View Full Version : stannous chloride

Lawrence Ruskin
04-21-2012, 12:02 PM
So I'm just going to put this out there and see what the chemists around here think.

This glassblower whom I don't like at all, 'cause he rips people's ideas big time, came down with mouth cancer; now nose cancer.

So he used to make up this tin chloride all the time and used lots of it without much ventilation.

So when you make up this compound of tin and HCL I was just told formaldehyde is given off. Is that true?

Now that's a carcinogen as most people know, would that have caused the mouth/nose cancer?

Cecil McKenzie
04-21-2012, 01:36 PM
Formaldehyde contains a carbon atom which could come from the flame but probably wouldn't create much formaldehyde. If he was dissolving the tin chloride and acid in alcohol that might contribute carbon to make formaldehyde. In wikipedia they say they start with methanol sometimes when they are manufacturing formaldehyde.

Sometimes I think cancer starts because of stress to the body. Acid reflux is thought to contributed to esophogeal and throat cancers. Breathing acid vapors could probably contribute to a cancer forming.

Pete VanderLaan
04-21-2012, 02:03 PM
Once again, I have known glassworkers who have done questionable stuff with about every compound imaginable. If they have died anywhere more than other places, it would be at Sheridan. All in all, it's still alchohol and tobacco. I would ask if your not friend ever smoked or did coke.
Stannous just releases chlorine gas unless you put it in some strange unnecessary carrier.
Life is short. Use ventilation.

Lawrence Ruskin
04-21-2012, 04:34 PM
Not my friend, and yes he smoked.

SnO2 +HCl = SnCl2+CH2O

Somewhere an Oxygen went missing unless you start with a different tin compound.

It's been a long time since I took chemistry.

Mouth cancer, chewing tobacco

Nose cancer, who nose?

me funny.

Greg Vriethoff
04-21-2012, 05:26 PM
Now that's a carcinogen as most people know, would that have caused the mouth/nose cancer?

Oh, formaldehyde is totally safe. It's a simple molecule.

Just ask the Koch brothers (http://www.formaldehydefacts.org/).

Hugh Jenkins
04-21-2012, 05:29 PM
And where did the Carbon atom come from in this unbalanced equation?

Why would you start with tin oxide rather than metallic tin to make a chloride solution?

Lawrence Ruskin
04-21-2012, 05:34 PM
Hey, I told you I'm running this past you guys that actually know something about chemestry.

I haven't taken it since they were trying to change lead into gold

Lawrence Ruskin
04-22-2012, 10:25 AM
So that formula is wrong, but when you straiten it out does it produce formaldehyde?

Nose and mouth cancer are fairly rare but one of the compounds that can cause it is formaldehyde.

And what's given off when you heat stannous chloride?

Pete says chlorine, or is it a chlorinated hydrocarbon?

Lots of chlorinated hydrocarbons are very stable and cause cancer not unlike,fluorinated hydrocarbons.

This guy was working in a Vancouver studio that has been fuming without, in my opinion, adequate ventilation,for many years.

And he was making up the stannous chloride formula himself.

Hugh Jenkins
04-22-2012, 05:44 PM
I think Pete is right, there has to be a carbon donor in the mix. You can't get formaldehyde in hot water. Alcohols are very capable of giving up the -OH radical in exchange for something more stable.

But, I think that the fumed metals can do plenty of damage all by themselves, with acid and chlorine fumes, all the better. Your statement that formaldehyde is known to cause this type of cancer, does not reverse to prove that formaldehyde actually did the deed.

Lawrence Ruskin
04-22-2012, 06:50 PM
yep your right Hugh, but like Pete says, ventilate everything.

Also you have to think it might be a good idea not to use this stuff.

I looked in the archives and there are other health problems associated with stannous chloride.

Eben Horton
04-22-2012, 09:18 PM
are you guys forgetting that some use muriatic acid to dissolve their stannous?

Pete VanderLaan
04-23-2012, 04:42 AM
I think the tin reduces to SnO in actuality, certainly not Sno2. You can, in a pinch use SnCl3 as a reducing agent for making copper rubies but they tend to go in the muddy colloidal direction. I agree with Hugh that your equation is unbalanced as well as speculative.

Smoking is kind of catalytic in its nature. It's bad enough by itself but when you mix it in with other compounds it can magnify its dangers. Smoking in a glass or ceramics studio is not a great idea . Many of the compounds we use can be and are absorbed by the skin. Your nose and mouth are chock full of transferral tissue.

I don't consider Tin chloride to be either safe or dangerous in and of itself. If your not-friend has mouth and nose cancer and smoked, there are better approaches to the conclusion you seem to wish to draw. He probably chewed the stuff as well.

Lawrence Ruskin
04-23-2012, 08:35 AM
Don't know about the chewing, I wouldn't think so.

Where I'm coming from on this is, mouth and nose cancers are quite rare and related to something you've eaten or breathed in.

I was told that when these guys mixed up the stannous, formaldehyde was giving off.That rang a bell because I know it's a carcinogen.

Then I looked up the causes of mouth and nose cancer and there was formaldehyde, right up front.

Yes I'm saying it could be related, as a warning to folks that use this stuff.

I'm putting it out there and if someone pipes up that so and so had mouth, nose, or throat cancer and was exposed to a fair ammount of formaldehyde, then we'll know a little bit more.

Pete VanderLaan
04-23-2012, 09:35 AM
well maybe you ought to look at that stats on mouth cancers for smokers. They are pretty well established and they aren't rare.. If you hang around and don't get treatment when it occurs, it metastasizes. I think that Hugh was making the point that your chemical formula is constructed from whole cloth and doesn't represent the actuality of the reaction at all.

Formaldehyde from mixing stannous isn't something I am accepting as a given at all. I don't buy the connection you are trying to make between a smoker getting cancer and then coming to the conclusion that the cancer came from another source entirely.

My dad, a research physician loved to tell the following story. A researcher was studying fleas and they were trained fleas. He took a flea and placed it on the table and said jump, and the flea jumped over the pencil in front of it. The researcher then pulled a leg off the flea and repeated the process and when told to jump the flea cleared the pencil. The researcher pulled off yet another leg. Wash rinse repeat.

When the flea was down to one leg, it still was able to jump over the pencil and finally the last leg was pulled off. When told to jump, nothing happened. Nothing at all.

The researcher published his study and came to the conclusion that when you pull all of the legs off of a flea, it loses its sense of hearing.

What I really object to is your cautionary tale about Stannous Chloride being something to categorically avoid based on pretty shoddy speculation. I would certainly grant that fuming is dangerous if done without venting. I think making a cadmium selenium red glass is far more dangerous and I melt it every other day and have for ten years. While I may get cancer, I don't think I would ever try to tie it to a specific condition in my shop beyond ventilation. Bodies age and as they age they start to make mistakes while replicating their components. Those mistakes are frequently cancers. If I were to inhale nicotine and tar every day for my lifetime, I just might be the teensiest suspicious that the warnings on the packs and the statistics that abound regarding the dangers of cancer were real. Until someone can actually give me hard evidence that this is a superficial causal relationship, I won't dump fuming nor will I be willing to have it lumped in with known hazards as a basis to eliminate it from a glassblowers bag of tricks as a sanctioned recommendation on craftweb. I don't find this to be rational.

Lawrence Ruskin
04-23-2012, 11:21 AM
I didn't say the formula worked, I asked someone to check it as I am not a chemist.

I didn't deduce that the formula made formaldehyde, I was told that by a guy that made up the formula when he was asked to.

He was warned that it made formaldehyde.

He worked in the same shop.

Hugh Jenkins
04-23-2012, 03:06 PM
Eben, muriatic acid is just an industrial grade of Hydrochloric acid, one and the same thing.

I am not disputing that formaldehyde could be made in a reaction with tin. I don't know either way, but if there isn't a carbon compound such as alcohol, you cannot make another carbon based compound.

If you have ever used the hot gather in a bowl of stannous chloride method of fuming, you would know that it makes a horrible cloud that eats up nearby metal surfaces. The same is happening when you spray a solution onto a hot piece of glass. And many of these metallic gases don't pay much attention to respirators. We all seem to know about welding on galvanized pipe being a way of poisoning ourselves with zinc. There are lots of other metals that are just as bad or worse.

Pete VanderLaan
04-23-2012, 05:17 PM
SnO2 +HCl = SnCl2+CH2O

This is the supplied theoretical formula Lawrence supplied. As Hugh noted It is not balanced and you can't create carbon out of the air. The "C" in CL isn't carbon. CL is the atomic symbol for chlorine. There is no "L". The effects of the chlorine on metals is understandable and well documented. Chlorine laden air near the ocean eats metals. It comes from the sodium chloride mist.

It is clear to me that fuming is not a benign experience. It needs to be ventilated. Making it into a mystical event doesn't help analyzing its effects. Leaping to conclusions about stuff based on that is inappropriate . You might as well believe in Voodoo.

Saying " he was warned that it created formaldehyde" doesn't make it true. Most people I know who are afraid of making glass from raw materials have what I view as an irrational fear of those materials based on early mixing of those materials on the shop floor or just an irrational fear in and of itself. There are somethings I simply won't do in the studio regardless of ventilation. Fuming isn't one of them.

Lawrence Ruskin
04-24-2012, 03:44 PM
Just got off the phone with the guy who told me about the formaldehyde, and this time I asked more specific questions.

They mixed the stannous with anhydrous methanol and sprayed the hot glass with it and this is when he says, the formaldehyde forms.

CH3CH2OH is the formula for anhydrous methanol and the formula for formaldehyde is CH2O which makes more sense.

You don't need to find carbon or hydrogen from anywhere if its already in the spray

Lawrence Ruskin
04-24-2012, 04:02 PM
so the problem is with the carrier not the SnCl2.

All you have to do to get formaldehyde is rip apart the alcohol molecule.

Rosanna Gusler
04-24-2012, 04:27 PM
isnt that one reason alcolhol is so hard on the body when drunk drank consumed... it gets turned into formaldehyde in the body at some point ? rosanna

Pete VanderLaan
04-24-2012, 05:20 PM
As I said at the beginning. They're all dropping from alcohol and tobacco. So, in reality you want to keep alcohol out of your studio not stannous chloride.

Good luck with that.

Lawrence Ruskin
04-26-2012, 08:58 AM
The studio where the guy worked that got the mouth and nose cancer has fumed for 25 or so years, and is still doing it.

The moral to this story is rent, buy, or borrow a formaldehyde detector if you think you might have a problem with this stuff.

Pete VanderLaan
04-26-2012, 11:23 PM
I can't come to that conclusion. I would refer you back to the flea losing its hearing.

Hugh Jenkins
04-27-2012, 01:41 AM
Is there such a thing as a hydrochloric acid detector?

Pete VanderLaan
04-27-2012, 05:39 AM
It will be from Ronco.

You know in 1894 they fluoridated the entire water supply for the city of Cleveland and not one of those people is alive today. I'm not brushing my teeth anymore.

Brian Mazrim
04-27-2012, 11:31 AM
I am a pathologist, and my wife was a funeral director when I met her. I am quite familiar with eye-wateringly high exposures to formaldehyde and with cancer research. The exposure level from the tiny amount of formaldehyde that could be produced by fuming would be really low. The people who are studied when researchers are looking into formaldehyde exposure are embalmers and industrial workers- seriously heavy, long-term exposure every day. Some of those studies have found a possible slight increased risk for a certain kind of leukemia and nasal cancer, some have not. The most convincing link seems to be in those working in factories with a lot of wood dust exposure too. I think I'd be more worried about the vaporized metals and nasty particulates in the shop than a little formaldehyde. But either way the answer is the same- a shop needs good ventilation.

Pete VanderLaan
04-27-2012, 01:14 PM
Thank you Brian.

Robert Coleman
05-02-2012, 06:32 AM
I was interested in this thread being that I have personal experience with H&N cancer. Back in 2006 when I was Dx'd, according to the James Cancer Hospital in Columbus, OH, the three main causes for this type of cancer were alcohol, tobacco, and wood dust. The worst was a combination of alcohol and tobacco. Since then the HPV (Human Papillomavirus) has become another main factor and particularly in men. Stannous chloride never came up.
Here are two links that will do a better job of explaining aspects of H&N cancer then I can.
Lastly, I think it would be a good idea to be sending out positive vibes to the glassblower (like him or not). I hope he is being treated at a CCC (comprehensive cancer center) because that is the place for getting a better chance of a positive result.

Pete VanderLaan
05-02-2012, 08:08 AM
Is your prognosis positive at this point Robert?

Hugh Jenkins
05-02-2012, 04:51 PM
Bob, I thought about you when this topic came up. Glad you are contributing your experience here, and I really hope you are doing well! I know you did a lot of fuming as well, but how can we be sure what the most important factors are? Was that ruled out in your case?

I hope to see you and catch up in Toledo.

Pete VanderLaan
05-02-2012, 05:19 PM
Robbert indicated that the three main causes were wood dust, alcohol and tobacco with the last two being the biggies. It's the same villains again and again.

Lawrence Ruskin
05-03-2012, 04:37 PM
I asked my pal Louis who is a retired chemistry professor if heating anhydrous methanol in the process of applying stannous chloride to hot glass produced formaldehyde.

And you know what he said?

Why he said, um yes.

I sent the e mail to Pete and when Louis sends me more information I will post the whole thing.

In the mean time, if you do a lot of fuming you might want to google ''Formaldehyde and cancer''. It's implicated in more than sino-nasal cancer...

Pete VanderLaan
05-03-2012, 06:52 PM
And so are alcohol and tobacco as a matter of fact in both instances cited here. I know thousands of glassworkers. The cancer rate is not an exotic. Ventilation is everything even if all you do is to load spruce pine. This feels like a fixation. You started at tin chloride and being determined to tell people it was terrible Without venting it is. Smoking is far worse.

Lawrence Ruskin
05-04-2012, 08:30 AM
Oh I agree that smoking is worse. The point I'm trying to make is that this process of fuming using alcohol as a carrier likely makes a cancer causing chemical.

If that's the case, and it seems that it is, then people that work in studios or own studios that have glassblowers fuming their glass have decisions to make.

It's not a fixation, it's making the world a better place, one step at a time.

Pete VanderLaan
05-04-2012, 09:34 AM
My point is that both people who got cancer smoked. I don't use alcohol in a fuming medium, I used hot water and had an aerator stone from an aquarium pump keeping it stirred. I got very good fumes.

Ventilation is the answer to so many questions and actually I have seen remarkably few shops that ventilate well. It's a serious problem.

Lawrence Ruskin
05-06-2012, 12:15 PM
So the answer to this problem would be using Pete's bubbler and water rather using the methanol as a carrier.
My buddy the Chem prof said ''methanol will react with air (oxygen) to form formaldehyde at elevated temperatures.

2xCH3OH + O2 ----> 2xH2CO+ 2 H2O + heat

You can lower the temperature with which this reaction occurs if there is a catalyic species in the area, and then he asked if there was metal of some kind in the glass even in trace amounts.

So is there?

Steve Stadelman
05-06-2012, 01:13 PM
The answer to the problem is ventilation, ventilation, ventilation.

Pete VanderLaan
05-06-2012, 01:14 PM
Silicon is a metal, Calcium is a metal, Potassium is a metal, Sodium is a metal, Zinc is a metal, Barium is a metal, Lead is a metal, Lithium is a metal, Even worse Tin is a metal.

To Quote Brian Mazrim:

"The exposure level from the tiny amount of formaldehyde that could be produced by fuming would be really low. The people who are studied when researchers are looking into formaldehyde exposure are embalmers and industrial workers- seriously heavy, long-term exposure every day. Some of those studies have found a possible slight increased risk for a certain kind of leukemia and nasal cancer, some have not. The most convincing link seems to be in those working in factories with a lot of wood dust exposure too."

You can go back and read my cautionary tale about the flea with no legs anytime.

Lawrence Ruskin
05-06-2012, 01:57 PM
Your tale of dismembered fleas is cute.

The CDC says there is no safe level of formaldehyde.

NIOSH says anything over 20 PPM is IDLH which means Immeditally Dangerious to Life and Health.

They fume in this shop 40 hours a week

Pete VanderLaan
05-06-2012, 05:00 PM
then just stay out of their shop, or, walk over there and tell all of them they are idiots. People love that. You certainly seem to want to pound it in here. I still think smoking and drinking are the culprit and you can buy and use both of those products over the counter and consume massive amounts of both. You don't seem bothered by those substances at all. . The flea story is about drawing the wrong conclusions from reasonably obvious evidence. Brian's material is good stuff too.

Lawrence Ruskin
05-06-2012, 07:20 PM
The reason I'm doing this is:
1. I'm talking to this buddy of mine that also worked in this studio and he tells me about this guy's cancer.He then tells me he was told that this process created Formaldehyde.
2. I look up the causes of nose and mouth cancer and here is formaldehyde.
3. I post a thread here and ask if some one would check the formula, when I should have said check the process of fuming from start to finish.
4. I then check the process myself with a guy with a PhD in chemistry and low and behold the process does create formaldehyde.
5. You, Peter, come up with a process that doesn't make formaldehyde and that's great, it solves the problem.
6. I did all this so no more glassblowers will be threatened by a process that could cause cancer.
7. yes I did let the studio that's doing the fuming know this thread was on craftweb, and no, I didn't call them idiots.

I write on environmental issues affecting the area I live in, I specialize in bears, eagles and now I'm learning about Herring.

The year I started on bears 3000 of them were shot in BC, one third of those were cubs. By the time I was finished about 6 years later the treatment of bears was changed much for the better.

It used to be here anyone could knock down an eagles nest if it happened to be inconvenient. I went on a 6 year battle with the government and now the laws are changed so it's very hard to knock down an eagle tree.

This is how I have fun, I don't know why you have a problem with it, I'm probably right...

Pete VanderLaan
05-06-2012, 07:35 PM
Well, it actually works best in hydrochloric acid. Stannous Chloride in water will kill you without ventilation. If you have good ventilation, it won't matter what you use. That defines good ventilation. In actuality White enamel powder is far more dangerous than fuming. I wouldn't argue that Formaldehyde is dangerous but I would say that in this instance, it isn't the problem. Ventilation, smoking and drinking are.

But I'm sure you're sure you're right.

Rollin Karg
05-07-2012, 09:00 AM
It was quite obvious that the Fleas became hard of hearing as they loss their legs. Besides who wants to jump for some son of bitch that's pulling off your legs

Lawrence Ruskin
05-07-2012, 09:06 AM
I'm not totally sure about too much.

The research on this little problem was rapid,logical and easy, and sometimes that indicates you're on the right track.

Like the man said way back at the start of this thread, formaldehyde is made industrially by messing about with methanol.

I think I read it was done with heat and a catalyst, but I did a bunch of reading and sometimes get confused...

But when you fume with this process you have heat, methanol, and as for a catalyst, I will ask Louis.

Pete VanderLaan
05-07-2012, 09:56 AM
I think asking people who don't work with the materials about them is a great beginning. Maybe the Tobacco Institute would be a good spot.

Eben Horton
05-07-2012, 12:03 PM
no matter what you do. fuming.. smoking.. drinking.. Those who are careless at any of them, will die before those who are careful.

Pete VanderLaan
05-07-2012, 12:16 PM

Steve Stadelman
05-07-2012, 01:18 PM
Riding a bicycle with earbuds in :)

Steve Stadelman
05-07-2012, 01:26 PM
On a drunken outing to buy cigarettes

Pete VanderLaan
05-07-2012, 01:31 PM
fuming in your fully involved pontiac firebird.

Hugh Jenkins
05-07-2012, 02:23 PM
Most of the materials and processes used in glass blowing are known to cause cancer in the state of California. Be extra careful if you blow glass there!

Pete VanderLaan
05-07-2012, 03:43 PM
Why would anyone want to live in a place where everything causes cancer?

Eben Horton
05-07-2012, 04:47 PM

absolutely!! Although, i have moved on to more dangerous prospects... fishing for striped bass off of my kayak...

Alexander Adams
05-07-2012, 05:30 PM
Striped Bass contain Mercury.

Pete VanderLaan
05-07-2012, 05:46 PM
And the ocean contains Striped bass... ( follow the logic here, think about that flea).

John Riepma
05-07-2012, 05:51 PM
Well, I don't know nuthin' bout no formaldeehyde but there's some kinda somethin' in this here glass stuff that makes us act like a chihuaha with a rolled up sock when we git to sniffin' too much of it. We should be lookin' for whutever that is.....

Hugh Jenkins
05-07-2012, 10:22 PM
Where's that gun??

Pete VanderLaan
05-08-2012, 04:29 AM
Where's that gun??
I couldn't agree more and have from way back in apparating carbon.

Robert Gary Parkes
05-18-2012, 07:24 PM
interesting..don't smoke tobacco, or chew it,
ventilate your fumes, and you may not get cancer..but then..
chances are you will get hit by a chinese lady learning how to drive, when you are trying to cross the street to get to

Hugh Jenkins
05-19-2012, 01:57 PM
Starbucks.....known in the state of California to cause pedestrian deaths. Don't drink and walk.

Pete VanderLaan
05-19-2012, 03:16 PM
not to mention financial ruin! I think that Latte would be better with alcohol in it but if it's hot enough...