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blasting caps

 
 
Equus
 
Reply Tue 16 Aug, 2005 10:17 am
When I was growing up in the 1960's, there were lots of public service announcements on TV warning kids to stay away from blasting caps. (I guess these were detonators for dynamite) Anyway, we were warned that we should stay away from them if we ever found one while playing near a construction site, and notify an adult, because we could be seriously injured if we played with one.

My friends and I were always hoping we'd find one. We never did.

So, were blasting caps a significant danger in that era? Why didn't construction people keep better control of those things? Why don't we see TV PSA's on blasting caps anymore? Do they no longer exist, or do we just not care about fingerless children anymore?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 2,664 • Replies: 13
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Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Aug, 2005 01:42 pm
Good question, Equus. Maybe someone will have an answer.
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Aug, 2005 05:33 pm
Caps were used with a lot of explosives that contained large quantities of mercury (Mercury fulminate) and/or lead (Lead azide) and, because of the toxicity, other types of explosives that aren't as toxic are used in their place which reduces the need for caps.
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Acquiunk
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Aug, 2005 06:20 pm
When I was in 6th grade, late 50's, a friend of mine found a pice of copper on the side of the road and thought he'd hammer it into a fishing weight. It blew his hand off. This was in Connecticut. Those caps could be bought in hardware stores by who ever wanted or thought they needed them.
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farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Aug, 2005 06:30 pm
As acquiunk said, caps could be bought in hardware stores and their formulations were quite dangerous. Todays tetrazine caps and det cords are far safer and the institutional controls on their possession are far more strict. That doesnt mean I couldnt walk, without a fed and state license, into a mining supply store and purchase caps in Wyoming or Montana, or number of other states. A cap is dangerous like an old M-80 and 10 times more energetic.

The move to add taggants to caps, primers, cords, and blasting agents has run afowl of powerful lobbies in DC. Its amazing that, even though everyone doesnt want another Oklahoma City , Congress , and the leadership hasnt done a damn thing to make us safer by enabling batches of explosives identifiable by mini "particulate bar codes". Hoping that any new terrorists will have bought their explosives in foreign countries where taggants have been employed.
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Acquiunk
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Aug, 2005 06:35 pm
farmerman wrote:
Hoping that any new terrorists will have bought their explosives in foreign countries where taggants have been employed.


They are unlikely to be that accommodating.

I thought that the tagging was already being done?
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Aug, 2005 07:02 pm
We had an ATF compliance audit a few months ago. One perf charge was unaccounted for. I understand we had to write a book of explanations.
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farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Aug, 2005 07:12 pm
There are "sniff" agents that are added to plastic explosives so that dogs can smell them. I think that was requirement of the 98 Antiterrorism Act However, actual taggants , associated with the manufacture or batch mixing of explosives is not required (heavy lobby involved).
I think Switzerland and germany are the only ones to require RFID taggants in each batch.

Roger, I feel like that , but for the graceof our own internal audit system, we too would have been flagged (riiiight. Everybody gets gigged once in a while) Dont your fire Marshalls and your state "Homeland Security" get involved in audits also? In PA we have an agency called PEMA that has a Homeland Component. They are always up our ass for magazine infractions. We had a cap magazine stored at a site in Luzerne County. The deer hunters came along and riddled it with 3006. We got **** upon for maintaining an "attractive target". These guys had NO sense of humor either.
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Aug, 2005 07:18 pm
farmerman wrote:
I think Switzerland and germany are the only ones to require RFID taggants in each batch.


Switzerland requires taggants in some explosives (not all) but doens't require them to be uniqe by batch. Their law requires that the taggants be changed every 6 months of production or every 150 tons produced, which ever comes first.

But even the National Acad. of Science, who conducted an assesment of taggants post OKC and 9/11, says that the technology isn't there for their use to be feasible to this point in time. (See their report: "Containing the Threat from Illegal Bombings: An Integrated National Strategy for Marking, Tagging, Rendering Inert, and Licensing Explosives and Their Precursors")
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Aug, 2005 08:03 pm
Oddly, farmerman, no. We've been checked out by ATF, and not long after 9/11 the state DOT people dropped in to make sure our CDL drivers had the proper endorsements for their loads. No homeland security. I am surprised.

We had a surprise DOT compliance audit last week, which didn't involve me to any extent, but I had the impression they were more interested in the quality of drug testing, hours of service, and record keeping.
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farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Aug, 2005 06:44 am
fishin said
Quote:
the National Acad. of Science, who conducted an assesment of taggants post OKC and 9/11, says that the technology isn't there for their use to be feasible to this point in time.
. Post OKC was when the odorants were added to plastic explosives so that dogs could locate them. However, Im of the personal opinion that "the technology not being there" is more of a lobby statement than a fact The NSF or NAS has never shown us to be free of politics entirely.

Obviously , the safetyof tagged explosives cannot be realized unless everybody does it.When I said batch specific , I meant that different RFIDS were added to separate explosive types, so that one could tell one from another post detonation.. Its also a quality control for industrial use. They use a lot of shaped stuff in building dropping and if a cord doesnt work or some cutting charges dont fire right, the insurance settlement is helped for the E/O claims by knowing whether the charge or the placement was the cause of a misfire.
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Jim
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Aug, 2005 10:47 am
I remember seeing the same commercials during Saturday morning kid's shows back in the early 60's. Never did see any of the caps, or hear about anyone else seeing any either.
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Aug, 2005 10:53 am
Me neither, but there was always a busted box of .410s or .22s laying around, usually after being run over by a car.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Aug, 2005 02:31 pm
Cool topic
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