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May 31, 1930


Author Affiliations

San Francisco

JAMA. 1930;94(22):1757. doi:10.1001/jama.1930.27120480001011a

An explosion occurred Tuesday, March 11, which has jeopardized the eyesight of a research worker in one of the laboratories at the University of California. Sections of bone and teeth with their contained soft tissues had been stained by the so-called silver nitrate method.2 The stender dishes containing the ammoniacal silver oxide solution were inadvertently left standing in the sun from Saturday noon until Tuesday morning. There were traces of alcohol in the silver solutions carried there by the sections of tissue. The sunlight hastened a chemical reaction between the silver, the ammonia and the alcohol and there resulted from it a highly explosive, very sensitive and unstable compound, silver fulminate (C=N-O-Ag), to be distinguished from the so-called fulminating silver, which explodes on drying.

When the dish was taken up to be emptied and cleaned, it was warm from the sun. The mere movement of the liquid was responsible

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