Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Bad Question about Dangerous Chemicals

The "Safety Zone" blog has a open question: what's the most dangerous chemical you've handled?

I hate that question. Most dangerous?
  • They are all dangerous - all chemicals can kill you. As such, all chemicals need to be treated with respect.
  • "Danger" has many aspects - toxicity, explosiveness, reactivity with the general lab environment, ability to cause long-term health issues,... How can these aspects be ranked relative to one another? That makes for good debate over a couple of beers, but it's not a serious safety discussion.
  • The question is begging for bravado: "Yeah, well I worked with X and that's twice as bad as your Y". Again reinforcing the concept that only certain chemicals need concern us.
I'm choosing not to answer the question, and I'm surprised that I'm the first to mention this.


Eric F. Brown said...

As I always say, water kills many, many people every year.

Currywork-s said...

OK so let the blog write under standard temperature and pressure.