Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

This is from a interesting article I found. Below I will attach the whole page, its in PDF format and it dont copy and paste so well... I cant find the website page anymore.


In 1993, the wall of secrecy surrounding
the chemical ingredients of the lava lamp
was accidentally breached by a Chicago
alcoholic. The 65-year-old man was taken to
the emergency room at University of Illinois
Hospital because he was unresponsive and
lethargic. He had rapid pulse and respiration.
Blood tests showed starvation, dehydration,
excess positive ions, malfunctioning kidneys,
and a blood pH of 7.32 (normal is
7.40). Although he was given intravenous
fluids, his condition declined and, three days
later, doctors began dialysis to clear his
blood of some of the chemicals that his kidneys
could not handle.
At this time his family reported that, in
an apparent search for alcohol, he had
opened a cool lava lamp and drunk most of
the liquid in the lamp and some of the solid.
His doctors needed to know—immediately—
the chemical composition of the lava
lamp. The lamp was sent to Hinez Veteran’s
Administration Hospital where chemist Ralston
Reid promptly analyzed the remaining
material by gas chromatography–mass
spectrophotometry. The lava lamp was
found to contain water, 38% by mass; chlorinated
paraffin, 36%; low molecular weight
polyethylene glycol, 13%; kerosene 7%; and
microcrystalline wax, 6%. A similar analysis
of the man’s blood, saved from the day he
was admitted to the hospital, showed some
of the same materials.
Finally, the doctors knew how to treat
the man, and he made a gradual recovery,
which was complicated by alcohol withdrawal.
After three months of hospitalization,
the man was sent home, although his kidneys
did not fully recover. Toxicologist Timothy
Erickson and the other physicians who
treated this man believe that the most
prominent toxic effect was the kidney damage
caused by the low molecular weight
(200 daltons) polyethylene glycol. This
chemical can damage the kidneys even
though high molecular weight polyethylene
glycol (3,500 daltons) is safe and is used
therapeutically to flush certain toxins from
the intestines.
After this incident, the manufacturer
changed the design of the lamp so it contains
less-toxic ingredients, and the bottle is
harder to open.
—D. Robson

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Thanks for sharing. That was a great read! It's interesting to know what makes a lava lamp - a lava lamp. Wonder what they changed.

It also explains why some of the cheap China lamps (knock offs) smell to high heaven of kerosene when I opened them.
Yea I noticed the older screw cap bottles have a smell of gasoline, which explains the kerosene. My Imperial had a oily film on the top of the fluid. I never did believe their "13 secret ingredients" claim, I always figured it was 3 to 5 simple ingredients.


LampHead

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