Phenol distillation (caveat)

alvin at alvin at
Mon Nov 1 17:41:02 EST 1993

	Not to discourage anyone from distilling their
own phenol, but I have met several people who
inadvertently broke their distilling apparati while distillation
was in progress, causing a spray of hot phenol to land
on their bodies.  In one case, the glassware was
old and got bumped; in another, a thermometer which was somehow
inside the apparatus in a specially-designed holder stopped
up the flow of phenol and caused a backup and overflow.
While they were attempting to unstop the apparatus they broke it.
	Be careful!  Also, if you do get hot phenol on you,
glycerol is supposed to be useful in washing it off.  If you
use water it will simply spread the phenol around (so I have
heard).  Emergency room people have little or no experience
with phenol, so it is good to be able to tell them
how they should treat it.

More information about the Methods mailing list