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Original Message:   Sigh....
Dear Nishedha,

I would be surprised if your beads are anything except cast phenolic plastic.

Cast phenolic plastic is not "Bakelite." (For the reasons I have posted dozens of times here and elsewhere.)

The ideas expressed here, attempting to characterize the aroma of phenolic plastic, fail, in only providing associations. A practical suggestion is easy (for many people). In your kitchen find an older pan with a black Bakelite handle. Rub the handle for about a minute and smell your clean hand. Rub the beads and smell you clean hand. They ought to smell identical (giving the smell of carbolic acid)—because Bakelite and cast phenolic plastic are/were made from the same materials (though they are structurally different).

If these aromas are different from one another, you have two different categories of plastics. I will show you some valid advice for hot-pointing—if you can gain access to the beads (seeing that they seem to already be used in constructions). But I would be surprised that this would be necessary.

Jamey

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