WARNING: Hazards Pickers Might Encounter

WARNING: Hazards Pickers Might Encounter

We all love the thrill of pickin’ and finding great treasures, but did you know that sometimes what we find just might be hazardous/dangerous to you and others?

UrbanRenewalDesigns says:

The following TRUE story is an incident that recently occurred to me that I want to share with all of you as a safety WARNING! Others of you may have similar stories and warnings, so please add your experiences here too!

My story began at an estate sale (where else??). I’m rather fond of anything vintage Girl or Boy Scout and when I found a wonderful 1939 Girl Scout First Aid kit (Johnson & Johnson) with ALL the contents still inside, I immediately purchased it. Sounds wonderful, eh?

I listed this little treasure and included a list of all the contents from the label on the inside of lid in the description. Fast forward about 2 days. I received a convo from a man who said:

“If the Picric Acid gauze bandages are still in this first aid kit, I urge you to remove them and call your local fire department. Picric acid becomes explosive after it dries out or crystallizes. Bomb squads all over the country have dealt with this dangerous chemical and the post office will not accept anything that includes it. The rest of the kit is, of course, legal to sell.”

Sure enough, the Picric Acid gauze pads were in the tin all snugly packed!! I pulled them out of the tin (bad idea) and laid them on the counter, still not totally grasping how volatile these things could be. As I was deciding whether to call police/fire/bomb squad or what, I got another convo in response to my Thank You to my good Samaritan:

“You’re welcome! Here is a link to a tv news story about an experience with Girl Scout first aid kits.


To shorten this story, I will just say that as soon as I watched the video, I called 911 and an officer was dispatched to my house ASAP. He was not just any police officer, but the Sergeant in Charge of our local BOMB SQUAD!

He came in the house and checked out the packages and asked a lot of questions and then asked to see the first aid kit. He then told us that it was indeed a potentially explosive material (what they use in TNT and other explosives, and an ingredient used in the past for burns, etc. by doctors and packaged in some older first aid kits. When/if it crystallizes, it becomes even more dangerous. He couldn’t really tell if it had crystallized as it was covered with wrapping, but said to tell everyone that I had definitely done the right thing by calling them!

In a few minutes, a second bomb unit officer showed up with a big black very padded bag and a long clipper. He scooped up the packages from about 2 feet away and put the Petric Acid Gauze Bandages in a bag and put that bag in another bag, zipped it all up and drove away to take to the disposal unit!

This is obviously something that we should ALL be aware of … who would have EVER thought that an old GIRL SCOUT First Aid Kit could/would be dangerous? Well, it just might be…so please check!

PLEASE pass the word to your fellow pickers, friends, family and anyone else who might come across Pitric Acid in any form in their “treasures.”

Another thing to be cautious of are old paper wrapped shot gun shells. They have been using plastic for years now, but back in the day they used paper.

The paper breaks down with age and affects the gun powder inside the shell. Basically it causes a chemical reaction which turns the powder into a nitro glycerine type of material. VERY explosive, if you come across any of them leave them alone, do not touch, handle, or pick them up ! Contact officials immediately !

Luckily THIS Campfire Girl Uniform did not come with a First Aid Kit.

Luckily THIS Campfire Girl Uniform did not come with a First Aid Kit.

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