Is it illegal to own a home chemistry lab? There is no simple answer. However, as long as you don’t violate local laws (or state or government laws) regarding glassware and chemicals, then yes, it is legal to have a home chemistry lab. However, I know that in some states (ahem… Texas) it is quite difficult to own glassware and chemicals without being in violation of the law.
First of all, I have to make sure that you know I am not in any way providing legal advice. If someone gets in trouble for having a lab after reading this post I don’t want to have the cops knocking on my door! That being said, it is extremely important that you check your local laws before buying glassware and chemicals.
It seems petty that you can get in trouble for having or shipping different formations of glass (we all know of Tommy Chong!), but it can land you in a lot of trouble in the U.S. Chemicals can get you in just as much trouble, if not more. Just remember though, while one form of a chemical might be illegal to possess, sometimes other forms of the chemical are not.
For example, in some states you can’t order and have HCl shipped to your house. A solution to the problem is to go to your local hardware store and pick up some concrete cleaner or The Works toilet bowl cleaner. These products contain HCl in a diluted form, although the concentration can still be quite high. Again, make sure you’re not in violation of laws by using these products for experiments, but usually they do the trick. They aren’t professional lab grade chemicals, but they get the job done if you’re just doing personal research.
I used to know of a great list of chemicals you can extract from products bought at the grocery store but I can’t seem to find it right now. I’ll post the link as soon as I stumble upon it!
As long as your lab isn’t used for making illegal drugs and contains the chemicals you can buy in home chemistry kits, you should definitely be in the clear. Sometimes you can even get a permit from your local fire department that allows you to have certain glassware and chemicals too. Especially nowadays with all the meth labs around, it’s a good idea to stay on the safe side!
[Photo Credit] euthman