Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate


todays lamps a considered harmless (I hope it's true because I'm running some of them not fully sealed).

Mathmos manual says it's not dangerous and could be disposed normaly, and I was told Gookits don't contain Perc.

But what about the old ones?

(and what is the time line between toxic ones and safe ones?)

I just bought a Crestworth Living Jewel and some says it contain Trichloretylene, which is toxic but not as bad as what is written in these alarming links:



Pretty scary!!!

Is it true?

What about the old lava lamps with perc? Especialy if they're not fully sealed?

and the glitterlite ones?

Can some little vapors escaping from them can be dangerous?

What is your opinion about this?

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Thanks Johnny, I know what you mean about liking the smell, but we shouldn't really be admitting it lol

To my nose, the French glitters I have used the same fluid as the Living Jewel.

Likewise, the fast fluid that Kirk supplied had the same smell (and was compatable for mixing), so was presumably a similar solvent.

There is another fluid which you'll find in the plastic European/Italian lamps which appears to be a little more toxic (and doesn't smell so nice!), and I always dispose of that because the glitter flakes have typically perished and it'll turn any modern flakes translucent within a matter of days.

Perhaps I'll stick with re-gluing as per the original design.

I'm with Johnny on this one, fwiw, but perhaps I should confess to being a bit cynical about Elf'n'Safety jobsworths overemphasising risks in everything we do in our daily trudge round the grindstone...

But there are those plastic inner caps you can insert for added protection - Kirk used to offer them, but I don't know where to get them over here.

Otherwise PTFE would seem good insurance, unless the solvents melt it?

Plastic inner caps. Hadn't thought of that. The French lamps typically have a plastic stopper in addition to the cap.

Obviously the benefit of not gluing is it's less hastle if you ever want to remove.

Was it something like this that Kirk used?:

Your one looks even better, with the grips

Here's one of Kirk's in place


Thanks Andy!

No worries

One thing to bear in mind, which caught me out at first, - especially with some glitter's expanding MF - is that they do reduce the available expansion area, so you may need to adjust fill levels slightly

Neither of those links work for me.

I think you raise some good questions. I want to point out that you shouldn't blindly take the word of the manufacturer as truth when it comes to this. I also want to point out that just because there are stricter regulations on chemicals these days that you shouldn't just assume everything is now harmless. They have a right to not disclose the exact ingredients because of trade secret laws. All they have to do is use something that isn't currently identified as "hazardous" as defined by MSDS laws and that doesn't necessarily mean that it isn't truly hazardous. Obscure compounds tend to not have sufficient data on toxicity and environmental impact. Therefore, they are not yet defined as "hazardous". Also, it's basically a form of self regulation so they could use something that is blatantly hazardous even according to the laws and simply lie about it. Unless OSHA stops by and catches a violation we basically take their word for it. 

If you understand chemistry than you understand that they are definitely using chlorinated substances. They use to use some notoriously nasty chlorinated solvents mixed with paraffin. Now they likely use chlorinated paraffin because the chlorinated solvents have come under scrutiny. They require (with one exception)* chlorinated compounds of some sort because of their unique properties such as high density and immiscibility with water. It's those very unique properties that tend to make these compounds bad for your body and the environment. Really bad for the environment actually as they are persistent pollutants. 

So, yes, in my opinion you should assume it's not something you want to touch, ingest, or breath. Maybe it's harmless. Maybe it's not. But, they don't have much reason to admit it's bad if it is bad. 

*The only known exception to the chlorinated compounds is ferrofluid. Ferrofluid is a colloidal mixture of magnetite in oil. It's also denser than water and immiscible. The nasty chlorine is replaced by benign magnetite.   

Sorry, I'd added to a thread which was started years ago, and those original links have obviously expired.

Your ferrofluid creations look fantastic, and I'd certainly like a ferrofluid bottle one day, although I'd want it in a vintage lamp as just don't have the same interest in modern designs (not yet anyway!).

toxic is the last thing I would personally worry about, considering all the industrial and recreational chemical concoctions iI have voluntarily induced over the years. 

I should be able to melt and levitate wax by sheer thought when the voices in my head say its ok to do so

ALL bottles should have a tight seal if you have invested in a proper bottle capper.

Proper legal disclaimers for anyone making lamps should be in place for the increasingly large amount of Darwin Award candidates that want to see if they can magnetize their manhood by ingestion or have accepted the molten wax shotgun challenge with 500,000,000,000 views.

the plastic stoppers are usually there to allow for expansion of the fluid, NOT to seal  the bottle.

Hi Claude,

Recreational chemical concoctions lol

Unlike a lot of the lamps on your side of the pond though, most of mine are screw tops.

Thanks for clarifying the purpose of the stoppers though!

Going off to google the wax shotgun challenge now...

well those can be sealed with a proper O-ring or bead of silicone

Stoppers all o=for expansion but be careful that your fluid does not come into n expanded flluid level contact with it when full hot or they will melt their color of the plastic into the glitter fluid.

Plastic expansion plugs can be bought here:https://www.sinclair-rush.co.uk/categories/plugs-stoppers/plastic-p...

Mark said:

Hi Claude,

Recreational chemical concoctions lol

Unlike a lot of the lamps on your side of the pond though, most of mine are screw tops.

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