Phlebotinum Handling Equipment

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Some Phlebotinum is (more or less) harmless to living beings; it can be handled, carried around, or stored in everyday containers without any long-term side effects for those transporting it. Other forms of Phlebotinum are hazardous stuff in their own right, where prolonged exposure, physical contact, or even sniffing the fumes can have harmful, permanent, and/or fatal consequences.

In order to manage or transport the latter kind, you need Phlebotinum Handling Equipment. This be anything from simple gloves (or a Hazmat Suit) to avoid physical contact, specially marked containers to keep the material secure and prevent it from irradiating the surrounding areas, or specialized machinery used to handle the material remotely (especially if it there is a lot of it). Sometimes Phlebotinum Handling Equipment may itself run on a different kind of Phlebotinum, or provide effects that counter or neutralize the hazards presented by the Phlebotinum being handled. The specialized equipment may also be used to alter the material's States of Phlebotinum later.

Examples of Phlebotinum Handling Equipment include:

Comic Books

  • Kryptonite needs to be kept in lead to protect Superman, or he needs to be in lead to protect himself from it. (Which by extension means that Batman has a lead compartment in his utility belt since he always has kryptonite.) Because it's radioactive, Kryptonite can also be dangerous to humans after prolonged exposure, so putting it in lead is really for everyone's protection. Lex Luthor learned this the hard way when he discovered he'd given himself cancer with the stuff.
  • Spider-Man: pretty much the reason Doctor Octopus exists.
    • The formula that makes the Green Goblin is usually in some sort of vial which has also been in some kind of holding container.


  • The Andromeda Strain (1971): waldoes were used inside the sealed biohazard room while processing the title disease.
  • The "live forever" potion in Death Becomes Her is in a crystal vial that stands up on its end even though it comes to a point.
  • Moonraker: the scientists in Hugo Drax's lab use manipulators for part of their processing of the deadly poison (as seen here, starting at 1:15). Unfortunately they use manual manipulation outside a sealed area for the rest, so after James Bond fools around with the vials one of them is knocked down and broken, killing them (2:15-3:50).
  • Resident Evil: when the T-Virus containers in the sealed area are being placed in the suitcase to be stolen, they're manipulated with waldoes.
  • Star Trek (2009): The Red Matter had to be held in a floor to ceiling plastic (glass?) containment unit and pulled out by a syringe one drop at a time.


  • Labyrinths of Echo has a few, such as casting rooms that contain side-effects of strong magic, and sometimes even extremely destructive spells. The cake goes to Shurf Lonli-Lokli, for wearing Gloves of Death - a rare artifact that instantly destroys anything it touches not wrapped in exceptionally strong magical defences, leaving no more than a pinch of fine ashes, and can shoot bolts of white flame with the same effect. While ability to throw around ludicrous overkill comes handy all too often, the Gloves require equally formidable safety measures. When they are not in use, to prevent accidental contact with everyone and everything not scheduled for utter destruction, the user wears another set of gloves on top - covered with very specific protective runes. And uses a glove box like this to store them when not on work. Later it turned out that he also got a protective rune on every fingernail, painted with unwashable ink and regularly refreshed - to avoid being affected himself, because the inside is just as deadly. A prequel added that he had to write one more rune on his palate, with just enough of toxic ink to "forever poison the blood" but not kill him. Also, this magical weapon becomes dangerous even before it's fully functional, so the inventor was found in his lab mysteriously deceased about halfway through the enchantment, the mage who picked up his notes and the half-done prototype soon "vanished", and only third artificer was cautious and good at magical defences enough to finish their work without getting himself killed.

Live Action TV

  • The purple goo in Warehouse 13 used by Pete and Myka to neutralize artifacts.
  • They used ordinary gloveboxes (see Real Life) in Stargate SG-1 when studying alien pathogens and the like. This failed when they were studying a virus-like nanotechnology, which started eating through the gloves.


  • Bionicle: as Energized Protodermis either transforms or destroys whatever it touches, there are special containers that able to hold it, such as a vial the Toa Metru sought in Maze of Shadows, another vial in Time Trap, and Zamor Spheres.
    • Exsidian from Bara Magna is used as an ingredient in making Energized Protodermis resistant materials.

Video Games

  • In The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, there is the Wraithguard gauntlet that is needed to handle Keening and Sunder (magical knife and hammer, deadly when handled with bare hands) safely.
  • Half Life 2's gravity gun was originally used for handling dangerous stuff required for Dr. Vance's research.
    • As was the HEV suit, for that matter. And the cart Gordon used to push the Green Rocks in Unforseen Consequences.

Web Original

  • Inverted in The Mercury Men: The Mercury Engineers wear special suits not because the Gravity Engine is dangerous to handle, but because they are made of light and can't handle it without wearing the suit.

Western Animation

Real Life

  • Remote Manipulators (AKA "waldoes") are often used for this purpose.
  • Gloveboxes
  • Antimatter must be kept in a magnetic trap. For now this is just because the antimatter will be lost if it touches anything else but one day a mass large enough to be dangerous might be contained the same way.