays, despite the virtual mathematical certainty that hundreds of people will die, and more will be injured. We positively glory in life-threatening sports such as football and boxing, the latter a sport in which the aclual aim of the contestants is to give one another a brain concussion. We subsidize the growth of tobacco, and tend to wink at the use of the so-called “recreational drugs.” AI the same time, we get terribly emotional about the discharge into the atmosphere of amounts of radioactivity or carcinogens that might result in miniscule increases in the cancer rate in the population. One of the areas in which this obsessionwith the avoidance of some hazards has come about only in the last few years is in thelaboratory. Some4Oyearsago, when I wasastudent, it was not at all uncommon to leave beakers of benzene to evaporate in the general laboratory atmosphere, and placing them in the hood was scarcely better; laboratory hood design was in its infancy, and very few of the hoods actually worked well enough to make it worth the elTort to set up the apparatus in them, asagainst setting them up on the bench and opening the window. Various pieces of mechanical equipment sat out unprotected, and it was the businessof the student to move past his vacuum pump in such a fashion that his clothing would not be caught in the belt. Looking back over that period, it strikes me as nearly miraculous that I am still alive. About the only safeguard that was at all enforced was the use of safety glasses,and then only if you did not wear corrective eye glasses.Even as late as the mid-196Ck, I had to mount a real campaign of threatened temper tantrums to get laboratories designedto protect the laboratory staff from toxic gases;even then I was only partially successful. I now have a son in graduate school in chemistry, and it has become a whole new story. Hoods actually work, and are Customarily used. There are stringent safety regulations, and part of the businessof his first week as a graduate student wIs being lilted with prescription safety goggles. Numerous routine techniques have hecn revised to use safer solvents. Pumps arecnrcfully cncloscdto protect workers from the belt drive. The ASTM now includes a disclaimer of possible chemical hazard in every procedure, even those for calibration of thermometers. In a word, laboratory safety has now arrived. So, for that matter, has transportation safety. This part of the country has hosted its share of chemical spills from tank trucks and railway tank cars, and the turnout of cquipmcnt. the elforts to neutralize spills, even of relatively innocuous materials, and the like, leave me almost incredulous.


Rook Reviews

Obviously, one portion of this preoccupation with chemical safety is the dissemination of information as to what substancesare hazardous, and how they can best be handled. It must necessarilyspread, not only to laboratory workers, but IO employeesof chemicalcompanies,to transport workers, and even,ultimately, to architectsand builders, who must take into account what sort of substanceswill be handled in the buildings they are planning or constructing. The information must go as well to physicians who may have to treat those acutely injured by the discharges that still, inevitably, occur. To all those, the present volume makes a contribution. Following a relatively brief introduction that explains the format, the entire balance of the book is given over to tables, eachoccupyingtwo pages,of physical constants and hazard potential of some 335 common hazardous solvents. This is excellent,and the price is probably reasonobleconsideringthe enormous eflbrt that obviously went into compiling such a mass of disparate data into a uniform format. What is poor is the absence of a table of synonyms; synonyms are tabulated with the preferred name, but, if what you have available is one of the synonyms,and if you are not enough of a chemist to grasp what the formula must be, and therefore the full array ofpossible alternative names,you will loseconsiderable time looking up possiblealternatives before you find the right one. Additionally, this material was initially compiled by the U.S. Coast Guard for use in the U.S. This means that critical constants tend to be given quite relentlessly in English units, with metric units only supplied for a few. There is a table of conversionfactors in the back of the book, but the volume will undoubtedly not appeal IO Europeans accustomed to understanding information in metric or SI equivalents, or to many American laboratory workers who are likewise largely spared the illogic of the “engineering” system of measurements. What is positively shocking is the number ofcases in which entries having to do with the properties, chemical, physical, and toxicological, of these common solventsmust simply be, “Data not available.” Certainly, the various institutes of toxicology scattered around the country need to study these tables and apply themselves to filling these vital blanks. JAMES P. Lowe,


Ozone, Monograph 20, Topics in Inorganic and General Chemistry, M. Horvath, L. Bilitzky and J. Huttner, Elsevier Science Publishers, P.O. Box 330, loo0 AH Amsterdam, The Netherlands, available in U.S.A./Canada, P.O. BOX 1663, Grand Central Station, New York, NY 10163, 1985,350 pp. Price $75.00/Dtl. 195.00. This volume reached my desk more than a year ago, and quite by inadvertence got buried under piles of other pending matters, not emerging until recently. As the title and seriestitle indicate, the volume is markedly more concerned with the laboratory and industrial applications ofoxone than its atmosphericchemistry. NevertheEcss, there is a sizable chapter on the latter subject, as well as a lengthy section on analytica) methods that covers much of the usual ground applicable to ordinary tropospheric concentrations. As a result, I did not read the entire book, but only those portions pertinent to the usual interests of the readership of this Journal. It was a rather extraordinary experience. Actually, for the most part, the material presented is reasonably accurate, so far as it goes. However, it Certainly cannot be character&d as up-to-date. The most recent bibliographic entry I spotted dated from 1979, and it was an exception;the center of gravity of the bibliography is in the

early ’70s. if not earlier. One distinctly gets the impression that the book was actually finished in about 1980, if not earlicr,and that theauthorshavebeenoccupiedeversincewithgettingthe book cleared through the Hungarian bureaucracy and into the queue for publication. In addition, the bibliography itself is virtually useless. It begins in what appears to be alphabetical order for perhaps the first 200 or so references, and then degenerates into completely random order thereafter. One almost gets the impression that a large stack of bibliographic cards were handed to a secretary to type, and that, sometime between their transmission and their typing the deck was dropped. AI least, I can think of no other explanation. The referencesare cited by their serial number in this mixed bibliography which, among other things, provides no inherent redundancy in case of a typographical error. 1chaseddown one reference that was referred to as “recent,” to discover that it was dated as 1923. I have no idea whether the authors actually consider that as recent, or whether the citation number was in error. In addition, the citations used are heavily weighted toward secondary sources, such as review articles, monographs, and even news items and articles in popular magazines. This has some strange results.Thechemistry ofphotochcmicil smog is discussedwithout a single direct reference to A. J. HaagenSmit; stratospheric oxone is reasonably well described, but without the slightest reference to Chapman; and Lovelock is never cited in connection with the ozone-freon problem. There are also some rather strange citations. There is a diagram of something virtually identical with the Brewer coulometric ozone sensor, which dates from the late 1950s but it isascribed to a pair of Russian authors in 1970. Despite this, the authors found a reference to a method for ozone measurement that Sachdevand I published in the early 1970s. which to my knowledge has never been put to use. In a discussion of stratospheric ozone and ozone destruction by halocarbons, there seem to be citations only of the work of Rowland and Molina, and that of Crutxen. The authors note the nearly ineffectual ban on aerosol sprays in the State of Oregon, but seem unaware of the national ban that shortly followed it. In summary, 1 am no judge of the usefulness of the discussionof industrial applications of ozone. However, it is not my sense that the present volume is particularly useful from the standpoint of its treatment of the atmospheric chemistry of ozone, and I cannot recommend it to the readership of this Journal. The knowledgeable will find it frustrating, and the novice will find it unenlightening. JAMES P. LODGE. JR

wIterbgged we&b: Why wwttc the World’s wet Places?, Edward Maltby, Earthscan, 3 Endsleigh Street, London WClH ODD, 1986,200 pp. Price 87.75; 3.95. Paperback. Sometimes I am a bit puzzled as to why I get particular volumes for review. The prsPcnt vshtme may have arrived by accident;the publisher’s”puA sheet”carriesa penned notation suggestingthat it perhaps was wppoaed to go to an editor of a different journal. However, I am always curious as to volumes offered as communicating environmental science to the layman, so I have gone th&gh the book. his own version of the The author’s huic thesis conservation of the earth’s wet&t& He does this through a curiously utilitarian argument, maiataining that the bulk of wetlands can be “cultivated,” whii is to say. manipulated, seeded and cropped, without harm. On the other hand, the draining of these lands is envirohmentally destructive in the extreme.