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Tellurium; why the. . . .

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#1 popyro


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Posted 04 May 2005 - 03:19 PM

Hi, This may provoke a chuckle; or more likely, give you insights into the idiot mind.
I bought a large bag of kno3, only to find that it also contained 4% te.
The "te" in lower case letters on the bag told me that the kno3 was contaminated by Tellurium. 'Right, I knew te was metallic, but the name. . . Perhaps named after Edward Teller. Teller, the father of the H-b**b. This must mean it's possibly radio-active, or toxic; probably both.
And what was a poison doing in fertiliser, anyway?
Finding that tellurium was indeed toxic, I started getting paranoid about handling the stuff.
I could find no mention anywhere of it being used in fertiliser.
The thick plottened! Much later(days)I examined a packet of ordinary fertiliser, and looking at the list of TRACE ELEMENTS, I had a little "eureka moment".
'Yep, that's what it was, finally; bloody trace elements, like mg, cu, etc.
'Luckily, it can be removed by recrystallisation.
'Seemed funny at the time.

#2 alany


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Posted 04 May 2005 - 03:47 PM

You'd know if there was Te in there. Its compounds smell like garlic *very* strongly.

#3 popyro


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Posted 04 May 2005 - 05:26 PM

You'd know if there was Te in there.  Its compounds smell like garlic *very* strongly.

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Thanks Alan, Its compounds, yes; the free element, I dunno. Phosgene(CCl2O)too, if memory serves(WW1 poison gas in my kno3?).
'Probably outdoor handling recommended[sic].

#4 YT2095


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Posted 08 July 2007 - 10:35 AM

Phosgene smells very Musty like wet Hay.

the other Garlicy (it`s not a word but it should be) compounds are from Arsenic, Selenium and Phosphorus, all quite toxic too.
"In a world full of wonders mankind has managed to invent boredom" - Death

#5 EnigmaticBiker


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Posted 16 August 2007 - 07:52 PM

Working in a polymers lab I once found a bottle of a mercaptan (can't remember which one) that actually had an orange warning label:

"Warning Extremely offensive smell"

It was permanently stored in a fume cupboard and no, I didn't try sniffing it.

#6 GZ22


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Posted 29 October 2007 - 07:44 PM

Mercaptans produce a highly offensive smell even at low (part per billion) measures. Methyl Mercaptan (Methanethiol) can be detected by the nose in concentrations as low as 1/25,000,000,000 mg per milliliter of air. Rotten Cabbage - mmmmm!

I once worked for a construction chemical maufacturer as a process operator. On one particular occassion, one of the products I had to make required 250ml of DMF (Dimethylformamide) as a constituent of the mix. Fetching the 245 litre drum on the fork lift, I could see there was a massive skull and crossbones and the word 'Toxic' on the label - I knew that even though I'd never come across this before, I should treat it with caution. Once I'd decanted the required amount into a small plastic bucket, my boss advised me to smell it. :o

(Turns out I was right to be cautious about it - DMF is NASTY stuff. The same guy once questioned why I asked for a respirator when dealing with 1000 litres of concentrated HCL, as the person who did my job before I joined the company didn't use one. I asked my boss what happened to that person - "Oh, he left because he became ill". I too left because I became ill. Thank god that company is no longer trading.)

Still thinking of the label I'd seen, I didn't want to smell it so I said "No, it's toxic" and he said "No seriously - you've GOT to smell this - you'll recognise it straight away - tell me what the smell is". He then proceeded to pick up the bucket and took a HUGE deep breath from it right in front of his face. He then urged me to smell it again, exclaiming that it was fine to do so. So I nervously took a VERY small sniff of it. Then, with a big smile on his face, he said - "See what I mean - fannies!"

(Apologies if the use of that word offended anyone reading this post)

Edited by GZ22, 29 October 2007 - 07:56 PM.

Do it safe - Do it right - or - Don't do it at all.

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