Monday, April 29, 2013

Aldrich: Proactive for Pyrophorics

Anyone ordered a pyrophoric reagent (butyllithium, DIBAL-H, Grignards, etc) from Aldrich lately?
Notice anything different?

For those new to the blog, I work at a relatively small biotech company, and as such do all my own ordering, from catalog lookup through payment submission. Last week, we required 100 mL of a soluble alkyl-aluminum reducing agent, so I made my order and waited for delivery. Instead, I got an email from Aldrich's Product Screening Team:
Greetings:  An item you've ordered is extremely hazardous. Please provide, at a minimum, a paragraph of how you will handle this material...
Whoa! Don't get me wrong, I'm all for enhanced laboratory safety, but we've ordered kilos of sodium hydride, liters of n-BuLi, and never encountered this particular safeguard.

When the aforementioned reagent (finally) arrived, it had the following label prominently featured on top:
"WARNING! The bottle inside this can contains a PYROPHORIC CHEMICAL. Exposure of this chemical to air as a result of careless handling or breakage of the bottle could result in spontaneous combustion of the chemical and extreme danger. This chemical should be handled only by trained, experienced and qualified personnel. Failure to follow the proper handling techniques could result in serious injury. Do not handle, transport or store the enclosed glass bottle unprotected!
     We strongly recommend retaining the metal can as a protective container for storing and/or transporting the inside bottle. 
NOTE -- Any literature included in this package must be read before attempting to use this chemical.      ALD-0056"
Double whoa! Now, I've been doing this a while, and I honestly don't recall seeing such strongly-worded labels on the outside. The label appears to be affixed a little differently from the standard product label below it, leading me to believe it's a recent addition to these product lines.

Somehow, I suspect that the increased safety precautions may have something to do with the ongoing legal battle out at UCLA.

Readers: Anyone from Aldrich read this blog? Can anyone weigh in here?

Update, 4/29: Since Andre asked so nicely in the Comments, I've included a picture, below:

Goodness, gracious, great bottle of fire!


  1. Pics or it didn't happen.

    (or Please can I see a visual if possible?)

  2. It's part of the transition to all work being done by robots. At this stage the human brain is made obsolete.