Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Phosphorus and methamphetamine

A great idea, all this time, and no comments. Well, fellow mass spectrometrists of the world, I've got some new things to talk (write, type, blog) about.

Short side note, anyone ever hear a hissing noise comming from the torch box. It's not an electrical arc or I just can't see one. I have produced an electrical arc on the torch itself before and gave it a nice melted dimple. This noise seems to be something else, almost sounds like gas or water blowing out a small hose, but I think if that was the case, things wouldn't be working as well as they have been. No visible damage or drift caused by noise.

Next up, I just got word that I will be analyzing some samples from a meth lab bust. I'll be looking for phosphorus. I imagine I'll find some since the samples are taken from powder made by grinding up match heads. So, I don't think I'll have any actual meth in the lab, sorry. I know detection limits are crappy, like 1ppm, anyone know about any interferences or any other problems analyzing phosphorus.

Methamphetamine has quite a history. It's a farely new drug, first synthesized in 1919 in Japan. It was distributed during WWII to Nazi soldiers as a stimulant. In the 50's it saw such uses as a cure for narcolepsy, post-encephalitic parkinsonism, alcoholism, depression, and obesity. What a wonder drug back then. Made illegal sometime in the 80's when its recreational use started up.
Easily made by even non-chemists from pseudoephedrine hydrochloride, various different procedures found in chemistry journals or sketchy websites. There is a wealth of information found on Wikipedia (who checks the facts on this website?)

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Did you know that phosphorus was not used for fertilizer until mass production during WWII when it was used in weapons...now they use it in our food and as fertilizer. The same goes for ammonia, nitrogen, and chloride ... the industry found a better way to profit from the mass over production of these chemicals after WWII -- to put them in our cleaners and food

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