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Potassium accident. BEWARE: Safety clues

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posted on May, 13 2009 @ 04:49 PM





Hello everybody!

I walked into a partners office today asking:

Whats up!

He told me that everything was fine except for the fact that a first cousin of his had an accident.

I go: What? Is it serious ??????

He goes: Pretty bad ....!.....

I go: What?

He goes: Pretty bad..... He's a bad chemical burn on half his body , waist up... Propably left deeply scared by chemical burning and blind for life... MAYBE DEATH...

I go: What? How?

It turns out that his cousin had a blocked pipe in his gardens drainage system.
Someone suggested throwing in dry Potassium and then feeding it up with water should do the unclogging job....


Which might get him killed.....

No one should ever play with anything he does not have full knowledge about

In the case described herein what happened is the Precautions as described by WIKIPEDIA on Potassium as below:

Potassium Precautions

Potassium reacts very violently with water producing hydrogen gas which then usually catches fire. Potassium is usually kept under a hydrocarbon oil such as mineral oil or kerosene to stop the metal from reacting with water vapour present in the air. Unlike lithium and sodium, however, potassium should not be stored under oil indefinitely. If stored longer than 6 months to a year, dangerous shock-sensitive peroxides can form on the metal and under the lid of the container, which can detonate upon opening. It is recommended that potassium, rubidium or caesium not be stored for longer than three months unless stored in an inert (oxygen free) atmosphere, or under vacuum.[28]

As potassium reacts with water to produce highly flammable hydrogen gas, a potassium fire is only exacerbated by the addition of water, and only a few dry chemicals are effective for putting out such a fire (see the precaution section in sodium).

Potassium also produces potassium hydroxide (KOH) in the reaction with water. Potassium hydroxide is a strong alkali and so is a caustic hazard, causing burns.

Due to the highly reactive nature of potassium metal, it must be handled with great care, with full skin and eye protection being used and preferably an explosive resistant barrier between the user and the potassium.

If you require further reading visit the link given above.

I hope i will be the cause informing/alarming and saving some people from damage/accidents caused by potassium in the future.

You should note that not all hospital have the ability to assist such situations, and if something of this nature ever happened causing chemical burns you are in deep deep trouble. Really deep

In the case of my partners cousin it took more than a day before he was transferred by military plane to the appropriate hospital in the capital....

Safe practice should be exercised in all work activities and materials.

Take care, keep well and remember:

I will take joy in protecting people from a possible accident,
but NEVER THE BLAME if this post is misused.


[edit on 13/5/2009 by GEORGETHEGREEK]

Mod Note: External Source Tags – Please Review This Link.

Mod Note: All Caps – Please Review This Link.

[edit on Wed May 13 2009 by Jbird]

posted on May, 13 2009 @ 05:14 PM
Yeah, it's dangerous stuff, I had a high school teacher, introduce us to the effects of it, took us awhile to put out the fire, darn near set the class room on fire. And that was just a piece the size of a pin head.

He had a jolly laugh to it though, why we were all scared out of our minds, since he did the expirement in front of the door, so we'd be blocked in.

Sorry to hear about it for that fellow. Dangerous stuff. Dangerous stuff.

posted on May, 13 2009 @ 05:20 PM
wow, that is a horrible accident.
i hope he recovers as best he can.

his friend should pay for his medical treatment IMO.

posted on May, 13 2009 @ 06:02 PM
reply to post by Republican08

Imagine the guy had some quantity put in there....

As for the medical treatments.....a fortune isn't enough.....nor effective...

posted on May, 13 2009 @ 07:56 PM
I'm not trying to ditz anyone, but I seriously doubt this story.

Sure Potassium is dangerous, that's one of my issues with the story. I'm pretty sure you can't just go to WalMart and get a can of it. Why would someone go to all the trouble of ordering Potassium Metal from a chemical supply house, ignore the warnings that are probably on the order page as well as the package it comes in, and use enough to basically blow himself up?

Why would someone think of trying to use Potassium to unclog a pipe? It's definitely not something that's taught in plumbing school.

Doesn't make sense. Sounds more like one of those spam emails telling people to watch out for something. Like the one where a secretary in Kentucky cut her tongue on the sharp edge of a paper envelope and ended up with roach eggs in the cut which later hatched. BEWARE OF THE DEADLY ROACH EGG INFESTED ENVELOPES.

[edit on 13-5-2009 by LazyGuy]

posted on May, 13 2009 @ 08:27 PM
Interestingly enough, I made a point of telling my students last week about the reactivity of lithium and potassium. Not being the sort who is given to dangerous stunts, I did some demos with lithium. It's quite a bit safer...though not completely safe.

The minute you said "potassium" I knew where this was going, alas.

posted on Jul, 5 2009 @ 07:07 PM
reply to post by Byrd

Man is a very odd and powerful being !!! (The expression includes women)

Last night (Saturday) I was in a wedding. Guess who was there!
The guy of the accident i was depicting in this thread.
I thank god for that he was in excellent shape after a full recovery. His vision was not impaired in any way after recovery and there were very minor skin marks left that will probably be completely lost with time.

Mind that the guy was very very lucky to recover like that but you have to give some credit to the doctors and the ability of the body to recover from unexpected situations. Moreover you have to consider that he was in unbearable pain for a few weeks...

Please bear in mind that the good news do not make the facts on potassium any more innocent or safe.

My advice to people?

Better safe than sorry.

Take care!

posted on Jul, 5 2009 @ 07:18 PM
As a rule of thumb, I don't bring anything on the left side of the periodic table in contact with water until I know otherwise. Anything outside of water, elementary metals (iron, nickel copper, etc.), and common place compounds should be researched before being used.

posted on Jul, 5 2009 @ 11:42 PM
I have witnessed firsthand that potassium reacts violently with water, and can even explode if in sufficient quantity. What I saw was in a controlled laboratory situation by someone with a chemistry degree, but I can well imagine that if someone didn't know what they were doing, they could get very seriously hurt.

Anything on the leftmost side of the periodic table does the same thing, and the explosive power increases as you go down the table, i.e. lithium just explodes a little bit, and francium... well, run for the hills!

What I've seen in labs that use strong acids (or in this case, bases) is to have in their first aid kits something to neutralize it. For example, I spent a semester in a microfabrication laboratory several years ago where HCl and other strong acids were present, so at the first aid stations they had some kind of sodium basic compound that you were supposed to use to neutralize acid that may have spilled on you. Working with a strong base, you'd need something acidic to neutralize it.

In any case, don't mess with potassium unless you know exactly what you are doing. Glad to hear that your friend has survived though, and has gotten better.

posted on Jul, 6 2009 @ 11:55 AM
We had a teacher In High School demonstrate the reaction of Francium to water... Violent as hell... then again, She used a pin head amount, put that inside a dissolvable capsule, and we used a glass of water...

Note: We weren't anywhere close to it when it came into contact with the water, and we were behind a shield, just in case....

Yeah.... mean stuff... I learned from there, anything on the left of the table is a no-go for water...


posted on Jul, 6 2009 @ 12:39 PM

Originally posted by rekar
We had a teacher In High School demonstrate the reaction of Francium to water... Violent as hell... then again, She used a pin head amount, put that inside a dissolvable capsule, and we used a glass of water...

Note: We weren't anywhere close to it when it came into contact with the water, and we were behind a shield, just in case....

Yeah.... mean stuff... I learned from there, anything on the left of the table is a no-go for water...


She did not use Francium. At any given time on Earth, there is only about 20g of the substance. No amount of Francium has ever been weighed, and enough to be visible has only been gathered once. She may have used Sodium or Potassium, but not Francium.

posted on Jul, 6 2009 @ 01:03 PM
Hmm, Thank you for the correction, I never knew. I guess we learn something new everyday.

And this is a second line for good measures...


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