Watched Chemicals in the US

taken from "Sources" by Strike
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Here is the truth you have been waiting for. The nebulous threat of "watched chemicals" has been spooking chemists for years. No one seems to know for sure what they are or who is watching them. Well (tee hee), I do.

Being sick to death about this whole matter, I marched my ass over to the local science house and demanded to see the manager. I explained that as a private researcher I was sick of the narcotics agents always coming to my house and bugging me and my family every time I ordered a watched chemical. I pointed to the little sheet of List I and List II chems above his sales counter and asked to know where the list of "watched" or "suspicious" chemicals were, because I wanted to avoid their sales in the future.

The manager sympathized with my predicament and said that he did not like the DEA intrusions on his store as well. He explained to me the DEA routine of checking his records and what he knew that they looked for. But he had no idea what any watched chemical was. Never had his company been instructed by the DEA regarding anything other than the List I and List II chemicals. I thanked him and bought some filter paper to show my appreciation.

I did four other on-site visits to chem companies in my state. None knew a damn thing about `watched' chemicals. I contacted out-of-state companies. No dice. I contacted the owners of seven "rogue" lab stores who would definitely NOT withhold privileged info. They too knew nothing about it.

In fact, no one knows what chemicals are "watched" EXCEPT the DEA. And the DEA wants it this way. Why should they tip their hat to lab stores or the public and give up their element of surprise? That's how they make busts: by scrutinizing the public and not letting them know what they are being scrutinized over. Sound criminal? You bet! And it probably is antithematic to the Constitution.

So, as a public service announcement and as a protective defense against unwarranted search, I give you the list of watched chemicals that you are not supposed know about in the Watched Chemicals List.


Acetaldehyde, Acetamide, Acetaminophen, N-Acetyl Anthranillic Acid, Alumina (activated), Aluminum Chloride, Aluminum Oxide, Aluminum Powder, Ammonium Formate, Ammonium Nitrate, Aniline, pAnisaldehyde, Arsenic Metal, Arsenic Pentoxide, Arsenic Trichloride, Arsenic Trioxide, Benzene, Benzocaine, Biotin, Boron Trifluoride, Bromine, Bromobenzene, Brucine Sulphate, Butylamine gammaButyrolactone, Caffeine, Calcium Metal, Calcium Carbide, Calcium Hydride, Carbon Disulfide, Carbon Tetrachloride, Chloroacetone, Chloroform, 2-Chloropyridine, Chromium Picolinate, Citral, Cyclohexanone, Dichloroacetic Acid, Diethyl Malonate, Diethylamine, Digitonin, Digitoxin, Dihydroxyacetone, Dimethyl Sulfate, Dimethyl Sulfoxide, Dinitrochlorobenzene, Diphenylacetonitrile, Epinephrine, Epinephrine Bitartate, Estradiol, Estriol, Estrone, Ethinyl Estradiol, Ethylacetoacetate, Ethyl Alcohol (190-200 proof), Ethyl Magnesium Bromide, Ethylenediamine, Folic Acid, Formamide, Formic Acid, Freon, Gallic Acid, Glycolic Acid, Guaifenesin, Hexachlorophene, Hexyl Resorcinol, Hydrazine, Hydrazine Dihydrochloride, Hydrazine Hydrate, Hydrazine Sulfate, Hydrobromic Acid, Hydrochloric Acid (ups, nf, fcc grades), Hydrocortisone, Hydrofluoric Acid, Hydrogen Peroxide 30% & 50%, Hyoscyamine, Ibuprofen, Indole, Inositol, Iron Filings, Ketoglutaric Acid, Lactose, Lead Acetate, Lidocaine, Lithium Metal, 3,5-Diiodosalithium, Lithium Acetate, Lithium Aluminum Hydride, Lithium Bromide, Lithium Carbonate, Lithium Chloride, Lithium Chromate, Lithium Citrate, Lithium Cobalt, Lithium Dodecyl Sulfate, Lithium Fluoride, Lithium Hydroxide, Lithium Lactate, Lithium Metaborate, Lithium Nitrate, Lithium Oxalate, Lithium Perchlorate, Lithium Sulfate, Lithium Tetraborate, Lycopodium, Magnesium Metal, Magnesium Turnings, Mannitol, Megestrol Acetate, Mercuric Acetate, Mercuric Bromide, Mercuric Chloride, Mercuric Cyanide, Mercuric Iodide, Mercuric Nitrate, Mercuric Oxide, Mercuric Oxycyanide, Mercuric Sulfate, Mercuric Sulfide, Mercuric Thiocyanate, Mercurous Chloride, Mercurous Nitrate, Mercurous Sulfate, Mercury Bichloride, Methylformamide, Methylprednisolone, Methylpropylarrune, Methylsulfoxide, Methyltestosterone, Miconazole Nitrate, Naproxen Sodium, Niacin, Niacinamide Ascorbate, Nicotinamide, Nifedipme, Nitrofuranation, Nitromethane, Nystatin, Oxalyl Chloride, Palladium Black, Palladium Metal (powder), Palladium on Alumina, Palladium on Charcoal, Papaverine HCl, Peracetic Acid, Perchloric Acid, Petroleum Ether, Phenacetin, Phenol, Phenyl Magnesium Bromide, Phenyl Magnesium Chloride, Phenylalanine, Phenyl Mercuric Acetate, Phenyl Mercuric Borate, Phenyl Mercuric Chloride, Phenyl Mercuric Nitrate, Phenyl Mercuric Salicylate, Phosphorus Oxychloride, Phosphorus Pentachloride, Physostigmine, Phytonadione, Picric Acid, Pilocarpine, Potassium Chlorate, Potassium Cyanide, Potassium Nitrate, Potassium Perchlorate, Potassium Permanganate, Proxamine Hydrochloride, Prednisolone, Prednisone, Pregnenolone, Prilocaine, Procaine, Progesterone, Promethazine Hydrochloride, Propenylbenzene, Propionic Anhydride, Propranolol, Pyridine, Pyridoxal, Pyridoxine, Quinine, Raney Nickle, Reserpine, Riboflavin, Salicylic Acid, Scopolamine, Selenous Acid, Sodium Acetate, Sodium Azide, Sodium Borohydride, Sodium Chlorate, Sodium Chlorite, Sodium Cyanide, Sodium Fluoride, Sodium Iodide, Sodium Metal, Sodium Nitrate, Sodium Nitrite, Sodium Perchlorate, Sodium Peroxide, Sodium Sulfate, Sodium Sulfathiazole, Strychnine, Styrene, Sulfanilamide, Sulfathiazole, Sulfur Trioxide, Theophylline, Thionyl Chloride, TitaniumTetrachloride, p-Toluenesulfonic Acid, o-Toluidine, Trichloroacetic Acid, Trichlorotrifluoroethane, Trifluoroacetic Anhydride, 3,4,5-Trimethoxy Compounds (Any!), Tryptophan, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin E, Vitamin E Acetate.

Sorry I couldn't put that in a tabular format. It would've taken too many pages. The information in the list was pulled from both the DEA and the California Department of Justice. Some of the entries are watched because of their potential for mass poisonings or bomb making. But the bulk of the list is for drugs.

Right now I can see a bunch of you running around in circles screaming because you've realized you've ordered half of the shit on that list. And I'm at a loss to explain it. No one has busted me for ordering the stuff. No one I know who has ordered things of this nature has gotten busted on account of them.

I leave it up to you to judge how you may approach ordering these chems. My personal take on all this is that any one, two or possibly three of these chems ordered together would not be suspicious unless they were ordered in very large amounts or they were known to have specific uses when ordered together.

The best advice I can give you is from a warning notice I found on the "Sales Policy" web page of a very friendly and forthcoming laboratory supply company:

We do not wish to end up in court as a witness for the prosecution against you. Sorry, but we really don't need the business that bad. If you're interested in buying items which can be used for making explosives or illicit drugs, please be aware of the following: the California State Department of Justice and the various Federal agencies regularly review our sales for patterns of purchases which may lead to an arrest. In California knowingly selling any item which is then used in felony drug or bomb making is a felony also for the seller. Enough said. Go elsewhere to buy these items.

Finally, it is worth noting that someone, somewhere once said he hoped the government would place every chemical under suspicion or restriction. I agree because it would negate its own intentions. And let me tell ya - that Watched Chemical List is huge! It is, in fact, prohibitively huge. And the bigger it gets, the sillier and more useless it becomes. Keep it up guys!

Listed Chemicals

Updated by Rhodium November 2001

Posted in every lab store, chem distributorship or manufacturing plant is a single, yellow sheet of paper that the DEA has sent to them. Printed on the paper is the List I and List II Scheduled Chemicals that the DEA wants restricted. The table below is an exact replica of the most current list as of early 1998. Included are also all salts and optical isomers (where applicable) of the compounds, as well as salts of optical isomers.

List I Chemicals

  • Anthranilic Acid
  • N-Methylpseudoephedrine
  • Benzaldehyde
  • Nitroethane
  • Benzyl Cyanide
  • Norpseudoephedrine
  • Ephedrine
  • Phenylacetic Acid
  • Ergonovine
  • Phenylpropanolamine
  • Ergotamine
  • Piperidine
  • Ethylamine
  • Piperonal
  • Hydriodic Acid (57%)
  • Propionic Anhydride
  • Isosafrole
  • Pseudoephedrine
  • Methylamine
  • Safrole
  • N-Acetylanthranilic Acid
  • MD-P2P
  • N-Methylephedrine
  • gamma-Butyrolactone
  • Phosphorous (red, white and yellow)
  • Hypophosphorous Acid
List II Chemicals
by Volume
by Weight
Acetic Anhydride
250 gallons
1023 kg
50 gallons
150 kg
Benzyl Chloride
1 kg
Ethyl Ether
50 gallons
135.8 kg
Methyl Ethyl Ketone
50 gallons
145 kg
Potassium Permanganate
55 kg
50 gallons
159 kg
Anhydrous Hydrogen Chloride

List I Chemicals (a.k.a. Schedule I Chemicals, a.k.a. Precursor Chemicals) are all illegal to own or buy in any quantity without a DEA or State Permit. List II Chemicals (a.k.a. Schedule II Chemicals, a.k.a. Essential Chemicals) can be purchased legally in amounts below the limits stated in Table I. But if you want to buy amounts of List II chemicals above the thresholds given in Table I, then you're gonna need that DEA or state permit.

Most lab stores simply refuse to sell List I and List II chemicals because of the stigma they carry. This includes sales to people with permits. That is just fine in my book. No one has any business buying List I and List II chemicals, nor does anyone have any need for the chemicals these days. In fact, I have a greater trust in companies that do this. This is because they are limiting the potential for abuse by customers, thus freeing themselves to more confidently sell the rest of their chems and products.

Addendum by Rhodium, November 16, 2001:

This rulemaking finalizes a September 25, 2000 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (65 FR 57577) in which DEA proposed the addition of red phosphorus, white phosphorus (also known as yellow phosphorus) and hypophosphorous acid (and its salts) as List I chemicals. This action is being taken because of the use and importance of these chemicals in the illicit manufacture of methamphetamine (a Schedule II controlled substance).

As List I chemicals, handlers of these materials will be subject to CSA chemical regulatory controls including registration, recordkeeping, reporting, and import/export requirements. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has determined that these controls are necessary to prevent the diversion of these chemicals to clandestine drug laboratories.

Given the small quantities of these chemicals necessary for the production of methamphetamine, no threshold is being established for domestic and international transactions. As such, all transactions (regardless of size) shall be considered regulated transactions, subject to recordkeeping, reporting and/or import/export notification requirements.

Effective Date: This final rule is effective November 16, 2001.

Also see Chemical Mixtures Containing Listed Forms of Phosphorus (21 CFR 1310).