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A question about KI and the isolation of I2 (molecular iodine)

  1. Aug 11, 2010 #1
    I'm aware and so are many of you that I2 (iodine crystals) was moved to a "listed" chemical by the DEA around 2007 I believe, because some retards were using it in the clandestine production of methamphetamine. Also during this time iodine tinctures greater than 2.0% were moved off the shelves of merchandisers only to be sold by business with a license from the DEA to sell listed chemicals, like veterinarians.
    Here is my question: Why isn't Potassium Iodide listed as a precursor for illicit drug manufacture like 7% iodine tincture? You can make I2 from Potassium Iodide (KI) almost the exact same way a person would make I2 from a tincture (by adding HCL, and h202). Not only are your yields of I2 greater but it's much cheaper. So why has the DEA not restricted or at least started to record the names of people purchasing Potassium Iodide like they do with Iodine Tincture??
    Thanks for any insight on this one, it's just been bugging me.
    -Nick
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 11, 2010 #2

    Borek

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    My guess would be that they have missed the idea, but they will happily add KI to the list after reading your post.

    And while I may sound like joking, I am serious - that's the way bureaucrats proceed when they are actively engaged in throwing kid with a bath.
     
  4. Aug 11, 2010 #3
    I seriously doubt they "missed" the idea. After all they consult chemists to define which chemicals are used to do bad things with. My guess is that it has more to do with the fact that KI has the potential to make I2, while iodine tincture is already *some* percent of I2 dissolved in alcohol. Hence tincture is to some degree already I2 while KI is not until you add it to water, acidify, and oxidize it until I2 precipitates out of the solution. But then again with tincture you don't actually have I2 crystals until you do the same. So my original question is still unanswered. I really appreciate anyone's feedback on this.
    Best regards
     
  5. Aug 11, 2010 #4

    Borek

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    You assume there is a logic in these actions. I doubt since I have learned in Texas you need a permit to be allowed to posses an Erlenmeyer flask.
     
  6. Aug 11, 2010 #5

    chemisttree

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    Graduated cylinders as well. Go figure.
     
  7. Aug 11, 2010 #6

    chemisttree

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    To answer your question Sep... you are correct that the DEA does know about the reaction you describe.

    From the http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/fed_regs/rules/2007/fr0702.htm" [Broken] Some history of the placement of iodine on the Lists is in order. Iodine was regulated initially because illicit drug manufacturers used it to produce HI after that chemical was moved to the regulated column.

    Far from the willy nilly illogic that some have attributed to these actions, the listing of these chemicals has progressed in a fairly conservative manner in response to their diversion for illicit use. (no babies were thrown out with bathwater in the formation of this opinion) You can be certain that KI would be listed as well should the process you are referring to become de regueur by those involved in meth manufacture.

    By the way, try buying KI in the amounts you would need as well as H2O2. You will quickly learn that the oxidation of KI method is not as anonymous as you might imagine. Potassium iodide tablets that you can buy over the counter contain mostly inert ingredients and are fairly expensive. You would need to buy a LOT of tablets. Large purchases of hydrogen peroxide are being watched as well. The NYC subway bombers were caught doing just that... buying peroxide at Sally Beauty Supply.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  8. Aug 12, 2010 #7
    chemisttree, thank you indeed for a thorough and well put response. I was aware of KI's use in the occurrence of radioiodine 131.
    *For future readers of these posts: KI when taken immediately after a radioactive incident can prevent damage to humans caused from the thyroid absorbing radioiodine 131. KI protects your thyroid because your thyroid can only absorb X amount of iodine. When it gets saturated with KI your thyroid loses the ability to absorb any more iodine, including the radioactive variety, thus blocking the absorption of harmful radiation via the thyroid. It's important to note that this helps little after the fact. So if you're in a high risk situation i.e. nuclear facility or live near one, or test atomic weapons on a regular basis your better off taking it consistently since your thyroid will absorb which ever iodine comes first, be it radioactive or not however I'm not a doctor so consult your physician before begining any type of medication, OTC or otherwise.*
    Now back to the originally issue:
    Based on feedback from chemisttree and borek I think my question has mostly been answered to some extent.
    With their feedback I'll make some assumptions:
    1. The DEA is aware of the ability to precipitate I2 from an aqueous solution of KI by oxidation and the addition of HCL or another acid.
    2. The DEA has chosen not to add KI to their List 1 or 2 chemicals because of it's widespread use in various industries-(the following in bold is extracted from Wikipedia's entry: potassium iodide) It's a precursor to silver iodide (used in photography), it has medicinal value as a supplement and as a protector from I-131, is a component in some disinfectants and hair treatment hair chemicals, also used as a fluorescence quenching agent in biomedical research, a component in the electrolyte of dye sensitized solar cells (DSSC) along with iodine, and there are some other applications for KI as well, but those are the main ones.
    If this is inconsistent with information anyone else has please share, if I'm erroneous in any statements I've made please correct!
    Thanks for reading and thanks for feedback.
     
  9. Aug 12, 2010 #8
    There are some odd regulations in my country too.
    You can't buy sodium carbonate if you are a minor. Even if you are 18 or older, you can only buy a limited amount per month and it involves some sort of authorization by the military. Even if you own a bakery and use sodium carbonate to make cookies, you will find an incredible bureaucracy.

    I guess they never heard that sodium bicarbonate (which is widely available here in ordinary supermarkets) can be used to produce sodium carbonate just by heating:

    2NaHCO3 = Na2CO3 + CO2 + H2O

    Also, if someone in my country wanted to make iodine using the KI/H2O2/HCl method you describe, he will find out that HCl has restricted selling (again, controlled by the military). But if you just buy *** and react with potassium iodide, you will get some iodine. I've censored the reagent, since you mentioned that there's a potential use in illegal drug production, but it is sold as part of "young chemist kits" without restrictions...
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2010
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