Dr. Hall's observations about the hazards of water reminded me of a faux article I wrote years ago concerning a proposed ban by the EPA (quoting supposed spokesperson Diana Moon Glampers!) of industrial use of dihydrogen monoxide, citing, among other things, the following:
- It is the major component of acid rain.
- Deaths of well over a billion people have been directly attributable to this substance, and the pace has been accelerating recently; deaths have occurred because of inhalation of the liquid, although inhalation or exposure to concentrated vapors could also be fatal in some cases.
- Property damage associated with it has also been enormous.
- Its misuse and reactive potential has been a major factor in such industrial tragedies as Bhopal and the US explosion at Napp Technologies in 1995.
- Although it is completely non-biodegradable, it has been a common component of industrial waste.
- The EPA regards it as toxic, since it was included on the Toxic Substances Control Act list.
- There is a shocking lack of safety assessment information for this high production volume (HPV) chemical.Getting back to arsenic, the site I worked at producing organo-arsenical veterinary medicines had a few interesting environmental/safety issues:
- Located in rural Pennsylvania Dutch country, it was founded by a chemical entrepreneur who sold the business to the chemical company (for which I later worked) in the mid-1960s; the major problem was that the reaction between arsenic acid & aniline only had about a 40% yield of arsanilic acid, which had to be separated & purified, creating (among other things) aqueous arsenical waste & salts that was "treated" to make the arsenic insoluble & stored on site in "lagoons".
- About two years after the company sale, the family at an adjacent farm sat down for their evening meal; everybody got sick & went to the local hospital except for one person - who happened to not have water with their meal; testing showed that their well water contained inorganic arsenic.
- The chemical company did a site cleanup and a "pump & treat" under a state permit (note that there was no EPA or OSHA at this point), with the solids being placed onsite in a concrete vault (with a rather poorly maintained roof); the treated water was discharged into streams which eventually flowed into the Schuylkill River (source of drinking water for Philadelphia) at (I believe) a maximum of 1 ppm arsenic.
- Production of arsanilic acid and carbarsone continued, but with the following changes for byproduct wastes: distilled aniline (which had always been recovered for recycle) generated arsenical/aniline tars which were drummed & stored onsite, and arsenic contaminated activated carbon from purification of arsanilic acid was similarly drummed & stored onsite - eventually these were sent to a "secure landfill"; the aqueous arsenical waste was trucked to a million gallon storage tank in Paulsboro, NJ, and from there sent by barge to be ocean dumped (after all, what's wrong a little more arsenic in the ocean!?).
- In the early 1970s, Congressman Peter Sandman of New Jersey (later on the House of Representatives committee investigating Watergate) found out about the ocean dumping, and got the Philadelphia Inquirer to run some front page stories about it; I believe this was the main driver in getting ocean dumping of toxics banned.
- All of this forced the temporary suspension of production of arsanilic acid; the aqueous arsenical salt waste stream in Paulsboro began to be trucked back, was concentrated by evaporation and centrifuged to remove precipitated salts, which were then drummed (and eventually disposed in a "secure landfill"); note that emptying the Paulsboro tank by this method was never completed - in the late 1970s it ended up being deep well injected after being sent to the midwest in tank cars.
- In 1972, I was sent out by the parent chemical company to the production site, as a process engineer to assist with startup of a revised process for arsanilic acid, which allowed recycling of the reaction byproducts to improve yields & reduce generation of some of the wastes; the key was to react at a lower temperature, which was done by introducing a solvent - perchloroethylene (you can start snickering now!).I could go on about my chemical adventures (and education) at this site, but that's more than enough for now!Richard RoseraBS & MS Chemical Engineer, MBARosearray EHS Services LLCLos Alamos, NM 87547Cell: 908-279-4463On Jul 14, 2018, at 1:54 PM, Alan Hall <oldeddoc**At_Symbol_Here**GMAIL.COM> wrote:In one of my risk assessment and communication lectures, I liked to ask the attendees: "Which is more hazardous: Cyanide or water". The replies were always cyanide. Then I mentioned a scenario where the cyanide was properly labeled, in a closed container, and stored in a properly functioning fume hood, or that you were dropped unclothed from a helicopter three miles offshore in Lake Erie in the middle of January. And yes, we have seen children and adults seriously ill or fatally poisoned with psychogenic or Munchausen's syndrome by proxy oral water overdoses.And I too, very much like Saliieri's' music, but it's kind of hard not to like Mozart's more. There's no accounting for tastes and to each his/her own. None are wrong. Just personal.I also very much like the painting of Van Gogh and have a print of Wheatfield with Crows over my desk, but temporal lobe epilepsy didn't do him any personal good and he never sold a painting n his life and only his brother Theo kept him alive to some meager extent. The museum in Amterdam is well worth visiting, and I have done so many times. There's certain times of day when the light is just right for certain paintings.And Varrichio(s) is/are correct, the main problems today are still overpopulation, inadequate measures for dealing with human waste, inadequate sanitation measures, and infectious diseases. More troops have died in wars from infectious diseases than were ever killed by combat wounds.AlanAlan H. Hall, M.D.Medical ToxicologistMajor, USAFR, MC, FS (Hon. Ret.)--- For more information about the DCHAS-L e-mail list, contact the Divisional membership chair at membership**At_Symbol_Here**dchas.org Follow us on Twitter **At_Symbol_Here**acsdchasOn Sat, Jul 14, 2018 at 1:29 PM, Varricchio <varricchio**At_Symbol_Here**comcast.net> wrote:As someone mentioned, it's all about the dose and time and place. I like to point out that too much H2O can kill. I believe there are arsenic eaters in the Andes.
As always people were looking for something that worked either as a color or a cure. They used what they had. The main problem they had was human waste.and infectious diseases.
Sent from my iPad , Fred and Claudette
--- For more information about the DCHAS-L e-mail list, contact the Divisional membership chair at membership**At_Symbol_Here**dchas.org Follow us on Twitter **At_Symbol_Here**acsdchas
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