# Strange Sticky Substance on Digital Camera [closed]

I purchased a used Canon Powershot A1100 IS camera online. When I received it in the mail it had a very strange sticky substance that looked like a thin film.

It resisted attempts at cleaning. Water, water + soap, baking soda + vinegar, baking soda only, vinegar only and rubbing alcohol all did not resolve the issue. Only vigorous scrubbing kind of helped.

In addition I could not get it off my hands at all even after about 10 hand washing attempts and soaking my hands in soap and water. After my hands dried the areas where my hands touched the camera were still sticky. The only thing that helps was after it dried rubbing my hands with a paper towel. When wet it was not sticky then when it dried it came back.

The battery terminal was completely corroded with a blue color and it seems like there was some but possibly less of the substance internally. This is part of the battery door. It is used to complete the circuit between the two AA batteries that the camera takes.

Scraping away the blue crystal only results in more of what you can already see in the picture. Metal that looks grey in some places and brown/red in others.

The closest thing I can think of is petroleum jelly but I can't be sure that, that is it. I don't have any and don't work with it much so I can't compare what it looks like.

Based on my description do you have any possible ideas on what it is?

If you do have something that matches these symptoms would you happen to know what its toxicity is and proper cleanup procedure?

Also in general how should one handle touching something they don't have knowledge of but that could be dangerous and when hand-washing is not working/removing it.

• Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Loong Sep 20 '19 at 17:56

After the lengthy back and forth perhaps an official answer is due: the blue salt deposit on the camera battery holder door is most likely copper(II) hydroxide by reaction of leaked alkaline battery electrolyte (likely $$\ce{KOH}$$) with copper metal in the battery door contact. It could possibly also consist of copper(II) carbonate hydroxide formed by reaction of the copper(II) hydroxide with carbon dioxide, but the deep blue rather than green color in the picture suggests it is the previous. Copper hydroxide is regarded as moderately hazardous, but you are unlikely to be at risk unless you ingest it. Feel free to consult a MSDS for this compound (such as here) for more information.

The sticky substance coating the camera is possibly a degradation product of plastic components in the camera housing. It is not likely to be toxic unless ingested or if you are in contact with it persistently.