WHAT: Hydrogen peroxide is a good oxidizing agent, but by itself is not an explosive except under very uncommon circumstances, said Dan Watts, professor of chemistry at NJIT. Usually it is found as a solution in water. However, because of its oxidizing ability it can react with other materials to form peroxides, some of which can be explosive. Under proper reaction conditions, hydrogen peroxide can react with some common materials to form unstable and highly explosive substances that should be cause for concern. This fact was also the basis for the recent concern about “liquid explosives” on aircraft.
WHO: Watts is executive director of the Otto H. York Center for Environmental Engineering and Science at NJIT and holds the Panasonic Endowed Chair of Sustainability. He established and developed at NJIT centers for emission reduction research; worked with the NJ Department of Environmental Protection and EPA to develop a technical assistance program to prevent industrial pollution. He also has developed a research partnership with the U.S. Army Industrial Ecology Center, leading to the funding of a sustainable green manufacturing initiative. He received a PhD in organic chemistry from Indiana University.
WHEN: Thursday, Sept. 6, 2007
WHERE: Interview may be conducted either by telephone or in a chemistry laboratory on the NJIT campus.
HOW: Contact Rosalyn Roberts at 973-596-3433 to set up interviews today or tomorrow. Dan Watts may also be telephoned directly for telephone interviews at 973-596-3465 (office) and 732-939-9426 (cell).
BACKGROUND: The New York Times reported today that German authorities stopped a major terrorist attack against American and German targets in Germany, arresting three Islamic militants and seizing a large amount of potentially explosive chemicals and military-grade detonators. The Times reported that German authorities said that the suspects had amassed hydrogen peroxide, the main chemical in the explosives used in the London suicide bombings of July 2005.