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A special guest post “home science under attack” by Robert Bruce Thompson…

The Worcester Telegram & Gazette reports that Victor Deeb, a retired chemist who lives in Marlboro, has finally been allowed to return to his Fremont Street home, after Massachusetts authorities spent three days ransacking his basement lab and making off with its contents.

Deeb is not accused of making methamphetamine or other illegal drugs. He’s not accused of aiding terrorists, synthesizing explosives, nor even of making illegal fireworks. Deeb fell afoul of the Massachusetts authorities for … doing experiments.

Authorities concede that the chemicals found in Deeb’s basement lab were no more hazardous than typical household cleaning products. Despite that, authorities confiscated “all potentially hazardous chemicals” (which is to say the chemicals in Deeb’s lab) from his home, and called in a hazardous waste cleanup company to test the chemicals and clean up the lab.

Pamela Wilderman, the code enforcement officer for Marlboro, stated, “I think Mr. Deeb has crossed a line somewhere. This is not what we would consider to be a customary home occupation.”

Allow me to translate Ms. Wilderman’s words into plain English: “Mr. Deeb hasn’t actually violated any law or regulation that I can find, but I don’t like what he’s doing because I’m ignorant and irrationally afraid of chemicals, so I’ll abuse my power to steal his property and shut him down.”

In effect, the Massachusetts authorities have invaded Deeb’s lab, apparently without a warrant, and stolen his property. Deeb, presumably under at least the implied threat of further action, has not objected to the warrantless search and the confiscation of his property. Or perhaps he’s just biding his time. It appears that Deeb has grounds for a nice juicy lawsuit here.

There’s a lesson here for all of us who do science at home, whether we’re home schoolers or DIY science enthusiasts. The government is not our friend. Massachusetts is the prototypical nanny state, of course, but the other 49 aren’t far behind. Any of us could one day find the police at the door, demanding to search our home labs. If that day comes, I will demand a warrant and waste no time getting my attorney on the phone.

There’s a word for what just happened in Massachusetts. Tyranny. And it’s something none of us should tolerate.

 Makershedsmall
Robert Bruce Thompson is the author of Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments – For students, DIY hobbyists, and science buffs, who can no longer get real chemistry sets, this one-of-a-kind guide explains how to set up and use a home chemistry lab, with step-by-step instructions for conducting experiments in basic chemistry. Learn how to smelt copper, purify alcohol, synthesize rayon, test for drugs and poisons, and much more. The book includes lessons on how to equip your home chemistry lab, master laboratory skills, and work safely in your lab, along with 17 hands-on chapters that include multiple laboratory sessions.

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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Comments

  1. selenized.wordpress.com says:

    For all that I disagree with what the state did (i.e. over react), I think its a stretch to say Mr. Deeb didn’t violate any laws or regulations. From the same article it states: “Pamela A. Wilderman, Marlboro’s code enforcement officer, said Mr. Deeb was doing scientific research and development in a residential area, which is a violation of zoning laws.”

    1. ryderspearmann says:

      I am most concerned about so many here, that are of the VERY mistaken belief that if laws are violated, then the authorities have the right to do what they will.

      FIRST – Laws are NOT automatically correct. There were laws that said that slaves running away was illegal, therefore the authorities had the right to capture them, and return them to bondage?

      OF COURSE NOT. Many if not MOST laws, are very questionable.

      If you are a FREE MAN, then how can ANYONE “zone” you out of your basic human rights?

      Can government set up a “no blacks” zone, and zone away their rights?

      THINK, PEOPLE. THINK, THINK, THINK.

      Government walks ALL OVER YOU with the endless laws they pass… that are VERY SELDOM checked for their validity in the Constitution.

      STOP giving “law” so much credit. It is far, far better to ASSUME it is illegitimate, and demand that some proof be provided to legitimize it… that it has any place in a free society.

      Our laws are not written by God or some supreme authority. They are written by power hungry men and women that typically don’t care at all about your rights… so most of the laws they pass VIOLATE your rights as a free human being.

      Stand up for them. Stop worshiping the laws they pass.

  2. Ben Johnson says:

    This is the exactly the kind of thing that is causing us to lag farther and farther behind in technology.

    Doing scientific research and development in a residential development? Have they ever heard of the great American tradition of garage inventors? I wonder how the zoning statute is worded? Can you be in violation for developing scientific software?

    Who’s next? The student doing a high school science project? I hope so, that’ll make them look like the idiots they really are. Use your resources on some actual criminals Massachusetts — scratch that I forgot we’re all criminals.

  3. LetThemKnow says:

    Pamela A. Wilderman
    Code Enforcement Officer
    508 460-3765

    Joseph.Ferson@state.ma.us
    617-654-6523

  4. CompanionCube says:

    “Allow me to translate Ms. Wilderman’s [plain English] words into plain English…”

    Yeah, I can read and form my own opinions, thanks. I’m sorry, but if you’re going to be that patronizing, don’t expect me to pay any attention to you. I get enough of that attitude from Cory’s posts whenever I try to read Boing Boing.

    The number one reasons bloggers will never be considered journalists: Inflated Egos.

  5. Phillip Torrone says:

    @CompanionCube – the author isn’t a blogger, he is a chemist and author of our chemistry book.

  6. VB says:

    to CompanionCube:
    Inflated egos?… you’ve obviously never met Mitch Albom.

  7. samurai1200 says:

    Ain’t that some sh**!!!! I wonder how “they” found out about his home experiments in the first place…

  8. Kevin Blanchard says:

    That’s awful. What an abuse of power. What one does in one’s home is no one’s business but especially if they are not breaking any laws. No warrant? Seizing equipment? The only thing he’s “guilty” of science. You’d think MA would have gotten over it’s fear of science after the Salem Witch Trials, but based on this unethical (and possibly illegal) search and seizure it would appear they have not.

    I really hope he takes them to court because not only have they crossed a major line and abused their authority but he should be reimbursed for the stress he has gone through, loss of time on his work, and the loss of his chemicals and equipment.

  9. Ron says:

    SCIENCE !

  10. Anonymous says:

    MENLO PARK— Thomas Edison, the retired inventor who stored hundreds of electrical appar in his house, was allowed to return home yesterday after authorities spent three days dismantling his basement laboratory.
    None of the materials found at Menlo Park posed a radiological or biological risk, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection. No mercury or poison was found. Some of the compounds are potentially explosive, but no more dangerous than typical household cleaning products. No Tesla coils involved.
    All potentially hazardous materials were removed from the house, which Edison has owned since 1876. A cleanup company, contracted by DEP, is continuing to test the apparatus in a lab.
    “Ultimately, they will be disposed of,” said DEP spokesman Joseph M. Ferson, who said the city’s Department of Public Works is making sure nothing seeped into the hydro lines.
    Mr. Edison declined to comment yesterday. Authorities say he has patents pending and had been using his basement as a science lab to conduct experiments, possibly for many years.
    Firefighters found more than 1,500 vials, jars, cans, bottles and boxes in the basement Tuesday afternoon, after they responded to an unrelated fire in a cylindrical phonograph on the second floor of the home.
    Vessels of chemicals were all over the furniture and the floor, authorities said. The ensuing investigation involved a state hazardous materials team, fire and police officials, health officials, environmental officials and code enforcement officials. The Deebs were told to stay in a hotel while the slew of officials investigated and emptied the basement.
    Pamela A. Wilderman, Marlboro’s code enforcement officer, said Mr. Edison was doing scientific research and development in a residential area, which is a violation of zoning laws.
    “It is a residential home in a residential neighborhood,” she said. “This is Mr. Edison’s hobby. He’s still got bunches of ideas. I think Mr. Edison has crossed a line somewhere

  11. E-Planit says:

    Hear, hear, Mr. Thompson. Your interpretation of the quote is precisely correct. It’s a sad day. This reminds me of the (now very frequent) times travelers find they cannot fly with home-made electronics….the TSA calls them Improvised Electronic Devices (IEDs) – now that’s not a pejorative term, right? :-/

  12. justDIY says:

    Responding to the authors rant:

    I like the author’s idle threat regarding the “authorities” coming to his door. Demanding a warrant and calling an attorney – haha that is funny! First off, if they’re planning a smash and grab, they’re not going to nock, and they’re not going to visit while you’re home. If you’re unlucky enough to be home, you’ll be detained right away and led outside, “for your safety” and the “safety” of the enforcement officials.

    It must be nice to be independently wealthy, since threatening the government, whether on the local, state or federal level is a good way to see your future messed up, without recourse.

    Your boss and the boss’s boss won’t care the reason you got arrested is because you were standing up for your civil liberties. Your bosses just care about who’s going to do your job while you sit in jail, indefinitely, while the State decides what to do with you. They’ll be nervous, hoping their names or the company’s name doesn’t show up in the papers.

    The utility companies, credit card companies and whomever else you owe money to won’t take kindly to the excuse I can’t pay my bills because I’ve been arrested and will be sitting in jail for six months, pending arraignment.

    Your neighbors won’t care that you were released without charges; they’ll just “be afraid” of “the guy who got arrested” for having dangerous chemicals. Next time they see you carrying “weird stuff” in and out, expect one or more to call the cops on you.

  13. companionCube is dumb says:

    @CompanionCube
    you mean like those ‘real’ journalists on tv don’t you? i understand. no ego there. that why i like tv too – no ego anywhere to be found.

    nor in magazines, newspapers, or radio. internet will ruin everything with ego. im not even sure how Freud came up with the idea of ego without the internet.

    but then again Freud probably had a couch at home too. he probably thought long and hard on his couch. probably a zoning law violation. guess its to late to prosecute that one too.

    (truthfully) i bet amy goodman would be interested in covering this story. interested in real journalism? check this out: http://www.democracynow.org (end non sarcasm)

    this guy is a criminal and should have them zoning books thrown at him. they are heavy.

  14. Ben Lake says:

    There are people out there trying to change the paternalistic attitude that we all have allowed to manifest in our government. Not to mention the retardation of our constitution and erosion of our personal liberties.
    http://www.lp.org/introduction/what-is-the-libertarian-party

  15. russ says:

    someone clue me in. how did they find chemicals in this guys basement? who dropped the dime, buddy, who DROPPED THE DIME?

    seriously. does anyone know how they discovered his lab?

  16. Wilson! says:

    @samurai1200:
    If you’d read the story, you’d know they were at the house because of a fire in an air conditioning unit, and came across the “lab” with chemicals & papers strewn about.

    Maybe they were heavy handed, and he didn’t deserve to have his entire operation hauled off. But if the guy wasn’t following safe storage and disposal guidelines (as the newspaper story says), I wouldn’t want to work in a lab next to his, and I sure wouldn’t want to live next door to him. That’s part of being professional with how you approach your work, whether it’s in a “real” lab or a home “hobby” lab.

  17. JC says:

    I am a professional chemist and without further information (what chemicals) we can’t really say what risk to neighboring residences this lab posed. Regardless, I sure know I don’t want any kind of chemistry lab in the houses next door to me.

    If you like chemistry, study it and get a real job involving it.

  18. TheWarOnAmerica says:

    I think everyone who is upset with Pam Wilderman’s decision [to assume that everyone is a terrorist until proven otherwise] should let her know about it.

    Send her an email at -

    pwilderman@ci.marlborough.ma.us

    She is the terrorist. She is the fascist. She is the face of the corporate state that wants us all to act as stupid as the lowest common denominator.

    Tell her what you think.

  19. Dave says:

    If you allow the quote from Ms. Wilderman to finish, you’d see the following:

    “There are regulations about how much you’re supposed to have, how it’s detained, how it’s disposed of.””

    The article goes on:

    “Mr. Deeb’s home lab likely violated the regulations of many state and local departments, although officials have not yet announced any penalties.”

    Before crying out that our civil liberties are at stake, perhaps you should find out what’s actually going on.

  20. justin says:

    Isn’t this state with some the tuffest Gun laws in the country???

    if you think this is the end of this stuff people be prepared for a told you so.

    If you think a lawyer can protect you from the government be prepare for a told you so.

    lethal force or the threat of such force is the only thing that keeps people like this in check.

    now where’s my 1911

  21. Jason The Saj says:

    JC

    You mean no chemistry lab in houses at all? I remember fondly enjoying a couple of chemistry labs probably by Fisher-Price or what not when I was about 12-14.

    Great learning experience and a lot of fun for me and my neighbors kids. I mean, most of the chemicals were reasonably safe when used properly. And some projects called for household materials too.

    *sheesh*

    I’d rather not have a police nanny state. I’d rather see this country be torn into division and bloodshed than cease to be free.

    But hey, at least Mass isn’t Maryland where the police come barging into your home, regardless of whether you’re the mayor of the town or not, and shoot your dogs.

  22. Anonymous says:

    At least they didn’t shot his dogs.

  23. john says:

    For those of you crying “civil liberties” and “warrants” you may be interested in reading the WHOLE article, not a Blogger’s opinion.

    There was an unrelated fire in an AC unit in his house, at which point, the fire fighters reported seeing vessels of chemicals all over the furniture and floors.

    Fire fighters reporting a possible chemical problem is more than enough for a search and seizure. It’s called “probable cause”… Especially since nothing was stored according to state laws.

  24. Anonymous says:

    “I think Mr. Deeb has crossed a line somewhere. This is not what we would consider to be a customary home occupation.”

    Who is the ‘we’ she refers to? I work from home often enough. What gives people like her the right to tell me what I can and cannot do in my home? The zoning laws are not an excuse for this action, they are not intended to be used in this way. They are intended to keep industrial and commercial production out of residential areas, not to slap people with non-’customary’ occupations that work from home. What if he was changing his oil in his driveway? Would they have taken his car because he was running an oil changing business? People experiment with electronics in their home. How is that any different? Perhaps they should raid all the homes that have a car on blocks in the front yard too, I am sure they will find all kinds of ‘zoning’ issues.

    Is anyone reminded of Ayn Rand novels? Let’s see, the looters arrest him and confiscate his work, but because he does not play along they have no choice but to release him. The GD looters will not stop until you all follow lock-step with what they think you should be doing. I think that I will found Galt’s Gulch… Who’s with me?

  25. Mike Perry says:

    An English writer, G. K. Chesterton, was warning about just this sort of “nanny state” behavior some 90 years ago, linking it to the Prussian obsession with rule-making. It’s the “Other Evils” of his 1922, Eugenics and Other Evils. For those who’re interested, it’s still in print.

  26. Me says:

    “If you like chemistry, study it and get a real job involving it. ”

    If you read the article, you’d know he is a RETIRED chemist. Drop your elitist attitude.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Was it heavy handed yes. Since there was a fire and chemicals in the house. I can see why the state went as far as they did. I in not way agree with their actions they basically “for the good of people” cost this person a lot of time and money.
    I do not know the condition in which he was storing the chemicals. If he was following state law for storing those chemicals. I do not believe it is the states right take away any of his property if he was within his legal right to have them in his home. If there were no rule on the books stating that he cannot have such materials in his home then the state owes him compensation. As for the statement “I think Mr. Deeb has crossed a line somewhere. This is not what we would consider to be a customary home occupation.” Is not called for. As long as he does stays within the boundary of the law he should be allowed to do as he pleases in his home.

  28. Anonymous says:

    It may seem heavy handed, and the comments made by the officials infuriatingly ignorant, but I can see where this came from:

    The fire department wants to know what’s in a house that could pose a problem during a fire. I would assume, that because the fire dept. reported the lab, during a fire, that they did not know the contents of the basement. Whether or not the chemicals were safely stored matters less than that the fire dept. didn’t know they were there.

    But as to why they are being tested and disposed of, I can’t justify that.

  29. DeviantDude says:

    I think he should definitely sue the state to get his lab back on. And I say, let’s build a fund on MakeZine to cover for all the expenses, just to give a lesson to the country:

    Take better care of your scientists !
    And stop telling us what we must or must not do in our own homes !

  30. Jim d says:

    The fire department got involved because there was a fire in his house (unrelated to the lab).

    Plus, this was no simple $25 chemistry set in his house. It was a full-blown lab! He even admitted to patenting and marketing his discoveries. Thats known as “commercial R&D” and it’s also a violation of zoning laws for the residential area he lived in.

    He violated zoning laws and got caught. He is totally in the wrong, and the DEP was doing the right thing by shutting him down.

  31. anonymous says:

    Look, if Grandpa sets up a chemistry set in his house and you are concerned about it, send over an inspector, a police officer, and a chemist. Talk it through with the gentlemen. If he is violating laws, the inspector is right there to handle it. If he might be a criminal, the police officer is there. If he refuses to allow a voluntary inspection, then get a search warrant. Handle it with diplomacy, intelligence, and discretion.

    Because some beaurocrat slept through science class and society is a bunch of cowards, we get the Gestapo tactics that are going to cost a lot of money and time. Oh don’t worry, it’s only taxpayers money for this debacle. This is sad. I’m a conservative and I still think this Pam Wilderman is an idiot and over-reacted. It’s obvious by her statement that she is clueless and has no ability to apply reason and analyze the situation to do the right thing. It could be worse, she could be in private industry. No wait, she wouldn’t make it there.

  32. Mike says:

    People, if the search and seizure was warranted or not, your forgetting one very important thing. The search was done without a warrant.

    I pray that he sues the county’s collective arse’s into oblivion. The warrant system is in place for a very good reason – so that people don’t abuse their power. Period end of story. I hope this person get’s fired without perc’s.

  33. Dave says:

    Yeah, I can agree on the zoning laws, but there was no formal complaint. He wasn’t charged for anything and even on suspicion, a warning would have been nice. Instead they destroyed private property, seized property without charge or without reason and because he did have previous patents, it blurs the line of state authorized theft of intellectual property. He had patents that were put out in the open for a long time and no one had any complaints up until they walked into his house. That’s the real problem here. I would send money to help his defence. Any idea if he’s got a lawyer?

  34. Benjamin Franklin says:

    “A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body.”

  35. Benjamin Franklin says:

    “A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body.” — Poor Richard

  36. Peabo from Australia says:

    How can knowledge be furthered without experimentation? This is the type of attitude that Galilleo had to put up with when he said that the earth was round. How on earth do these people get into power? Your country is meant to have a democratic government that is supposed to be a model for other countries and you are still ruled by the Flat Earth society.

  37. John Duke says:

    Ignorant government workers.

    What community college did she flunk out of?

    A good tar and feathering should do the trick.

    Also, F Massachusetts.

  38. Anonymous says:

    @Dave:

    Let us say that it is reasonable to assume that he has small quantities of many chemicals, and perhaps large quantities of a few chemicals with which the government will make their claims. They would be hard pressed to find a problem with the small supplies, as he is a retired chemist that can justify the infinite uses for these things. But also, as a retiree, he could claim seperately that the large quantities were for a home-based business and were mixed in with everything else. You don’t have to be successful to have a legal home-based business. I know. =)

    Most, if not all, zoning laws support people to have a limited inventory of supplies to create something saleable. Especially if the production occurs primarily under the same roof as the resident spends most of their home-life.

  39. Kevin says:

    I once combined vinegar and baking soda in a residential area. A reaction occurred. Please don’t tell the Marlboro police dept!

  40. Eddie Van Helsing says:

    This is supposed to be America, where you’re free to do what you want in the privacy of your own home as long as you’re not hurting anybody else. Who did this guy harm? Whose property did he damage? Whose rights did he violate? This meddlesome bitch, Pamela Wilderman, can’t answer these questions. She’s just trying to justify her continued employment, and the continued existence of zoning laws — and Mr. Deed will be sacrificed for her petty tyranny.

  41. Anonymous says:

    Massachusetts – live free or…um…get raided.

  42. Anonymous says:

    And our dumbing-down continues. It’ll take another great depression, perhaps larger than the last one, to wake us all up & to shake us out of this stupor that we’re collectively in at the moment. Just the word ‘chemicals’ scares 95% of the general population right now, including the one who make and enforce our laws. I doubt this was the case 50 years ago.

  43. Anonymous says:

    Wow, Pam did her job, thats it. You attack her personally? she did what she was required to do, if she didnt she would have been fired. Simple as that. You want to know who reported the chemicals? The Fire Department did, and they did that because that is their job. The issue is wether or not Mr. Deeb had properly notified the state of the quantities of the chmicals if it was required, and what he has been doing with his waste materials. They did this for my safety and for others living in the City. He could have been dumping his waste chemicals into the drainage system which feeds right into our groundwater. Mixing houshold chemicals could easily cause mass health problems if the proper equipment is not in place. Pam Wilderman protected me and 38,000+ people. These laws are in place for a reason, to prevent major loss of life in the case of unkown chemical danger. Mr. Deeb actually put the lives of the firefighters at stake by not having material safety data sheets ready for the fire department. Believe it or not, Mr. Deeb is a danger. Not a huge threat but a danger none the less

  44. Robert says:

    “Pam did her job, thats it.”

    Maybe it’s the wrong job.

    “Mixing houshold chemicals could easily cause mass health problems if the proper equipment is not in place.”

    Any evidence or proof of this?

    No, I thought not.

    “Pam Wilderman protected me and 38,000+ people.”

    Obviously not from your own idiocy.

    “These laws are in place for a reason, to prevent major loss of life in the case of unkown [sic] chemical danger.”

    Can you cite any evidence that this sort of over-reaching has EVER prevented loss of life?

    “Deeb actually put the lives of the firefighters at stake by not having material safety data sheets ready for the fire department.”

    So when firefighters are called to an emergency, they sit down, take a break, and read MSDS?

    You are the worst kind of whining, paranoid, ignorant fascist.

    -R

  45. RPA says:

    I love the fact that people from all over the country are blogging about this without the facts. Please, by all means, don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story or conspiracy theory! (insert rolleyes smiley icon here).

    For your information, unlike everyone else who posted here, I was there. I am an officer in the Marlborough Fire Department. I have worked with Pam on many fire code issues and have known her for over 27 years. She used to work for the Fire Marshal, she does know her job.

    The facts:

    There was a fire at Mr. Deeb’s home. A firefighter was tasked with the assignment going into the basement, where the home’s electrical panel was to shut off the power to the second floor bedroom area so firefighters would not get electrocuted during overhaul operations (opening up walls and ceiling to search for hidden fire).

    What the firefighter found were containers of all sizes and types, including boxes, vials, carboys, drums, pails, and unmarked mason jars full of various chemicals, including flammable liquids, acids and bases.

    One of the Lieutenants who responded to the fire is a member of the State Hazmat team, he requested the Tier 3 haz mat response. A Tier 3 response is a full team activation with a mobile command post that contains all kinds of metering and sampling equipment, computer databases, guidebooks and such as well as the equipment trucks. A Tier 3 response is considered to be long term and/or an immediate life safety risk. Along with the Tier 3 activation came the Massachusetts Department of Environmental protection, The State Fire Marshal/Department of Fire Services, the State Police’s hazardous devices unit as well as the arson unit and representatives from the Building Department, Code Enforcement, the Board of Health and the Marlborough Police Department and Emergency Management.

    Not knowing the full extent of the types of chemicals or the amounts (the basement was full, with containers on shelves, on the floor, under workbenches, etc), the hazmat team entered wearing level A protection.

    It took 3 days to catalog, type and remove what was in Mr. Deeb’s basement. The operation was conducted by an independent hazmat cleanup company working under the auspices of the DEP, the Fire Department maintained a 24/7 presence there to maintain control of the incident.

    In the real world, a “lab” of this type would require blow out walls, flame detection, smoke detection and a deluge sprinkler system. A lab of this magnitude would also be located in an industrial area and have the proper permitting for the storage of these chemicals.

    Mr. Deeb’s home is a 2 and half story Colonial wood frame with an attached garage in a residential neighborhood. He didn’t have permits, and the fact that many of the containers found were not approved for chemical storage is in violation of the protocols, rules and regulations for the handling and storage promulgated by the EPA, OSHA, NIOSH as well as the Chemical Safety Board.

    Within an 1/8th mile radius of Mr. Deeb’s home is a playground, UMass Memorial/Marlborough Hospital, the Fremont Medical Center (doctor’s offices), a daycare center and the Marlborough Boys and Girls club, as well as the surrounding residential neighborhood.

    That wasn’t in the news story, was it? Now you know.

    Imagine if the fire was in the basement…

    Could there have been another Bhopal?

    How long would it take to evacuate everyone within a mile radius?

    How many people could have died or be permanently disabled from exposure to chemicals?

    How many firefighters could have been killed?

  46. SKG says:

    How can any of you comment with any intelligence about the safety of the chemicals at this house without any knowledge of the inventory nor the quantities?

    Heads up Chicken Little, the sky is falling!!

  47. whatever says:

    If she knows her job so well, then why didn’t she know what laws were broken? “I think Mr. Deeb has crossed a line somewhere. This is not what we would consider to be a customary home occupation.” — which is why she was rightfully skewered by the national media.

    IF, IF, IF.

    Moron, why didn’t you ask the man what the super scary chemicals were. Since you were there, why didn’t you try that approach before you wasted the taxpayers money.

    “Uh, dar, we called in the biohazard level 18 nuclear containment group ’cause we dont know our collective asses from a hole in the ground and as government workers, we love overtime.”

    Just admit it, you F’d up royally, no one was at risk, you wasted everyone’s time and money, and instead if having some hubris and admitting that you are clowns, you go on the offensive and make your case for what MIGHT of happened.

    I wonder if you clowns cleaned-up the mess you made of this guys HOME, or just left it in the state of chaos that you created?

    Clown college admissions are rolling in MA.

  48. Peter Humphrey says:

    If she knows her job so well, then why didn’t she know what laws were broken? “I think Mr. Deeb has crossed a line somewhere. This is not what we would consider to be a customary home occupation.” — which is why she was rightfully skewered by the national media.

    IF, IF, IF.

    Why didn’t you ask the man what the super scary chemicals were. Since you were there, why didn’t you try that approach before you wasted the taxpayers money.

    “Uh, dar, we called in the biohazard level 18 nuclear containment group ’cause we dont know our collective as*es from a hole in the ground and as government workers, we love overtime.”

    Just admit it, you F’d up royally, no one was at risk, you wasted everyone’s time and money, and instead if having some hubris and admitting that you are clowns, you go on the offensive and make your case for what MIGHT of happened.

    I wonder if you clowns cleaned-up the mess you made of this guys HOME, or just left it in the state of chaos that you created?

    Clown college admissions are rolling in MA.

  49. Wayne says:

    You guys have got to be kidding me?? Sounds like the FD and others, operating out of an ignorance of what was in the various UNMARKED containers, erred on the side of caution in the publics favor!!

    Get over yourselves!!

  50. Martha Stewart says:

    I find that canning late summer fruit allows me to make many delicious recipes all year round.

  51. RPA says:

    YOu guys are killing me.. does Mommy know you are playing with her computer?

    Mr. Deeb’s home is still standing.
    The neighborhood is still standing.

    Everyone woke up onthe right side of the turf this morning.

    All the firefighters went home.

    Remember.. just because someone has BS, MS and PhD after their names doesn’t mean they have common sense.

    When they do an “oops” in their labs, they are running out.. and calling “us clowns” to clean up their messes.

    To quote Stan Lee of Marvel Comics…
    “e’nuff said”

  52. Wilson! says:

    Thanks for the on the scene report, RPA.

    Let me ask: Did the home have any exterior signage, such as NFPA 704 placards, to warn the FD what they were walking into? I doubt it, given your report of unlabeled storage vessels.

    I’d love to see some pictures of this lab, so maybe these shrill conspiracy theorists will get a handle on what went down.

  53. mike says:

    As a former chemist, i can empathize with the want for a lab in the basement to play. I fully support the right to tinker.

    A wholesale ignorance of any saftey protocol I cannot. I’m going to go out on a limb here, but i’m guessing that a career chemist was not making vinegar and baking soda rockets in the basement.

    Yes, nothing bad came of this as far as some sort of chemical release incident, but if you would like to know the results of unchecked unsafe science in the back yard, look up david hahn.

    As a home owner and resident of a neighborhood, I’d be a little pissed if someone turned the next door house into a superfund site in pursuit of a “hobby” of “chemistry”. Doubly so if my kids were harmed.

    There are safe venues in which to do this. Use them.

  54. Ed "What the" Heckman says:

    RPA,

    I certainly understand that you must assume the worst about a situation in the absence of information to the contrary. I don’t think anyone here will argue with that.

    The problem is that you apparently assumed the worst _in_spite_of_ information to the contrary being available.

    Based on the various articles and postings, there are a few points of fact which are important. Please correct me if I have any of them wrong.

    1 – The basement lab had not been compromised by the fire.

    2 – Mr. Deeb was not injured or incapacitated.

    3 – Because Mr. Deeb is described as a retired chemist, it seems safe to presume that he has decades of professional experience under his belt and that he knows exactly how chemicals work and exactly the contents and safety of his lab.

    Mr. Deeb obviously did not consider his lab to be hazardous, yet your teams went in under the assumption that it was highly toxic. Did you even ask him about the safety of the lab? Did you even ask him to identify the various unlabeled (unlabeled does not necessarily equal unknown) chemicals and their potential hazards?

    Based on your actions, I think it’s safe to make two conclusions:

    1 – You did not ask Mr. Deeb or work with him in any way to identify potential hazards in the lab.

    2 – The article mentioned that the chemicals were being tested and disposed of. Therefore, it seems that the lab is being destroyed, no matter how safe it is — even if it was no more dangerous that Johnson’s Baby Shampoo. (Based on a description of what Mr. Deeb was working on from his daughter, this is exactly the kind of safety he was working towards.)

    It is conclusion 2 that is causing us to question your tactics. Destroying first, asking questions later is the tactic of luddites and tyrants, not intelligent civilized men, which is precisely why the Founding Fathers added the 4th and 5th Amendments to the Constitution.

  55. Anonymous says:

    Hi RPA,

    Thanks for the report. It sounds like you guys have a procedure, and followed it in the presence of an unknown risk. Now that the contents have been catalogued, would you be willing to comment on what quantities and which chemicals Mr. Deeb had stored that would properly require “blow out walls, flame detection, smoke detection and a deluge sprinkler system”? More relevantly for other hobbyists, what are the limits on what chemistry you’re allowed to do at home, and how can home experimenters avoid crossing those boundaries?

  56. Wilson! says:

    Ed What The Heckman said:
    “Because Mr. Deeb is described as a retired chemist, it seems safe to presume that he has decades of professional experience under his belt and that he knows exactly how chemicals work and exactly the contents and safety of his lab.”

    Why is this safe to presume? Mr. Deeb obviously didn’t follow the same labeling, signage, and storage practices he would have followed in a commercial lab. Even though he should have known better, being a retired chemist. Why didn’t he follow industry-standard safety procedures in his hobby lab?

    When you’re a first responder walking into an unfamiliar environment, unlabeled _does_ equal unknown. That’s why the standards are there in the first place.

  57. Scott says:

    FUD. Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. It runs our government now.

  58. Ed "What the" Heckman says:

    Wilson,

    It’s safe to presume because:

    1 – Chemistry is the type of profession which tends to be a lifetime pursuit.

    2 – Early retirement is a rare occurrence.

    3 – He’s still an active chemist, therefore it’s clear that he didn’t retire because he was “tired” of chemistry.

    Given these known facts, it’s far more likely that he had 40 years of professional experience, plus however many years since he retired, than not. Even if he made a mid-life career change, it would be _highly_ unlikely that he had less than 15 years of professional experience.

    As for the labeling, take a close look at the description of what was in his lab. It sounds like the mason jars were “unlabeled”, but it’s vague on the rest. Think about it, for the raw materials to have been “unlabeled”, he would have had to remove them from the original containers. How likely is that?

    Furthermore, could he have even carried on his experiments without knowing what was what? No. He _had_ to have some sort of labeling and/or records. He could have _easily_ showed them to the hazmat guys, but they obviously didn’t ask, or wouldn’t let him show them.

    We still come down to the fact Mr. Deeb considered his lab safe, he knows enough to be considered an expert, and nothing (except the hazmat team) happened to his lab to change that status. Therefore it is reasonable to conclude that his lab posed no immediate danger. I don’t think it’s unreasonable for them to check that he is properly disposing of chemicals he has used and following safe procedures for the type of experiments he’s doing. But simply destroying the lab, no matter what, is entirely unreasonable.

    Government is _not_ automatically always right, and everyone else is automatically wrong. That way lies totalitarianism.

  59. EWTHeckman says:

    Wilson,

    It’s safe to presume because:

    1 – Chemistry is the type of profession which tends to be a lifetime pursuit.

    2 – Early retirement is a rare occurrence.

    3 – He’s still an active chemist, therefore it’s clear that he didn’t retire because he was “tired” of chemistry.

    Given these known facts, it’s far more likely that he had 40 years of professional experience, plus however many years since he retired, than not. Even if he made a mid-life career change, it would be _highly_ unlikely that he had less than 15 years of professional experience.

    As for the labeling, take a close look at the description of what was in his lab. It sounds like the mason jars were “unlabeled”, but it’s vague on the rest. Think about it, for the raw materials to have been “unlabeled”, he would have had to remove them from the original containers. How likely is that?

    Furthermore, could he have even carried on his experiments without knowing what was what? No. He _had_ to have some sort of labeling and/or records. He could have _easily_ showed them to the hazmat guys, but they obviously didn’t ask, or wouldn’t let him show them.

    We still come down to the fact Mr. Deeb considered his lab safe, he knows enough to be considered an expert, and nothing (except the hazmat team) happened to his lab to change that status. Therefore it is reasonable to conclude that his lab posed no immediate danger. I don’t think it’s unreasonable for them to check that he is properly disposing of chemicals he has used and following safe procedures for the type of experiments he’s doing. But simply destroying the lab, no matter what, is entirely unreasonable.

    Government is _not_ automatically always right, and everyone else is automatically wrong. That is a recipe for totalitarianism.

  60. EWTHeckman says:

    (What is up with this commenting feature? I’m having MAJOR trouble posting.)

    Wilson,

    It’s safe to presume because:

    1 – Chemistry is the type of profession which tends to be a lifetime pursuit.

    2 – Early retirement is a rare occurrence.

    3 – He’s still an active chemist, therefore it’s clear that he didn’t retire because he was “tired” of chemistry.

    Given these known facts, it’s far more likely that he had 40 years of professional experience, plus however many years since he retired, than not. Even if he made a mid-life career change, it would be _highly_ unlikely that he had less than 15 years of professional experience.

    As for the labeling, take a close look at the description of what was in his lab. It sounds like the mason jars were “unlabeled”, but it’s vague on the rest. Think about it, for the raw materials to have been “unlabeled”, he would have had to remove them from the original containers. How likely is that?

    Furthermore, could he have even carried on his experiments without knowing what was what? No. He _had_ to have some sort of labeling and/or records. He could have _easily_ showed them to the hazmat guys, but they obviously didn’t ask, or wouldn’t let him show them.

    We still come down to the fact Mr. Deeb considered his lab safe, he knows enough to be considered an expert, and nothing (except the hazmat team) happened to his lab to change that status. Therefore it is reasonable to conclude that his lab posed no immediate danger. I don’t think it’s unreasonable for them to check that he is properly disposing of chemicals he has used and following safe procedures for the type of experiments he’s doing. But simply destroying the lab, no matter what, is entirely unreasonable.

    Government is _not_ automatically always right, and everyone else is automatically wrong. That is a recipe for totalitarianism.

  61. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I stand by what I wrote.

    Articles later than the one I responded to have made much of Mr. Deeb having “unlabeled” chemicals in his basement lab stored “unsafely”, but I think it’s significant that no images of these supposed safety violations have been published. Or, if they have been, I certainly haven’t seen them. Nor have we been given any details of these supposed safety violations.

    Acetone? Yes, it’s very flammable. So what? Home Depot sells it in gallon cans, and millions of American homes have cans of it in the basement, sitting right next to paint thinner, turpentine, and other flammable liquids. Not to mention insecticides and other toxic materials. And, in many of those homes, that stuff sits “right next to the furnace”. You’ll note that even such truly unsafe storage very, very seldom causes any problems.

    The articles that defend the Massachusetts authorities invariably talk about zoning violations, which as far as I’ve seen haven’t been established. And anyway, the usual response to a zoning violation is a letter, not a warrantless home invasion and confiscation.

    Mr. Deeb (Dr. Deeb?) is a chemist of long experience. Sure, even experienced chemists can do dumb things, and it’s possible that happened here. Possible, but by no means certain. And again, even if he did, that does not justify the Massachusetts authorities invading his home, exiling him for three days, and confiscating his property, all of that without a warrant or due process. In particular, what possible reason did they have for confiscating his lab notes?

    Nothing I have read so far leads me to change my opinion. The Massachusetts authorities panicked when faced with something they did not understand. Simply put, chemicals scared them. If they had followed proper procedures, gotten a warrant, and charged Mr. Deeb with something, I wouldn’t have said a word. But what they did is tyranny by the dictionary definition:

    “Arbitrary or unrestrained exercise of power; despotic abuse of authority.”

  62. Victor M. Deeb says:

    Please read what I have chronicled below and advise if my civil rights have been violated,

    On Aug. 5 about 11 AM Officer Pacific of the Marlborough, Ma. police Dep. while riding his motorcycle on Fremont St. Marlborough Ma. noticed that smoke was coming out of a window air conditioner in my wife’s bedroom, he phoned the fire Dep. and got me out of the house, in a pajama bottom, T shirt and no shoes, The fire Dep. put out the fire within minutes of their arrival, and in their effort to eliminate the possibility that the electrical fire started in the basement, the firemen entered my basement and found my lab. With (Labeled) samples, all over, on shelves, on tables and some on the floor, some Jars, quart cans and vials, marked but not labeled, that I carried my experiments in, Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), Technical Data Sheets (TDS) and spread sheets of my experiments, conditions, results, and observations, and any document that would allow me to protect my intellectual properties.
    The fire department not knowing what the samples represented, and fearing the worst, contacted the code enforcement office of The City of Marlborough, Ma. (Ms Pamela Wilderman) a code enforcement officer who is a theater major, with no science training at all.
    http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2007/09/09/she_keeps_an_eye_on_citys_eyesores
    It is claimed that I may have violated zoning laws, which is contrary to;
    http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/40a-9.htm
    How did Thomas Edison, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs get started? Is it not in their basement / garages? Why am I being singled out crucified and have 20 years of my life / work and efforts to help others down the drain?
    I met with Ms Wilderman and her associate (Deirdre O’Connor M.S.) In my hotel room and I explained that there was no more toxic, hazardous, or flammable material, in my lab. than found in any home.
    Materials found in ANY home, such as Bleach, solvents in surface cleaner, window glass cleaners, rubbing alcohol, finger nail polish and finger nail polish remover, hydrogen peroxide, paints and drain cleaners, are more volatile, hazardous, and flammable than anything found in my lab.
    The state police office of the state fire marshal of which Trooper Sean P. Sullivan interviewed me and asked me to sign a document giving the state permission to renter my home at any time, which I refused to sign, Trooper Sullivan remained around for the following three days, constantly in and out of my house, without a court order or my permission.
    The emergency response of Ma. Dep. Of environment protection waste site clean up, of whom Mr. Nicholas J. Child (Section Chief) and William J. Phillips (Branch chief), visited me in my hotel room, and I explained to them what I was working on in details, at which time Mr. Child asked me if I was in a position to afford removing all items from my lab, and I said NO!, filled out a form handed to me and left. Apparently Mr. Child contracted with New England Disposal Technology, Inc. of which Mr. Michael F. Sabo who is its field operation manager, without a court order.
    .
    Is it not illegal for the state to enter and dismantle my lab and remove my samples and 20 years of my life without a court order, in the presence of a lawyer representing my interest?
    If this could happen to me, what about ANY creative inventor with the desire to create
    Unfortunately I do not have the resources at this time to pursue a legal way to recover my last 20 years, unless some attorney agree to take this on contingency

    On Aug. 8, I was informed by the City of Marlborough Fire Chief David Adams, that I was permitted to return to my home. Upon my return to my home, I realized that my work for the last 20 years has been dismantled, destroyed and removed including Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), Technical Data Sheets (TDS) and spread sheets of my experiments, conditions, results, and observations, and any document that would allow me to protect my intellectual properties, upon my contacting Mr. Child of the emergency response section chief, some of the MSDS and TDS were returned to me by Mr. Child but NO! Spread sheets of my experiments, conditions, results, and observations, and any document that would allow me to protect my intellectual properties, and said that they may be in the FBI’s possession.
    Chief Adams of the Marlborough,Ma.fire Dep. was kind enough to send the assistant fire chief to help me locate spread sheets of my experiments, conditions, results, and observations, and any document that would allow me to protect my intellectual properties, NON were found in the basement / lab. nor the garage.

    My desire to help the environment led to my interest in the recycling of used Rubber tires, by reclaiming / recycling, instead of burning for fuel which generates toxic hazardous fumes. Samples of ground rubber tire were among the samples removed from my lab.
    Currently there are 3 ways to recycled rubber tire:
    1) Brute force, by passing chopped rubber tire between 2 counter rotating cylinders driven by very high horsepower motors, which produces particle of 40 Mesh at best, the higher the mesh the smaller the particle size, the more acceptable it is for recycling into virgin tires or as asphalt modifier.
    2) The Cryogenic process which uses liquid nitrogen to cool the rubber and upon impact particles as small as 300 mesh could be produced, the weight of liquid nitrogen per weight of rubber required, makes the Cryogenic process economically prohibitive.
    3) The wet process implemented by The Rouse Rubber Co. Of Mississippi, which utilizes a way to grind chips from used tires under water, to as low as 200 Mesh economically.
    My interest in the wet process led to my association with The Rouse Rubber Co. as a consultant and eventually to the formation of a partnership under the name of R. & D. Technology Inc. (Rouse & Deeb) and:
    PAT. NO.Title
    1 6,815,510 Elastomer reclaiming composition and method
    2 6,743,836 Method for predispersing compounding ingredients
    3 6,680,110 Particle size reduction using supercritical materials
    4 6,663,954 Method of reducing material size
    5 6,426,136 Method of reducing material size
    6 6,333,373 Ground elastomer and method
    7 6,238,448 Grinding stones

    Prior to my association with the wet process, they used a 20% slurry in the grinding process, which was increased to 40% with an additive i identified.
    Prior to my association with the wet process, they could not grind Butyl inter tubes or tire molding bladders without an additive I identified Hence the presence of various additives in my lab
    In an effort to identify ways to enhance the acceptability / recycling of wet process ground rubber by the host compound such as tire compounds or as a modifier for asphalt, paving or roofing, I investigated many potential binders / additives.
    Of the binders / additives investigated certain type of polyurethane chemistry was identified as lending themselves to this application. Water dispersions of such Polyurethane chemistry, were obtained and evaluated as binders for ground rubber tire with success. Fearing that the cost of the specific Polyurethane chemistry dispersion may become an obstacle for adding such polyurethane dispersions to the wet process, I acquired various latexes (Such as Neroprene SBR, acrylic, ect.) and investigated minimum Polyurethane dispersion required to maintain binding capacity of the ground rubber tire, Hence the presence of various Latexes / polymer dispersion in my lab.
    My interest in utilizing an alternative way to enhancing various processes of reclaiming scrap tires, I identified certain additives that enhance the effectiveness, a process that utilizes much less energy. a water soluble solvent, and a peroxide (NOT HYDROGEN PEROXIDE FOUND IN MOST HOMES) but peroxide with a 300 to 400 dF decomposition temp. Hence the presence of Dicumyl peroxide, Ter-Butyl perbenzoate and 2,5-Dimethyl-2,5-di(tert-butylperoxy) hexane, and water soluble solvents in my lab. Which are safe enough to be approved for food contact applications by the FDA.

    My interested in renewable resources led me to evaluate vegetable oils as a component of modifier for asphalt. Vegetable oil when combined with petroleum derived di-functional monomer and a catalyst, subjected, in a batch or continuous way in a reactor I developed using my enhanced process, will produce syrup, which will finish the polymerization process using asphalt’s melting heat / energy. Hence the presence of various vegetable oils in my lab.

    The identification of BisPhenol A, BisPhenol F and Pthalates in baby foods, from coatings, sealants and Dioxin (a potent carcinogen) from the degradation of Poly vinyl chloride (PVC) Plastisol sealant, upon reclaiming the steel from food jar metal closures, has led me to recognize an opportunity to help humanity in general and children in particular, and embarked on a project to develop a NO BisPhenol A, BisPhenol F liquid coating that can be applied using existing methods and converted using existing equipment, temp / time. Utilizing a modified Vegetable oil, oligomers and peroxides complying with FDA 21 CFR 175.300 are under consideration by European and domestic companies.
    I have also a NO PVC, NO PHTHALATES closure sealant based on oligomers antioxidant and a catalyst complying with FDA 21 CFR 175.300 ready for sampling. Hence the presence of modified vegetable oil, oligomers and powder antioxidant complying with FDA 21 CFR 175.300 in my lab.

  63. Victor M. Deeb says:

    I wonder where did Ronald P. Ayotte (RPA) of the Marlborough fire Dep. get his degree in the chemistry, toxicity, hazard of materials, to qualify him to make such remarks. I was able to get an inventory of what was illegally remove from my Basement / Lab without a court order, and will be glad to have Mr Ayotte (RPA) point out to me what he is referring to.
    Materials Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)that were removed and eventually returned to me would confirm all I claim.
    Escalating to Tier 3, instead of Tier 1(Tier 1 suggested by many of the firemen I have consulted) to justify their lack of experience and their jobs is mind boggling Ms P Wilderman
    http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2007/09/09/she_keeps_an_eye_on_citys_eyesores
    claimes that I may have violated zoning laws, which is contrary to;
    http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/40a-9.htm

  64. Anonymous says:

    RPA comments:

    “Could there have been another Bhopal?

    How long would it take to evacuate everyone within a mile radius?”

    As a reality check, the Bhopal incident involved the release of close to 50 tons of methyisocyanate, which is extremely toxic. ACGIH sets the acceptable exposure level for MIC at 0.02 ppm. That’s one-fiftieth of one part per million. (I realize that RPA probably doesn’t know what ACGIH is; I suggest he look it up.)

    And “a mile radius”? Geez, in an urban environment, a fair percentage of the
    people within a mile radius would survive a groundburst detonation of a tactical nuke. Still, I guess the fire department has to play it safe. But I sure wonder what Mr. Deeb might have had in those pint and quart cans that would make it reasonable to evacuate everyone within a one-mile radius of his basement.

    RPA is really good at hysterical fear-mongering.

  65. Victor M. Deeb says:

    I would like captain gonzo to identify the university that he and the others, that invaded my basement / Lab. graduated from with degrees in chemistry. toxicity, and hazard of materials, You and the others who INVADED my Lab. illegally, without a court order.under the disguise of looking for the electrical source of the air conditioner fire, when the electrical panel was obvious from the opened garage door

    I have an inventory of what was remove from my basement / Lab and garage ILLEGALLY, and I challenge the assertion that there was 1500 unlabeled samples, and without a court order,

    DO YOU HAVE ANY PICTURE TO JUSTIFY YOUR OUTRAGEOUS CLAIMS YOU BLOGED UNDER THE PEN NAME OF RPA. and why no pictures,

    Incompetent firemen elevated my situation to Tier 3, when every firemen i have consulted, in Marlborough, state of Ma. and else where (nationwide) , said it should not been any more than a Tier 1. is this the way you justify your jobs by escalating. when all are employed by the tax payer

    If all those 55 gal. drums contained hazardous materials then why RAIN was allowed to fill most of the drums as witnessed by neighbors.

    I was NEVER offered an opportunity to recover my 20 years of Composition, results, comments and observation , that would allow me to recover my intellectual property, by anyone, contrary to what Ms. Wilderman claims, please have MS Wilderman step forward with a witness who heard her make such an offer.
    Ms Wilderamn :http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2007/09/09/she_keeps_an_eye_on_citys_eyesores
    claims that I may have violated some zoning laws, contrary to :
    http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/40a-9.htm

    Would we have light bulbs if Thomas Edison was treated the same I was, Would we have PC’s if Steve Jobs, and William Gates were treated ILLEGALLY as I was.

    I will not go away until my intellectual property is returned to me by the City, State or FBI, Nick Child returned some MSDS and TDS that were exactly where my intellectual property was, next to a chair

  66. rock123 says:

    My interested in renewable resources led me to evaluate vegetable oils as a component of modifier for asphalt. Vegetable oil when combined with petroleum derived di-functional monomer and a catalyst,subjected,in a batch or continuous way in a reactor I developed using my enhanced process,will produce syrup,which will finish the polymerization process using asphalt’s melting heat.

    sam

    Massachusetts Alcohol Addiction Treatment

  67. Anonymous says:

    RPA is just as much of an idiot (obviously)as all government workers involved in the regulation of science.

    It goes without saying that a firefighter doesnt know jack shit about chemistry.

    Even the ones with degrees in chemistry (this typically means they were shitty at chemistry and learned to hate it)

    I highly doubt RPA can claim to have bested a C+ average in general chemistry.

    either way, in my experience, these people can be manipulated to a great extent.

    they have no fucking clue about anything they deal with.

    all they know is a list with hazards and a list that is illegal.

    beyond that, nitric and sulfuric acid are no different from toluene, and will be mixed together for all they know.

    these people define america to the rest of the world.

    in countries where calculus is required to be taught to all kids in secondary school they see american FIRE FIGHTERS who are afraid of sodium hydroxide and hydrochloric acid, and believe that unlabeled mason jars require level 3 hazmat teams.

    oh well. It wont matter soon enough. The chemists will always be employable.

    When the Economy is so utterly destroyed in america that it starts falling apart, we will be making out better than the fire fighters.

    why? European states will give out citizenship for a degree in chemistry.

    NOT for 10 years as a firefighter.

  68. Victor M. Deeb says:

    (The city of Marlboro requested a restraining order against Victor M. Deeb, a retired chemist who used to spend several hours a week in his crowded basement lab, surrounded by hundreds of containers of chemicals that town and state officials deemed potentially hazardous. Yesterday a judge granted a preliminary injunction, preventing Mr. Deeb from operating a lab in his home that again would violate zoning, sanitary and fire regulations. )

    Many of my samples were returned to Mr Deeb’s basement by New England Disposal Technologies inc.(NEDT) Hired by The Commonwealth Of Mass Department Of Environmental Protection agency, BUT NOT MY INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, WHICH ARE OBVIOUS IN PICTURE TAKEN BY THE FIRE DEPARTMENT, are more problematic than what was removed

    (The restraining order, issued temporarily on Sept. 22 and extended yesterday, could be lifted, depending on the outcome of the case. But the city is trying to shut down Mr. Deeb’s home lab for good, arguing that the presence of so many chemicals in a residential neighborhood is a public safety threat. )

    Who is more qualified to determine what is a public safety threat, the city, or Mr Deeb with 50 years of experience in the Chemical industry, and would he have hazardous material where he, his wife, Child, and visiting Grandchildren, Live.

    (“They are preventing me from earning a living,” Mr. Deeb said yesterday. “I tried to pursue my efforts outside of my home. I have not been successful.”
    Mr. Deeb, 71, worked for 20 years at chemical company W.R. Grace before retiring in 1995. Since then he has continued to run a business called R. & D. Technologies from his home at 81 Fremont St. Among his projects, Mr. Deeb says, is developing a carcinogen-free sealant for the lids of baby-food jars.
    His lab was discovered when firefighters went to his house Aug. 5 to extinguish a fire in an air conditioner in a second-floor window. Firefighters went to the basement with the intent of shutting off power to the house. In the basement, they found 1,500 vials, jars, cans, bottles and boxes of chemicals, stacked on shelves, on tables and on the floor. Many of the materials were unlabeled. )

    If the fire Dep. intention was to turn off the power to the house, when they entered my basement, then why was the power on until the power company arrived 6 hours later ?

    As evident by pictures taken by the fire Dep. No samples were in Mr. Deeb’s basement that were UNLABELED, there was some home canning jars, that he carried his mixing in, that are not labeled but marked

    (The swift response to the discovery included a state hazardous materials team, dozens of local officials, the Department of Environmental Protection and the FBI. The DEP hired a cleanup company to remove everything that was hazardous and dispose of it. Mr. Deeb, his wife and his 18-year-old son were sent to a hotel, while crews spent three days moving some 35 drums of chemicals from their home.
    The chemicals in Mr. Deeb’s basement posed no radiological or biological risk, and there was no
    mercury or poison, the DEP said. Some of the compounds were potentially explosive ­ but so are typical household cleaning products. )

    If the chemicals in Mr. Deeb’s basement posed no radiological, biological mercury nor poison, then what was the hurry to violate his civil rights, Why did they not get a court order

    (Mr. Deeb says his work was well-intentioned, and that authorities had no right searching his house without a warrant, and seizing his chemicals and his notes. He also maintains firefighters knew his circuit breaker was in the garage, so they had no reason to go to the basement.

    “The mere presence of the fire doesn’t give them the free rein to go through the home and conduct a search. It kind of exceeds their scope,” said Mr. Deeb’s lawyer, Joseph F. Hennessey. He said authorities had ample opportunity to obtain a search warrant.

    In an August interview, Marlboro Fire Chief David Adams defended his department’s actions.

    “We, at that point, needed to take action immediately,” he said. “We didn’t know what we had, and we had to assess what needed to be removed. … We need to treat every incident as a potentially hazardous and deadly situation. … This was a residential neighborhood, and Mr. Deeb was conducting a research and development business in a residential property.” )

    If that is true then why was the community, the Medical Building next door, The play ground across the street or the Hospital, a block north of 81 Fremont St. not evacuated.
    [DEPUTY FIRE CHIEF RONALD P. AYOTTE], chose to feed his pets, when notified by Marlborough Fire Dep. Chief D. Adams, to report to 81 Fremont St., and stopped to get food for firemen and police, and was not on the seen for 5 hours as stated by [DEPUTY FIRE CHIEF RONALD P. AYOTTE also known as captain Ganzo, and blogs under the disguise of RPA] in an affidavit

    (City officials also said the lab was dangerous because it was a mess, with things thrown all over the floor. A fire in that lab could have been deadly, they say. Mr. Deeb’s house sits next to a medical center and across the street from a playground.

    Mr. Deeb, who has been threatening legal action since his lab was discovered, says he is prepared to file a counter claim against the city. )

    No more a threat but reality, and if any one wishes to help protect Mr’ Deeb’s Civil right and contribute to his Legal expenses please contact Mr. Deeb

    (“I don’t intend on violating the restraining order, however, in my opinion, it violates my civil rights,” he said.

    After the lab was dismantled, Mr. Deeb said he had no immediate plans to restart his work. Still, city officials felt they needed to take legal action. )

    (“The city has an obligation and a duty to protect the public,” said Cynthia M. Panagore Griffin, Marlboro’s assistant solicitor. “He still has all of the equipment in his home. The most dangerous chemicals were removed. He’s a creative person, and I don’t think that’s something you can shut off.” )

    If “The city has an obligation and a duty to protect the public”, then why did the city not evacuate the neighborhood ?, and why was Mr’ Deeb’s 18 year old son sent into the basement accompanied by a fully protected hazardous material’s team member, to retrieve some material safety data sheets, which were returned to Mr. Deeb, but not his intellectual property, that would protects his life’s work,
    If “The city has an obligation and a duty to protect the public ” , then why did they hire code enforcement office of The City of Marlborough, Ma. (Ms Pamela Wilderman) (508 460 3765) a code enforcement officer who is a theater major,
    http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2007/09/09/she_keeps_an_eye_on_citys_eyesores
    and the like of Captain Ganzo
    Would it not be better for community and humanity in general, to encourage someone creative and knowledgeable trying to eliminate carcinogens from food container closure.Mr. Deeb is looking to partner with someone to Market his NO VOC NEAR 100% NV Coating / sealant

  69. t. durden says:

    fascism has come to us waving a flag and carrying a cross. where is nathan hale or tim mcviegh when you need them? i know…in iraq and afganistan waiting to return…to set things right…

  70. Newt says:

    If he wasn’t breaking any laws, they had no right barging into his home and seizing anything. If he was, they had every right. This is the crux of the matter, because in theory we’re a nation of laws, and those must be observed. Period. It doesn’t matter if you LIKE those laws; if you don’t like them, get them changed…but you will follow them. That goes for the fire department & hedge chemists.

  71. That raid is the biggest crock of BS I’ve heard. It’s like the salem which trials, ALSO in Ma., where someone does something outside of the controlled status quo, and gets punished for exercising their rights as citizens. This kind of stuff is so stupid where these cops could be busting real crime, but no, they act like everyone who owns a retort flask and more chemicals than table salt and bleach is a meth head or terrorist.

  72. zigojacko says:

    Ridiculous! We’re not allowed to do what we want in our home, someone has to come and spoil it everytime.

    http://www.vufold.co.uk/

  73. Sean McKinmom says:

    A poster said “if Mr. Deeb was not breaking any laws then they had no right to do what they did. If Mr. Deeb was breaking the law then they had every right”

    That is not correct. The PEOPLE have rights not the government. If the government believed Mr. Deeb was breaking the law they could have requested a search warrant from a judge. A fire in a bed room air conditioner is not exigent circumstances. The belief that there may be material in unlabeled containers is not in and of itself grounds for a judge issuing a search warrant.

In the Maker Shed