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Latent Print Examination » Questions from FP Experts for FP Experts... Processing, Testimony, and Technical Matters » Dyestain clean-up on firearm? « Previous Next »

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Posted on Tuesday, May 03, 2005 - 09:12 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks for your help!

I have read the MSDS thoroughly and remain convinced that we have not really thoroughly tested the toxicological potential of many dyestains. Certainly, where our law enforcement officers are concerned, I would rather err on the side of caution. What might be minimal exposure were one to handle a contaminated weapon once might count for a level of chronic exposure if worn on a daily basis.

As for using Glock-approved cleaning solutions, I have attempted to dissolve minute quantities of each of the dyestain powders I listed in Hoppe's #9 (our preferred cleanser) with mixed success. I'd still prefer to use an organic solvent, if and only if I can be certain it will do no damage to the weapon.

I am less concerned with the cyanoacrylate residue except in an aesthetic sense.

I have contacted Glock and they have not provided me with any more information than I have already.

Thanks again for the lead (and the link to the concrete story!)

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Posted on Tuesday, May 03, 2005 - 12:10 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Bottom line up front: although the dyestains are "most soluble" in organic solvents, they are soluble to a lesser extent in other solvents, including Glock-approved cleaning solvents. All noticable traces (so that a person's hands don't turn orange/yellow when handling the weapon later) can probably be removed using Glock-approved solvents and sufficient elbow grease. The slight traces of dyestain on the weapons should pose no health risk to the persons cleaning the weapons... solvents are generally more of a health risk than the minute amounts of dyestain present.

Insofar as general cyanocrylate clean-up, some labs have also reported that warm water, soap and elbow grease do a fine job. Many different solvents have been successfully used to clean cyanoacrylate fuming chambers, including acetone, acetonitrile, WD40 and DMSO.

Regarding the carcinogenic concerns, safety is your first job and is always a very important and serious matter. That said, you should read the MSDS sheets to understand the safe level of exposure. The idea that you avoid all contact with carcinogens is not realistic... even the black peppper used in your crime lab lunch room or break room is an experimental carcinogen... it is a matter of "what are the safe exposure levels?" This carcinogenic topic was covered partially in a prior posting stating as follows:
Some Latent Print Examiners have told me that they will not work with chemicals like Rhodamine 6G (a dye stain commonly used to tag/enhance superglue developed prints) because its MSDS states that it is an experimental (possible) carcinogen. Yet, these same examiners seem unaware that common household black pepper they keep on the kitchen table everyday contains experimental carcinogens. Of course, the amount of black pepper one would have to consume to be at risk of danger is ridiculously huge... so we all continue to eat black pepper. Oh, and the mutagens and carcinogens present in bread, apples, and many other common foods (see a list here courtesy of Harvard University) would probably mean you are going to completely change your eating habits if you are going to have zero tolerance for carcinogens and mutagens (versus following safe exposure/consumption guidelines).
Cleaning weapons at least should be easier (using manufacturer-approved gun cleaning solvents) than cleaning dyestains from a concrete sidewalk (outside staircase landing) after latent print processing. }
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Anna Duggar
Posted on Monday, May 02, 2005 - 04:45 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Wondering if anyone's run across this problem...

Some time ago, my laboratory processed two Glock handguns for possible latent prints. The firearms were processed with CA (Cyvac or traditional, we can't be sure) and then with up to three different dyestains: Rhodamine 6G, Basic Yellow 40, and BBD (not necessarily in that order).

We have since been approached about how we might make these firearms usable again.

I have two concerns:
1) These dyestains may be carcinogens. In order to make the firearm safe for operation, as much of the dyestain as possible must be solubilized and removed.
2) The three dyestains in question are all most soluble in organic solvents. Glock USA is not certain what the effect of extensive cleaning with an organic solvent will be on the structural integrity of the composite.

Has anyone else attempted this kind of rehabilitation? Is it even possible?


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