Picric Acid from Northern CA Lab detonated

Bomb squad personnel removed a container of aging picric acid from a BioMarin lab in Bel Marin Keys on Friday afternoon and detonated the volatile mix at Pacheco Pond.

Source: By Nels Johnson, Marin Independent Journal

Picric acid becomes volatile and explosive when it crystalizes, and workers preparing to move out old lab material Friday noticed crystals had formed on a container of the substance.

“Realizing it was highly explosive, they called 911 for help,” said Sandy Wargo, spokeswoman for the Novato Fire District.

When the county hazardous materials team arrived, officials decided the situation required expertise of the Berkeley bomb squad, she said.

The squad exploded the acid at 3 p.m.

A Marin County CUPA inspector will work with BioMarin on the handling and storing of hazardous materials. The Certified Unified Program Agency inspects businesses for their storing and handling of hazardous materials and wastes and advises businesses on procedures during a spill.

Related: Slow-mo explosion of Picric Acid at Meadows Field – Video

Editors Note: It is not uncommon to find Picric Acid in solution in Chem and Bio laboratories. The danger is if Picrates have formed under the lid. Over the years it was routine to ‘rehydrate’ the Picrates by turning the jar upside down in a 5 gallon bucket of water. This method, although effective, creates obvious safety concerns with the handling of the material and is now most often handled by a bomb disposal team. Better safe than sorry.

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