Reject, p.1
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       Reject, p.1

          ToClark / Humor
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A novel by

Toby Clark

This book is dedicated to:

Ken Evans The TDI got him

Mel Irving and Philip Hill who also died in the remorseless pursuit of making polyether foam

And Tim Howell who outlasted them all

Many of the incidents recorded in this book really happened and most of the characters are real people, still living or (mercifully in a few cases) dead. I don’t suppose any of them care any longer that I have written this, and I don’t really care if they do!

Toby Clark January 2013


Toby Clark

Copyright 2010 by Toby Clark

Dramatis Personae

Dave. This is me. I never quite learned the rules of the game

Mr Folklore The boss. He never quite succeeded in teaching me the rules of the game

Grey Folklore's deputy. Played the game but with a big handicap

Mr Happy Production Physicist. For whom even the Good Times were bad.

Howell Electronics engineer. A chess player, he was forced to play the game without any pieces

Mike Another technician like me

Pat Played the game according to his own interpretation of the rules

Little Dave Dave’s assistant

Smith Development (chief) Physicist. Didn't leave his reflection in mirrors

Millar Aeropreen's Technical Director. He made up the rules

Sage Aeropreen's Chief Development Engineer. He wrote his own job description in defiance of the rules

Alf Sage's deputy.

Pike Production manager

Peddle Production chemist

Dik Senior chemist. Could have had a job with DuPont any time he wanted

George Production supervisor or production Superintendant depending on the whims of the management

Pete George's assistant

Dan, Dan the Catalyst Man A Worker

Bobski Pilot plant operator. Completely insane, as are all Poles!

Ernie His oppo.

TDI stands for Toluene Di-isocyanate. (We used a tanker load every second day). It is a clear to yellowish watery liquid having a characteristic chemical smell. The control limit (formerly called Threshold Limit Value - TLV) is 0.02 ppm., equivalent to less than a teaspoonful in a large room!

"In sufficiently high concentrations, TDI has a primary irritant effect on the respiratory tract, causing dry throat and coughing. Asthmatic attacks may result and may occur immediately on exposure or some hours later. Some workers may become sensitised and exhibit asthmatic symptons well below the control limit. There is evidence that susceptible persons who are repeatedly exposed to isocyanates may suffer impairment of ventilatory function even in the absence of complaint and may even develop interstitial pulmonary fibrosis. In severe cases of overexposure, delayed pulmonary oedema can develop which in rare instances may prove fatal. Isocyanate splashed in the eyes may cause severe chemical conjunctivitis. Isocyanates are usually mild skin irritants and may cause dermatitis. Sensitisation of the skin may occur, but this is rare."

H.S.E. Guidance note EH 16

There were also some other pretty unpleasant chemicals – most notably those that cause bladder cancer. To this day, I always look rather carefully at what I am peeing.

"I offer a toast to Rufus H. Gripperknicker, of whom it has been said that his only claim to fame was that he once cured a pregnant duck of the piles"

R.G.H. 1968
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