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View Full Version : About Mac Pro, Benzene and other Toxic Compounds


MacBytes
Sep 29, 2008, 09:31 PM
http://www.macbytes.com/images/bytessig.gif (http://www.macbytes.com)

Category: Apple Hardware
Link: About Mac Pro, Benzene and other Toxic Compounds (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20080929223137)
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Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)
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wadejc85
Sep 29, 2008, 11:02 PM
That's disturbing. :( However, I really want to know at what concentrations were the chemicals found. Did the person(s) really get sick or was it anecdotal?

Side note: filling up your gas tank will also expose you to benzene. :p

Xian Zhu Xuande
Sep 29, 2008, 11:30 PM
This doesn't mean anything without knowing how much of these things were actually detected. The company I work for, as the web developer/webmaster/whatever-my-title-is specializes in equipment used to detect exactly this sort of thing. You can find crazy stuff all over the place, but at levels that don't matter at all.

What surprises me is that I would think they'd have that information after testing. I'm sure that won't stop some crazies or get-rich-quick idiots from latching onto this...

mackensteff
Sep 29, 2008, 11:34 PM
As a chemist the topic title is misleading. There is not any benzene found, but benzene derivatives. Compounds containing a 'benzene' ring are common and even required for life (phenylalanine) So the compounds do contain a benzene ring, but is not benzene. You ingest many of these 'benzene' compounds daily from any protein to benzoic acid, BHT, aspirin, ibuprofen, tylenol, and I could go on. These 'benzene' compounds are also toxic at a given level. Don't be afraid of chemicals, you are made of chemicals, food is nothing more than chemicals.

t0mat0
Sep 30, 2008, 06:44 AM
Ditto needing to know concentrations. Otherwise doing some photocopying and standing near a printer could be more hazardous (and if you live in London, breathing in the City/the tube is pretty bad too).

eric67
Sep 30, 2008, 06:47 AM
As a chemist the topic title is misleading. There is not any benzene found, but benzene derivatives. Compounds containing a 'benzene' ring are common and even required for life (phenylalanine) So the compounds do contain a benzene ring, but is not benzene. You ingest many of these 'benzene' compounds daily from any protein to benzoic acid, BHT, aspirin, ibuprofen, tylenol, and I could go on. These 'benzene' compounds are also toxic at a given level. Don't be afraid of chemicals, you are made of chemicals, food is nothing more than chemicals.
you must be joking I guess. Yes, having carbon-based rings is present in numerous chemicals but phenylalanine DOES NOT contain benzene ring, you are misleading everybody here. You must be a young student.
the danger linked to benzene is the fact it is a 6 carbon ring the way it is. In additional, the identified nitro-derivates are very harmful and even more reactive than benzene itself.
Having a 6 carbon-ring in a molecule does not mean it behaves as benzene, your comment are somehow very dangerous on letting people think benzene is nothing.
In addition for the first poster, maybe in US, but in EU there is no more benzene in fuel.
So before coming with such incomplete comments just read the MSDS of benzene and the cited compounds, then think different.

Yes we are made of chemicals structure, but it does not mean that's why we have to accept toxic chemicals in our environment...

eXan
Sep 30, 2008, 06:53 AM
This doesn't mean anything without knowing how much of these things were actually detected. The company I work for, as the web developer/webmaster/whatever-my-title-is specializes in equipment used to detect exactly this sort of thing. You can find crazy stuff all over the place, but at levels that don't matter at all.

What surprises me is that I would think they'd have that information after testing. I'm sure that won't stop some crazies or get-rich-quick idiots from latching onto this...

you must be joking I guess. Yes, having carbon-based rings is present in numerous chemicals but phenylalanine DOES NOT contain benzene ring, you are misleading everybody here. You must be a young student.
the danger linked to benzene is the fact it is a 6 carbon ring the way it is. In additional, the identified nitro-derivates are very harmful and even more reactive than benzene itself.
Having a 6 carbon-ring in a molecule does not mean it behaves as benzene, your comment are somehow very dangerous on letting people think benzene is nothing.
In addition for the first poster, maybe in US, but in EU there is no more benzene in fuel.
So before coming with such incomplete comments just read the MSDS of benzene and the cited compounds, then think different.

Yes we are made of chemicals structure, but it does not mean that's why we have to accept toxic chemicals in our environment...

O_O good to have some specialists around :)

eric67
Sep 30, 2008, 03:42 PM
www.hardmac.com has updated the story by collecting additional information:
http://www.hardmac.com/news/2008-09-30/#8940

so apparently Apple is aware of the issue

mrpeptide
Sep 30, 2008, 04:25 PM
you must be joking I guess. Yes, having carbon-based rings is present in numerous chemicals but phenylalanine DOES NOT contain benzene ring, you are misleading everybody here. You must be a young student.
the danger linked to benzene is the fact it is a 6 carbon ring the way it is. In additional, the identified nitro-derivates are very harmful and even more reactive than benzene itself.
Having a 6 carbon-ring in a molecule does not mean it behaves as benzene, your comment are somehow very dangerous on letting people think benzene is nothing.
In addition for the first poster, maybe in US, but in EU there is no more benzene in fuel.
So before coming with such incomplete comments just read the MSDS of benzene and the cited compounds, then think different.

Yes we are made of chemicals structure, but it does not mean that's why we have to accept toxic chemicals in our environment...

I'm afraid that phenylalanine does indeed contain a benzene ring as part of its structure - phenyl is the radical, or combining form, for a benzene ring in chemical nomenclature. Phenylalanine, and most other phenyl containing compounds, do not, however, have properties similar to benzene.

The original article does not mention benzene at all as one of the compounds detected. It does mention methylphenylacetylene (a monomer used in plastics and coatings), dinitrobenzene (a solvent), acetophenone (another solvent frequently used as a paint remover), acetone (a very commonly available solvent) and acetic acid (vinegar is a solution of acetic acid in water). The most odiferous compound detected is probably propanal, a fermentation product which is also found in cheeses, wines and other foods.

There are no chemicals, water included, which are completely safe under all circumstances. Whether there is a hazard depends on the concentrations and exposure levels. Gas chromatography (which was used to identify these compounds) and human smell are both quite sensitive and the levels detected may be quite miniscule - the article unfortunately does not provide that critical information. (Propanal and its aliphatic aldehyde brethren are also responsible for the smell of old sweatsocks, an aroma readily detectable through even closed locker doors and sealed gym bags! And since it is generally considered an offensive smell, you can appreciate that it is quite noticeable even at low levels.) Many of the compounds detected are experienced in far higher levels in everyday products such as nail polish remover, paint thinner, and salad dressing. While no one wants to be exposed gratuitously to industrial chemicals, it is also important to apply a little common sense and every day experience.

wadejc85
Sep 30, 2008, 08:20 PM
you must be joking I guess. Yes, having carbon-based rings is present in numerous chemicals but phenylalanine DOES NOT contain benzene ring, you are misleading everybody here. You must be a young student.
the danger linked to benzene is the fact it is a 6 carbon ring the way it is. In additional, the identified nitro-derivates are very harmful and even more reactive than benzene itself.
Having a 6 carbon-ring in a molecule does not mean it behaves as benzene, your comment are somehow very dangerous on letting people think benzene is nothing.
In addition for the first poster, maybe in US, but in EU there is no more benzene in fuel.
So before coming with such incomplete comments just read the MSDS of benzene and the cited compounds, then think different.

Yes we are made of chemicals structure, but it does not mean that's why we have to accept toxic chemicals in our environment...

:rolleyes: Take a chill pill.

The US EPA talks about reformulated gas (http://www.epa.gov/Region4/air/naaqs/reform.htm) which still includes benzene, just a smaller amount.

Not to get picky, but why is everyone talking about benzene rings in different compounds? The only "benzene ring" is benzene itself. As far as I know, the correct term would be aromaticity, or aromatic. Benzene is an aromatic compound. Any compound with the so called "benzene ring" is considered aromatic, or having an aromatic ring. You shouldn't claim others are "young students" when *YOU* don't use the correct terminology. But I digress...

<snip> <snip>
There are no chemicals, water included, which are completely safe under all circumstances. Whether there is a hazard depends on the concentrations and exposure levels. Gas chromatography (which was used to identify these compounds) and human smell are both quite sensitive and the levels detected may be quite miniscule - the article unfortunately does not provide that critical information. (Propanal and its aliphatic aldehyde brethren are also responsible for the smell of old sweatsocks, an aroma readily detectable through even closed locker doors and sealed gym bags! And since it is generally considered an offensive smell, you can appreciate that it is quite noticeable even at low levels.) Many of the compounds detected are experienced in far higher levels in everyday products such as nail polish remover, paint thinner, and salad dressing. While no one wants to be exposed gratuitously to industrial chemicals, it is also important to apply a little common sense and every day experience.

I agree. GC is sensitive and will most likely find many compounds based on the columns used (capillary versus packed columns). The point of the matter is at what concentration. You hit the nail on the head. Human smell is quite sensitive.. leading to anecdotal effects. "Oh no! I smell something odd! It must be bad for me! I better go vomit and feel nauseous and start blaming things!" If the company can't produce concentrations that show the chemicals were at harmful levels, it's pure rubbish.

mackensteff
Oct 1, 2008, 10:24 PM
Ok, to clear up and educate. The article is getting press on the basis that the one of the compounds released is benzene. My point is that benzene is not being released, but compounds that are colloquially known as 'benzene' compounds. So to eric67, maybe the meaning of my post was lost in translation. If you read closer I was pointing out that the compounds released are not benzene and thus inferring would not behave as benzene. And no I am not a young (inexperienced) chemist, you however could use some chemical education. A six membered saturated carbon containing ring is a cyclohexane. A six membered carbon ring containing a conjugated system of pi electrons is benzene. The nitro derivatives also are not more 'reactive' as you say. Any first year organic student would know that nitro groups deactivate the system through resonance, and thus the compounds are less reactive in electrophilic aromatic substitution reaction. No if you are talking about nucleophilic aromatic substitution reactions, then yes you need the nitro groups, but you are missing the leaving group in the adjacent or in the opposite position to the nitro group. So as far as being 'more reactive' you are wrong. Now maybe more toxic, but that is a whole different argument and class. My comments are not dangerous when read correctly, however I would argue that yours are. Spewing info that is blatantly incorrect is dangerous. Try reading mrpeptides argument eric67, with a name like mrpeptide you can be sure he understands chemistry. No go back to class an learning something and leave the chemistry discussions to those who know!

mackensteff
Oct 1, 2008, 10:35 PM
:rolleyes: Take a chill pill.

The US EPA talks about reformulated gas (http://www.epa.gov/Region4/air/naaqs/reform.htm) which still includes benzene, just a smaller amount.

Not to get picky, but why is everyone talking about benzene rings in different compounds? The only "benzene ring" is benzene itself. As far as I know, the correct term would be aromaticity, or aromatic. Benzene is an aromatic compound. Any compound with the so called "benzene ring" is considered aromatic, or having an aromatic ring. .

My original post is trying to correct the error that is being picked up in the press that the Mac is releasing benzene. It is 'supposedly' (need more proof/quantitative data) releasing compounds that are named as benzene derivatives. My point was just because a name appears with a benzene in it does not mean the compound is benzene. I was trying to point out other molecules that have 'benzene' group. Phenyl is actually reserved for mono substituted benzenes, so the dinitro compound is more properly referred to as a phenylene.

Cave Man
Oct 1, 2008, 11:09 PM
The dose makes the poison. Everything is toxic in high enough concentrations, and everything is non-toxic in low enough concentrations.

I'm sure we'll soon see another lawsuit seeking class action status on how Apple is killing people. :rolleyes:

shamino
Oct 3, 2008, 11:04 AM
The dose makes the poison. Everything is toxic in high enough concentrations, and everything is non-toxic in low enough concentrations.
Thanks for making this comment before I got around to making it.

Volatile organic compounds, even toxic ones, exist all the time everywhere. In concentration, it might be dangerous. In low concentrations, there may be no danger whatsoever. The fact that you can smell something doesn't automatically mean the concentration is dangerous.

For example, every time you use a permanent marker, you are exposed to its chemicals. But unless you concentrate and inhale the fumes (as kids sometimes do to try and get high), there isn't any real danger.

Until we know the concentrations of the chemicals detected from those Mac systems, we have no way of knowing if it is a health hazard or merely a bad smell.