Posted by: Mark Foreman | February 2, 2010

Advert for a Film about SN2 chemistry

OK, time to watch a film.

Here we have a film, here I add solutions of methyl iodide and ethyl iodide (equal mole amounts of the organic iodides) in toluene to two vials containing a toluene solution of triphenyl phosphine.

If you go to your lesson on SN2 chemistry you will understand why in one vial white solid formed instantly while in the other nothing happened.

I am not sure what the rating of the film should be, years ago at one point I considered making an application to become a “film censor” or more correctly a classifier of films at the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC http://www.bbfc.co.uk/). The BBFC consider the sexual content of a film, how violent it is, how immoral it is, use of dirty words, does the film show drug abuse, is the film going to scare children senseless and some other things.

About my film, it has no sexual or violent content. No swearing and I doubt if it will scare children. Also you do not see me doing bad things in the film.

Should it get a 18 rating as it does involve substances which are hazardous to health. The methyl iodide is toxic and likely to be carcinogenic, from what we know about radiation it is known that children are more sensitive to things which induce cancer. For instance UK law does not allow anyone under the age of 16 to work with radiation or radioactivity. Also under the age of 18 in the UK the occupational limit is lower than my (adult) limit of 20 mSv.

So maybe children should only watch the film with a responsible adult in case they suddenly want to do the experiment.

Based on that I think that the BBFC might give my film a PG rating.

On a serious side, I think that due to the fact that it is likely that children are more vulnerable to things which cause cancer is another very good reason not to smoke near children and to make sure that schools are free of asbestos dust.

PS. At least in the past educational films are often given a special E (exempt) classification by the BBFC.

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