Microscopic Printing on Aldrich Chemical Labels

OK. I’m going to have to be the bad guy and take Aldrich (SAFC) to task on their labeling. I recently received a 100 mL bottle of 10.0 M BuLi in hexanes.  As I looked around for the concentration, I found it written in tiny print away from the name and part number which were written in larger print.  I have placed a ruler next to the label in the photo below to show the size of the print. It is the same size as the date on a penny.

Labels do not “just happen”. Someone has to design a label. This involves arranging content on a limited space while meeting internal and external requirments for safety statements and other content.  Labels do not fall from the sky in great sticky sheafs. Someone prints them. And that someone assigns font sizes and space for the information. So, someone has caused the font size to be tiny irrespective of the print content. I have numerous bottles with microscopic printing and vast expanses of white space. This smells of automation.

I’ll wager that there is an automated label generator that takes product label data and prints it onto the label irrespective of the actual need for microscopic font size. I can envisage a giant warehouse with automated shelf pickers whizzing about pulling bottles off the milti-tiered stacks and placing them into plastic tubs which course their way to shipping. Elsewhere in this voluminous interior is a widget that prints the labels and sticks them onto the bottle after they are filled.  Somewhere a human is pushing a broom.

C’mon Aldrich! Make your labels more legible. Good gravy. What would Bader say? I’m sure your accounting office has no trouble reading the print on the checks that arrive to pay for these products.  Consider that you’ve been put on notice.

Fine print on Aldrich reagent bottle. Molarity is printed in 1.0 mm font size.

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About gaussling

Gaussling is a senior scientist in the chemical business. He occasionally breaks glassware and has been known to generate new forms of hazmats. Gaussling also digs aerospace, geology, and community theatre. View all posts by gaussling

6 responses to “Microscopic Printing on Aldrich Chemical Labels

  • Coffee Lover

    Ok, I have to agree the new Aldrich labels leave a lot to be desired. But, I do like the new 25mL x 4 tert-butyllithium at the same price as 100mL. But, I suspect some lawyer was responsible for this….

  • Friday chemical safety round-up | The Safety Zone

    [...] do Safety Zone readers think: Is the small print for concentration on Aldrich bottles a safety [...]

  • operating microscopes

    Very commendable post. The topic seems like interesting to read..it gives me a lot of ideas and point of view. Glad you have shared this.. :)

  • Informative Chemical Labels

    Printing on labels is very much difficult task. It needs a lots of concentration while preparing the printing content and printing method as well. One has to keep himself alert while preparing content of the labels because a single mistake can harm various things. But as the computerization and print media has become strong there are less chances of such type of mistakes.
    Using the computer you can set the preferable text format and also you can correct the mistakes automatically. Using Digital printing you can get the best prints of those labels which are not possible by any other traditional printing technology.

  • ChristianPFC

    How true! And there are labels that do not contain molecular mass, density, boiling or other important data, so I have to look it up in the catalog or internet.

    ChristianPFC

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