dangerous substance???

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by Gadget, Mar 15, 2003.

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  1. Gadget

    Gadget Guest

    I was pacing with a mate of mine down the A10, doing about 25 mph, down the cycle path. He was in
    front and I was about 2 metres behind him and a little to the left of him. He goes through this
    puddle, about an inch deep, with both wheels. I just miss this puddle but I noticed some strange
    reaction happenning on both his wheels. They were dissolving and chunks had started to fall of the
    tyres. This prompted him to slam on his brakes and come to a halt. As we looked over his bike,
    paint, rubber and plastic was peeling or dissolving in front of our eyes. Lucky for him his crud
    catcher had prevented him getting any of the liquid in his eyes or on his skin. We called the police
    and they took a sample of what was left in the puddle. It was a clear-ish liquid with a yellow tint
    and about as thick as water. So far the metal has shown no signs of corrosion, but the grease on his
    chain has dissovled off his chain. I was wondering if any one would know what this substance was. I
    am also posting this as warning to any one who uses the A10 cycle path, to watch out in case their
    is some nut doing this on purpose. The incident happened near the north circular/A10 junction. The
    police had the council come out and spray the path clean, but please be careful.

    Gadget
     
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  2. .In news:[email protected], Gadget
    <[email protected]> typed:

    > thick as water. So far the metal has shown no signs of corrosion, but the grease on his chain has
    > dissovled off his chain. I was wondering if any one would know what this substance was.

    Shit - this is a very nasty incident indeed.

    Given the lack of corrosion on the metal and the way the rubber dissolved I would suspect an organic
    solvent such as xylene, toluene or worse stiill a halogenated derivative thereof. All of these
    things can certainly attack grease, oil and rubber, and some of them will dissolve paintwork (they
    are often used as solvents for enamel paints).

    Of course, Any of the brainy people here with better chemical knowledge (Simon M?) are welcome to
    add their thoughts

    Thanks for the heads up - I am really worried that this *could* be *deliberate* contamination of the
    road surface - there appears (from the description you have given) to be too *little* of it to be an
    *accidental* spill from a tanker - a spill normally ends up with the old bill, council and
    Environment Agency/Defra becoming aware quite quickly, and road closures, which people would have
    known about.

    Even if someone is "just" dumping unwanted solvent from whatever back-yard chemical process, this is
    an offence against EU environment protection regs, and the fact this stuff ended up in the cycle
    lane is shocking.

    What did the Police have to say about the incident? You may wish to consider notifying the Press as
    well, although bear in mind if someone is reading the paper and thinks "wow! look at the trouble I
    caused!" it could lead to "copy-cat" incidents.

    Alex
     
  3. W K

    W K Guest

    "Mr [email protected] (2.3 zulu-alpha) [comms room 2]" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > .In news:[email protected], Gadget
    > <[email protected]> typed:
    >
    > > thick as water. So far the metal has shown no signs of corrosion, but the grease on his chain
    > > has dissovled off his chain. I was wondering if any one would know what this substance was.
    >
    > Shit - this is a very nasty incident indeed.
    >
    > Given the lack of corrosion on the metal and the way the rubber dissolved
    I
    > would suspect an organic solvent such as xylene, toluene or worse stiill a halogenated derivative
    > thereof. All of these things can certainly attack grease, oil and rubber, and some of them will
    > dissolve paintwork (they are often used as solvents for enamel paints).

    Does sound like some sort of organic solvent, but I would have thought there would have been a very
    obvious smell.

    I'd go for the fly-tipping theory - such substances are supposed to have fairly tightly regulated
    and presumably expensive disposal.
     
  4. In news:[email protected], W K <[email protected]> typed:

    > Does sound like some sort of organic solvent, but I would have thought there would have been a
    > very obvious smell.
    >

    Could have been masked by wind or traffic fumes (remember, they are next to the A10). Halogenated
    aromatics seem to have less "smell" than xylene or toluene in their pure form.

    > I'd go for the fly-tipping theory - such substances are supposed to have fairly tightly regulated
    > and presumably expensive disposal.

    Indeed so, and IIRC the rules have become *more* stringent perhaps as of this year, especially with
    regard to the protection of the environment. Anyone else noticed how that rather alarming sign with
    a picture of dead tree and dead fish floating on a contaminated river is turning up more frequently
    on solvent bottles?

    Even so, it begs the question - *why* in the *cycle lane?* If it is fly-tipping, I get the
    impression that this could be the work of a pissed-off person in the chemical industry thinking -

    "F**king eco-warrior types! Hmm, this stuff dissolves rubber. I could seriously f*ck up their
    bikes if it were to end up in the cycle lane. Perhaps one of them may even crash..."

    Perhaps partly my paranoia, but IME people who are sociopathic enough to fly-tip nasty chemicals are
    just as capable of finding *other* evil things to do with them.

    Alex
     
  5. dannyfrankszzz

    dannyfrankszzz New Member

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    That's seriously worrying as I also live near that part of London. I'll be looking out. Good call for pointing this out.
     
  6. Pete Biggs

    Pete Biggs Guest

    Thanks for the warning and well done for calling the police (a lot of people wouldn't have
    bothered).

    ~PB
     
  7. Simon Mason

    Simon Mason Guest

    "Mr [email protected] \(2.3 zulu-alpha\) [comms room 2]" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > .In news:[email protected], Gadget
    > <[email protected]> typed:
    >
    > > thick as water. So far the metal has shown no signs of corrosion, but the grease on his chain
    > > has dissovled off his chain. I was wondering if any one would know what this substance was.
    >
    > Shit - this is a very nasty incident indeed.
    >
    > Given the lack of corrosion on the metal and the way the rubber dissolved I would suspect an
    > organic solvent such as xylene, toluene or worse stiill a halogenated derivative thereof. All of
    > these things can certainly attack grease, oil and rubber, and some of them will dissolve paintwork
    > (they are often used as solvents for enamel paints).

    You are probably right Alex. At first I thought it was EMK (Ethyl Methyl Ketone)as this is a well
    known paint remover, but as this is miscible in water and the police managed to get a sample of the
    liquid on its own, it would appear to be an aromatic or chlorinated hydrocarbon, like you described.

    It is unlikely to be a pure solvent, more likely a mixture used in perhaps the painting and
    decorating trade. They wouldn't chuck the pure stuff away so maybe it was a job lot of used paint
    thinners for cleaning brushes (at a guess)perhaps with trichloroethylene as a major component (which
    attacks rubber and paint).

    Although I've got my bike here at work and a load of "trike" I'm not going to see what happens if I
    spray the stuff on it ;-)

    Simon Mason
     
  8. In news:[email protected], Simon Mason <[email protected]> typed:

    <A10 cycle lane solvent abuse>

    > perhaps the painting and decorating trade. They wouldn't chuck the pure stuff away so maybe it was
    > a job lot of used paint thinners for cleaning brushes (at a guess)perhaps with trichloroethylene
    > as a major component (which attacks rubber and paint).

    Yep - this seems feasible. It still begs the question of *why* a flytipper would dump it on the
    cycle path (and draw attention to themselves), when presumably it could have been dumped *elsewhere*
    and maybe gone relatively unnoticed - apart of course from the cumulative damage to the environment.

    Although of course there isn't evidence to suspect any kind of *organised* campaign against
    cyclists, I can see how someone in the chemical or construction industry *would* do this, having
    somehow ended up with surplus solvent that now has to be disposed of in a manner that pushes the
    cost *back* to them. Whether contaminating the cycle lane was a primary intention, or just slipped
    into the polluters head is another matter.

    Consider this scenario:

    1. White van man doesn't like the new rules - he's just been quoted a high price for
    solvent disposal
    2. He thinks "eco-warriors" are responsible for this new unwanted cost to his business.
    3. Of course, all *cyclists* are eco-warriors ;)
    4. So there he is, driving along the A10 . He spots the cycle lane. Look at those bastards/bitches,
    they are taking up my road space/tax money and they "don't even pay tax on their bikes"- and now
    they have *even got a bit of road just for their filthy bikes!*
    5. Aha - I know how I can get rid of this solvent *and* get back at the eco-warriors at the
    same time...

    OK this may sound paranoid - but from what I have read on pro-roads/cars groups I believe that there
    are people out there prepared to do stuff like this - after all if they will smash speed cameras,
    its only another step down the line.

    Again well done to the OP for telling us and the authorities and I hope the coppers *do* find out
    the full story - before someone is hurt.

    Alex
     
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