Turning Archive 2005

Chemical handling, storage, and personal safety

Russ Fairfield
>I recently posted a message about the possible side effects of using alcohol. The responses on this forum mostly wrote it off as humor, but there were several derisive personal e-mails, and one that accused me of being one of those "left wing environmentalist do-gooder cranks" (their words).

The reason for the original message was the same reason for this one. There have been messages about using alcohol, and there are several messages posted about going into this as a 55-gallon gallon enterpeise, and I remember somebody bragging that they had just purchased four (4) drums of alcohol. Following another thread, I can just see someone running out and trying to make 50 gallons a week of diesel fuel, based on nothing more than a couple messages that were posted here. And, I just posted a message about boiling alcohol to make a wood dye.

I'm sorry folks, but I will still issue a word of caution.

Think about what you are doing before getting into some of these things. Don't do them if you don't understand the safety issues around storing and handling volatile chemicals like alcohol.

To all those who thought it humorous, there is a real problem with storing a 55-gallon drum of alcohol, or anything else, in your garage. If your personal safety doesn't concern you; then read the fine print in your home insurance policy, and pay extra close attention to the clause about "contributory negligence". Talk to your insurance agent for a better definition. I don't know of any insurance underwriter who would not consider a 55-gallon drum of alcohol as "contributary negligence" and reason enough to deny an insurance claim for fire damage. Also get a definition on what is considered a "reasonable and prudent" quantitity of a volatile chemical. I know of no underwriter or jurisdiction in the US who would consider a 55-gallon drum of alcohol in the garage as "reasonable and prudent".

As for the 5000-gallon and the law enforcement agencies - I don't know about where you live, but the purchase of a 55-gallon of alcohol of any kind around here will get you a visit from the Sheriff to see what you are up to.

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