Finding Lugol’s Solution

by Terry 10/20/2008 4:13:00 PM

For the last few weeks I have been looking for local sources to obtain Lugol’s Solution for one of the labs in Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments: All Lab, No Lecture (DIY Science). I have three other iodine tinctures for the labs in the book, but I have had a devil of a time finding Lugol’s Solution, which is a mixture of potassium iodide and iodine in water. Now I have four common (or not-so common these days) iodine solutions for comparison.

I suppose the difficulty in finding iodine solutions is largely because the DEA has listed Iodine as a List I chemical because it is used the production of Meth as a reagent. The local pharmacy will only provide it if prescribed. The local Walgreens also does not carry it. I stopped by several big-box pet stores to look for the aquarium-treatment version of the solution only to find none carry it anymore. It is just not available, except at one small shop in Issaquah, which sells exotic fish, where I found the Blue Life brand; the last one on their shelf.

The Blue Life aquarium supplement cost more than I would expect at $17 for an ounce. What is truly annoying, had I planned a little ahead, is I should have ordered a suitable quantity of potassium iodide from Elemental Scientific with my last shipment and just made the Lugol’s Solution myself. I could have made much more than an ounce for a few dollars of materials without having to purchase a single item on the DEA’s list.

At any rate, I now have several iodine solutions to experiment with. This is a good way of extending the lab. Part of experimentation is learning why X is different than Y when all other things are the same. I have made a request for the Blue Life Lugol’s Solution MSDS. Hopefully it will identify anything in the solution that may be different that a generic version and point to additional experiments I could perform.

It is very tempting to go on a campaign to restore sanity to the government. I can see the argument on why the DEA bans some substances or local and state government ban certain equipment and supplies. I think most of that is a waste of time, energy and resources. It is already illegal to manufacture Meth. Why criminalize or complicate the production and use of legal substances for law-abiding citezens? If I had the time and energy I would consider lobbying, except that I don’t like the concept so much.

Compare this to a “Hate Crime”. If a murder committed, it is a crime and there is a punishment. If a murder is committed while shouting a racial epithet, it is suddenly a ‘hate crime’ and there is a punishment. Shouting racial epithets while standing on a street corner (while likely not very smart) can be considered free speech. So why is there a ‘hate crime’ distinction? Creating more legal exceptions makes enforcement and prosecution of the real crimes more difficult.  After all, it is the murder that is the real crime. You cannot cure stupid.

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About Terry Losansky

Terry Dee Losansky

I am a software architect, actively practice and teach martial arts and live in Snoqualmie, Washington. I have a lovely wife, Karen, and a daughter, who are the jewels of my life.

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