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Thread: Composition of Hazardous Household Devices for Children

  1. #1 Composition of Hazardous Household Devices for Children 
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    Hi
    I have much interest in understand children's toxication
    (from a purely academic point of view)

    I'm wonder how you can know the complete chemical composition and its toxicologycal effects of household devices like Tinned Cooper Fuse Wire, for example.
    For the case of a child with pica http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pica_(disorder)
    who has been consuming parts of Tinned Cooper Fuse Wire (Can contain 25% Lead). I doubt Poison Centers knows the complete info, considering most products are copyright attached.

    Thanks


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  3. #2  
    Cooking Something Good MacGyver1968's Avatar
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    Wait...this sounds really familar....did you post a similar thread on another science forum about your brother ingesting a small piece of tinned copper fuse wire, and thought it might be the cause of his mental problems?


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  4. #3  
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    I doubt Poison Centers knows the complete info,
    Poison centres know just about everything. The main thing they need from people presenting with patients is the exact details. Preferably the container itself. Because if they don't have that product formulation on their own database, every country with a functioning hospital system has a national poisons centre to back them up. And they can contact poisons experts all over the world.

    They have the hazard sheets for anything and everything. They just need to know the exact product, the exact formulation, the exact manufacturer - because a generic 'splashed with acid', 'ate copper fuse wire', 'drank dishwashing liquid' or any other such description doesn't tell them what they need to know.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
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  5. #4  
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    Factors you would need to know: how much of the suspected substance the child ingested, weight of the child at the time, reactivity of the form of lead that was ingested. Generally metalic forms of heavy metals are less toxic than compounds containing them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    I doubt Poison Centers knows the complete info,
    They have the hazard sheets for anything and everything. They just need to know the exact product, the exact formulation, the exact manufacturer - because a generic 'splashed with acid', 'ate copper fuse wire', 'drank dishwashing liquid' or any other such description doesn't tell them what they need to know.
    I am confused. If after a medical consultation, the child remember he has been 'picking' a fuse wire/x product 5 years ago? Sure that fuse was thrown away, long time ago.
    I doubt the product distributor (if that store still exist. if the father remember in which store he bought it) could have the receipt of 5 years ago.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacGyver1968 View Post
    Wait...this sounds really familar....did you post a similar thread on another science forum about your brother ingesting a small piece of tinned copper fuse wire, and thought it might be the cause of his mental problems?
    Yes. I asked in 3 probable countryside stores, they have absolutely no idea about the name of the product. One guy said: it is a chinese product, but we sells a national version too, and the composition is 100% lead. I answered: i've read some contains cooper, tin, indium, is it true? He said: no, impossible, cooper is a good conductor.

    Googling i found this: (the picture looks very similar) www.englishtaobao.

    Asian friends Model:Lead wire
    Specifications:15A
    Material:Alloy
    Quality household fuse Safety fuses 30A25A20A15A10A ASP net weight of wire 42.

    Impossible to find the exact product, the exact formulation, the exact manufacturer.

    An unattainable utopia
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  8. #7  
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    I am confused. If after a medical consultation, the child remember he has been 'picking' a fuse wire/x product 5 years ago?
    Well in that case, a poisons centre wouldn't be involved. The only thing needed is a standard blood test to determine the current levels of lead in the blood and whether that requires remedial action.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    I am confused. If after a medical consultation, the child remember he has been 'picking' a fuse wire/x product 5 years ago?
    Well in that case, a poisons centre wouldn't be involved. The only thing needed is a standard blood test to determine the current levels of lead in the blood and whether that requires remedial action.
    I have the Dreisbach Manual of Toxicology (The most profuse?). It recognizes the effects of numerous elements and compounds are unknown yet.
    Considering the tinned cooper fuse wire is an alloy (different types of alloys exists, and each particular compound have peculiar mechanical and chemical properties) If the doctor ignores the exact composition, ergo its synergic effects, the organs/tissues which accumulate the toxic (in which form), its metabolic process, the long term effects; how he could prescribe a test and a treatment?
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  10. #9  
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    There are standard blood and other tests for all the heavy metals.
    heavy metal poisoning - definition of heavy metal poisoning in the Medical dictionary - by the Free Online Medical Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia.

    If the level detected is above the level of concern, there are hospital only chelation procedures to reduce the levels. Once the tests show reduction to acceptable levels, further testing of organ function or other matters known to be affected by the metal in question can be carried out to see if the damaging effects have been ameliorated. Note carefully that these tests should be conducted only by competent medical personnel. There are lots, you wouldn't believe how many, of places that carry out "provoked" metals testing. Basically, they give a small dose of a chelating agent followed by a urine test. Surprise, surprise, metals show up in the urine. It would be more surprising if they didn't. This is no way to find out if there is a real problem. We all have various substances accumulated throughout our bodies and we're well equipped to tolerate them. It's only when certain things are in excess of tolerable limits that we have a problem. This applies to vitamins, fats, and all sorts of other stuff as well as metals. Our bodies are built to be resilient to all kinds of things.

    (One big warning. There are scam artists who offer chelation services, which are marketed mainly to people who are uninformed and medically naive, which are extremely dangerous. People die from this process when it's incorrectly administered and/ or inappropriate in the first place. Most chelating agents are not specific to any particular metal and essential minerals can be extracted from tissues and their lack can cause death. A couple of autistic kids have certainly died in the USA as a direct result of chelation (- and heavy metals do not and cannot "cause" autism, so the whole procedure was unnecessary in the first place). Probably a few more have died in some of those over-the-border 'medical' facilities that so many medical woo 'practitioners' move to when avoiding oversight by American health and consumer authorities.)
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
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    Thanks a lot
    However, i have another question

    From: Alloys. Chemical Properties andConstitution.
    Another info i found: http://www.ce.berkeley.edu/~paulmont...loys_steel.pdf

    Intermediate Alloy Phases or Chemical Compounds.

    The intermediate alloys orchemical compounds are a special type of
    solid solution, andfor its study we beginby recalling some principles ofthe
    chemical compounds in general.

    The chemical compounds in general are formed by elements of opposed valence
    whose proportion is determined by the chemical formula, exampleof them
    may be water andsodium chloride. Thejunction between them is produced by strong links
    making it difficult the separationof their constituent atoms.

    The properties of the chemical compound aredifferent from those atoms separately,so if we take the case of sodium chloride (common salt), while chlorine is a highlyreactive and harmful gas, and sodium is a highlyreactive metal that oxidizeseasily, sodium chloride is an innocuous compound of great importance. Then,as can be seen, whencombined, these elements cease to exist as individual elements, and give rise to achemical compound that has peculiar physical and mechanical characteristicsand different chemical properties.

    What to do if that being the case? What if it also contains nonmetals, metalloids, etc, to improve mechanical properties, etc?

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  12. #11  
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    Well it really depends on the metal and the compound in question.

    If the compound is stable and/or doesn't release the metal when in the body and/or is promptly excreted, there's no problem at all. The classic case here would be mercury. Methylmercury accumulates through the food chain in fish and seals and whales and it also bioaccumulates in the human body. Ethylmercury, on the other hand, doesn't accumulate, it clears from the body in a few days.

    So methylmercury can be dangerous, people should control their intake of fish. Ethylmercury is as near harmless as makes no difference for the average citizen.

    But this problem is secondary. If a person is showing signs of toxicity and/ or a blood test identifies a problematic level of a metal, then something has to be done about that. Once it's been dealt with, the next question is "Where did the metal come from?" If it's not obvious, then questions need to be answered about possible sources in not-so-obvious substances and chemical compounds.

    If the person eats home-grown food, the soil in the garden has to be tested. The household should be tested for various compounds in older paints. It's not just the lead in older gloss paints, there were other problem chemicals though my memory tells me that they were mostly vapours when applying the paints. And so on.

    And this needs to be done so that the person can avoid further exposure and risk of toxic effects.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    But this problem is secondary. If a person is showing signs of toxicity and/ or a blood test identifies a problematic level of a metal...
    Which blood test could identify a metallic compound completely different from its constitutents?

    Definition of Compound by the Free Online Dictionary Thesaurus and Enciclopedia:
    3. Chemistry A pure, macroscopically homogeneous substance consisting of atoms or ions of two or more different elements in definite proportions that cannot be separated by physical means.Acompound usually has properties unlike those of its constituent elements.
    From: Make your own fusible alloy

    http://sci-toys.com/scitoys/scitoys/thermo/thermo4.html

    The melting point of an alloy is often quite different from the melting points of the pure metals from which it is made.

    Bismuth melts at 519.8 F (271.3 C).
    Tin melts at 447.8 F (231.8 C).
    Lead melts at 620.6 F (327.5 C).
    Indium melts at 312.8 F (156.6 C).

    Pure substances have a sharp melting point. A pure substance is either an element, or a chemical compound. Mixtures melt over a range of temperatures.
    A eutectic alloy is one that has a sharp melting point. This implies that it is a chemical compound, where the elements are bound together in strict proportions, rather than a simple mixture of elements.

    In a mixture of elements, some of them will react together to make compounds. Compounds consist of exact proportions of one atom to another, such as one to one, two to one, three to two, etc. Any excess of one element over another will not react, and will stay in the mixture as a pure element.
    That is why mixures have a wider melting point. One chemical melts at one temperature, and the others melt at higher temperatures. Only when all of them have melted do you get a true liquid.

    What makes a substance melt at a given temperature is how strongly the molecules of the material bind to one another. Sometimes two elements combine to form a compound that binds tightly to itself. This would raise the melting point. Other times, the compound formed does not bind to itself as easily as the pure elements do. This compound would have a lower melting point than either of the pure elements. Compounds are not limited to two elements. Sometimes many elements bind together into a single compound.
    In electronics, one of the prefered solders used is a eutectic mix of lead and tin. By weight, there is just about 63% tin, and 37% lead. It melts at 361 Fahrenheit (183 Celsius).

    The atomic weight of lead is 207.2.
    The atomic weight of tin is 118.71.
    If there were one atom of lead for every three atoms of tin, the ratios would be:
    207.2 ------------------ = 36.78% lead 207.2 + 3 x 118.71and 3 x 118.71 ------------------ = 63.22% tin 207.2 + 3 x 118.71
    Thus the chemical formula for the compound is PbSn3.
    Another eutectic alloy is a mixture of lead and antimony. For every antimony atom, there are four lead atoms. The melting points are:

    Lead (Pb): 327 Celsius
    Antimony (Sb): 630 Celsius
    Alloy (SbPb4): 246 Celsius
    In the eutectic alloy of magnesium and lead, there are two atoms of magnesium for each atom of lead:

    Lead (Pb): 327 Celsius
    Magnesium (Mg): 651 Celsius
    Alloy (PbMg2): 530 Celsius

    The eutectic form of the bismuth-lead-tin alloy is 52.53% bismuth, 32.55% lead, and 14.92% tin, by weight. The compound is Bi8Pb5Sn4.
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  14. #13  
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    Ethylmercury, on the other hand, doesn't accumulate, it clears from the body in a few days.

    Ethylmercury is as near harmless as makes no difference for the average citizen.
    What of the average citizen who happens to be in that group which routinely consumes large amounts of Ethylmercury-containing food? True, the rapidity at which toxins are flushed from the body is relevant, but still, toxic is toxic, is it not? jocular
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    Quote Originally Posted by jocular View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    Ethylmercury, on the other hand, doesn't accumulate, it clears from the body in a few days.

    Ethylmercury is as near harmless as makes no difference for the average citizen.
    What of the average citizen who happens to be in that group which routinely consumes large amounts of Ethylmercury-containing food? True, the rapidity at which toxins are flushed from the body is relevant, but still, toxic is toxic, is it not? jocular
    I guess Ethylmercury and Methylmercury exist in fish/all edible species in a standard proporiton, otherwise it could be dangerous to consume 98% ethyl and 2% methyl each meal, even considering ethylmercury is stable and/or doesn't release the metal when in the body and/or is promptly excreted.

    Regard lead test, $ 38.7 (equivalent to local current) is the price of a lead test in my city. Not screening. One per time.
    Maybe it is the simplest cheapest method to measure levels of any heavy metal.


    I really don't know how sophisticated are their equipments, but i imagine if the test shows a normal level that doesn't mean the result could be the same for expensive tests as Mass Spectrometry (i was read it is a very expensive test, out of reach for common salaried), Gas Cromatography, Spectrophotometry, etc.
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