I can't think of a reason why silver nitrate, AgNo3, is considered a dangerous chemical. It is listed as an oxidizer, but it is less caustic than household bleach which is also an oxidizer. For many decades it was standard medical practice to apply silver nitrate topically to newborn infants. It is probably one of the most studied substances in chemistry and human contact with it has been extensive for nearly two centuries. About the worst thing it does is stain your fingers if you're not careful. But a felt pen will do the same thing.
From an ancient chemistry class I do remember that silver compounds can form a percussion explosive similar to fulminate of mercury. But we live in the United States, if you want an explosive you can buy bullets or gunpowder.
The first instinct of government is to tax and forbid. Denying people reasonable access to chemicals might be an unconstitutional infringement on their liberty. PE is right when he suggests that there is an anti-chemical bias out there. It's like Galileo and the church, "Who is the Pope to say that Jupiter has no moons, when they are there in the sky for everyone to see?" He never got the Inquisition to look through his telescope, and scientists will never get bureaucrats to learn the first thing about chemistry.
However, on the bright side, with the declining economy many merchants are allowed to sell scarce chemicals as a way to help business. Did film manufacturers hinder the sale of silver nitrate in order to boost the sale of their own films and papers?
Silver Nitrate is both a strong acid and a strong oxidizer being a salt of Nitric Acid and related to the class of Nitrate oxidizers. Therefore, some people think that it is very dangerous. It is not, unless you insist on drinking solutions of it, or pouring it over your body. Well, in that latter case you will turn dark brown. And, you can cause skin blisters and blindness if you are careless.
Seeing all of the above frightens some. And it is an uneven fright across the US and Europe. Some say it is ok to sell and others say it is not. This goes on and on.
All I know is that I get notes from all over the world stating "yes I can get Silver Nitrate" or "no, I cannot get it at all".
Sometimes I make my own silver nitrate. I dare say that H2SO4 is far more dangerous than the end product, as is the orange gass that is produced. Like many water soluble chemicals, silver nitrate is relatively harmless in its dry state. So is KCN. Just be careful with solutions. Silver miners used to get gray ireses and internal organs because of their in-the-field extraction practices. My eyes are still ther original color.
Sorry- I meant to write H2no3, not H2SO4
The sale of Silver Nitrate is not limited at all by german law. But nevertheless strange things are going on as one mail-order dealer wont't sell KBr to private clients any longer...
Originally Posted by falotico
I am trapped...
One one hand, I can get many types of chemistry, as I work at a school..
On the other hand, I am not allowed to use it if I havn't gor a safety sheet, written in Danish, put in a map! No matter what chemistry!
So in fact I am not allowed to teach developing in Caffenol, as I can't get a safety sheet on coffee!!! or C vitamine...
Solution: I do it anyway...
Frankly, I don't think anything is more dangerous than gasoline, and people buy tons of that. Why Germany should restrict KBr escapes me except that bromides will put people to sleep. It might have an illicit recreational use. Possibly bromine can haloginate organic chemicals used in the manufacture of street drugs. They restricted the sale of iodine crystals in Calif. because people were using it in some recipes for meth. But silver nitrate is a very useful chemical. The danger to the public is slight.
I did not say Germany restricts KBr. It is one dealer. By reason unknown to me.
After looking a bit deeper into the question of the availability of these photochemicals there seems to be no problem at all within the EU commonmarket. There are, also in Germany, suppliers willing to export.
At the moment I am making a list of european suppliers. Comparing prices is, as always, important. There seem to be huge differences between countries. Knowing more of the matter now, it only seems that german law is so strict, thanks Agx. Just the whims of a supplier.
Anyway it is very interesting to dig into this matter a bit.
Thanks Henk, this will be very useful.