Chemical Carcinogens: Some Guidelines for Handling and Disposal in the Laboratory

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Date containers upon receipt and again when opened. Attach chemical labels with all necessary information to all containers. When opening newly received reagent chemicals, immediately read the warning labels to be aware of any special storage precautions such as refrigeration or inert atmosphere storage.


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Test peroxide-forming substances periodically for peroxide levels; dispose of these substances after three months unless the MSDS for the substance indicates a longer shelf life. Check chemical containers periodically for rust, corrosion, and leakage. Store bottles of especially hazardous and moisture-absorbing chemicals in chemical-safe bags. Maintain a complete inventory in the room where the chemicals are stored, and make a copy available to fire fighters. Keep storage areas clean and orderly at all times. Have spill cleanup supplies absorbents, neutralizers in any room where chemicals are stored or used.

Flammable liquid is defined as any liquid that has a flash point below F Combustible liquid is defined as any liquid that has a flash point at or above F Guidelines Limit the amount of flammable and combustible materials stored to that required for one year of laboratory work. A safety can is an approved container of not more than 5 gallons The container should have a spring-closed spout cover and an integral flame-arrester and be designed to relieve internal pressure safely when exposed to fire.

Chemical Carcinogens - Environmental Health & Safety - University of Delaware

Store all gas cylinders in an upright position. Store gas cylinders in a cool dry place away from corrosive chemicals or fumes.

Store gas cylinders away from highly flammable substances. When cylinders are no longer in use, shut the valves, relieve the pressure in the gas regulators, removed the regulators, and cap the cylinders. Store empty gas cylinders separately from full gas cylinders. Store flammable or toxic gases at or above ground level - not in basements. Use cylinders of toxic, flammable, or reactive gases in fume hoods only. When moving cylinders, be sure the valve cap is securely in place to protect the valve stem and valve.

Do not use the valve cap as a lifting lug. If large gas cylinders are used, they should be chained.

Safe handling of carcinogens

A hand truck should be available for transporting them to and from the storage area. Labeling of Stored Reagent Chemicals Proper labeling is fundamental to a safe and effective laboratory operation.


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  7. Reagents created in the laboratory also require labeling. Purchased Reagent Chemicals All purchased reagent chemicals should be labeled with - chemical name. Solutions All reagents created in the laboratory should be labeled with - chemical name and formula. It is the best source of information about possible hazards, spill procedures, handling procedures and first aid for any substance.

    Teachers are responsible for instructing their students about safe methods for working with chemicals. Safety Guidelines for Dispensing Reagent Chemicals Use the smallest amount of the chemical possible in any experiment. Microscale experiments should be considered.

    Consider distributing the amount of chemical for an experiment into vials for each student. This minimizes waste and can save time during the class period. Use proper containers for dispensing solids and liquids. Solids should be contained in wide-mouthed bottles and liquids in containers that have drip-proof lips. Label all containers properly. Never return dispensed chemicals to stock bottle, as it inevitably results in contamination despite your best precautions.

    Dispensing Flammable Liquids When a liquid flows from one container to another, static electricity can build up in one of the containers. If this charge becomes large enough, a spark will be produced between the containers, and a flammable liquid may be ignited. This is particularly a danger when the liquid is stored in a large container and distributed to smaller containers. Such containers should be bonded and grounded : Bonding refers to providing an electrical connection between the two containers.

    Commonly this is accomplished by attaching a wire, fastening one end each to the two containers. Grounding refers to connecting one of the containers usually the stationary one to a grounding source such as a metallic water pipe. In this section, mercury is discussed separately as a special hazard. Corrosives Corrosives are materials that can injure body tissue or cause corrosion of metal by direct chemical action. Major classes of corrosive substances are: strong acids e. A flammable liquid itself does not catch fire; it is the vapors produced by the liquid that burn.

    Important properties of flammable liquids: Flash point is the minimum temperature of a liquid at which sufficient vapor is given off to form an ignitable mixture with air. Ignition temperature is the minimum temperature required to initiate self-sustained combustion independent of a heat source. Oxidizers: An oxidizing agent is any material that initiates or promotes combustion in other materials, either by causing fire itself or by releasing oxygen or other combustible gases.

    Reactives: Reactives include materials that are pyrophoric "flammable solids" , are water reactive, form explosive peroxides, or may undergo such reactions as violent polymerization. Toxins A toxic substance is one that, even in small amounts, can injure living tissue.

    This process can occur through eating with contaminated hands or in contaminated areas. Absorption - Absorption through the skin often causes dermatitis. Some toxins that are absorbed through the skin or eyes can damage the liver, kidney, or other organs. Inhalation - Absorption through the respiratory tract lungs through breathing. Understanding Chemical Hazards In order to work safely in a laboratory, you must understand the hazards that are in the workplace.

    This chapter will provide you the foundation to build upon. Glossary of Chemical Hazard Terms Annex Chapter 3. Chemical and Environmental Safety Laws Federal and state laws mandate safe use, storage and disposal of laboratory chemicals. This chapter will review some of these rules and their pertinent provisions. Chapter 4. Laboratory Safety Procedures Your laboratory can be a safer place if you follow safety procedures, use personal protective equipment, fume hoods and other engineering controls. Experimental Carcinogens and Mutagens.

    Chapter 5.

    Types of waste

    Emergency Procedures If you prepare for chemical emergencies, you will more safely respond to a laboratory injury, fire, spill or accident. Chapter 6. Pollution Prevention and Waste Minimization There are many ways that a laboratory can reduce its emissions to the atmosphere, prevent pollutants from entering the sewer and minimize its waste generation. Chapter 7. Chemical Disposal Procedures This chapter contains an alphabetical list of chemical disposal procedures. The back half of this part explains how to obtain on-site chemical waste disposal services from the Safety Department at no cost to you.

    Chapter 8. Laboratory Animals and Animal Tissue Disposal Considerations for assuring that use of hazardous materials in animal research is done safely and procedures for disposal of animal waste, bedding, carcasses and tissue. Caustic Tissue Digestion Bags.

    Safety Guidelines for Dispensing Reagent Chemicals Use the smallest amount of the chemical possible in any experiment. Microscale experiments should be considered. Consider distributing the amount of chemical for an experiment into vials for each student. This minimizes waste and can save time during the class period. Use proper containers for dispensing solids and liquids.

    Disposal Methods

    Solids should be contained in wide-mouthed bottles and liquids in containers that have drip-proof lips. Label all containers properly. Never return dispensed chemicals to stock bottle, as it inevitably results in contamination despite your best precautions. Dispensing Flammable Liquids When a liquid flows from one container to another, static electricity can build up in one of the containers.

    If this charge becomes large enough, a spark will be produced between the containers, and a flammable liquid may be ignited. This is particularly a danger when the liquid is stored in a large container and distributed to smaller containers. Such containers should be bonded and grounded : Bonding refers to providing an electrical connection between the two containers. Commonly this is accomplished by attaching a wire, fastening one end each to the two containers.

    Grounding refers to connecting one of the containers usually the stationary one to a grounding source such as a metallic water pipe. In this section, mercury is discussed separately as a special hazard. Corrosives Corrosives are materials that can injure body tissue or cause corrosion of metal by direct chemical action. Major classes of corrosive substances are: strong acids e.


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    5. A flammable liquid itself does not catch fire; it is the vapors produced by the liquid that burn. Important properties of flammable liquids: Flash point is the minimum temperature of a liquid at which sufficient vapor is given off to form an ignitable mixture with air. Ignition temperature is the minimum temperature required to initiate self-sustained combustion independent of a heat source. Oxidizers: An oxidizing agent is any material that initiates or promotes combustion in other materials, either by causing fire itself or by releasing oxygen or other combustible gases.

      Reactives: Reactives include materials that are pyrophoric "flammable solids" , are water reactive, form explosive peroxides, or may undergo such reactions as violent polymerization. Toxins A toxic substance is one that, even in small amounts, can injure living tissue.

      This process can occur through eating with contaminated hands or in contaminated areas. Absorption - Absorption through the skin often causes dermatitis. Some toxins that are absorbed through the skin or eyes can damage the liver, kidney, or other organs. Inhalation - Absorption through the respiratory tract lungs through breathing. This process is the most important route in terms of severity. Injection - Percutaneous injection of a toxic substance through the skin. This process can occur in the handling of sharp-edged pieces of broken glass apparatus and through misuse of sharp materials such as hypodermic needles.

      Many chemicals can cause toxic effects in the body. Below are some classes of toxic chemicals. Information about these chemicals is available on the MSDS for each chemical, in chemical catalogues, on container labels, and on several Internet sources. Because a wide variety of organic and inorganic chemicals are irritants, skin and eye contact with all chemicals in the laboratory should be avoided.

      Approval Signatures

      Corrosive substances are solids, liquids, and gases that cause destruction of living tissue by chemical action at the site of contact. Allergens are substances which cause an adverse reaction by the immune system. As these reactions result from previous sensitization from the substance or similar substance, chemical allergens will be different for each person.

      Asphyxiants are substances that interfere with the transport of an adequate supply of oxygen to the vital organs of the body. Carcinogens are cancer-causing substances listed in the Annual Report on Carcinogens. Many substances known or suspected to be carcinogenic are still found to be in high school laboratories. There is little reason for most of them to be there; they should be disposed of as quickly as possible. These effects can be permanent or reversible. Toxins affecting other organs can also be a hazard. Most of the chlorinated hydrocarbons and aromatic compounds, some metals, carbon monoxide, cyanides, and others can produce one or more effects on target organs in the body.

      Mercury Mercury and its compounds, both organic and inorganic, are health hazards. Metallic mercury has a measurable vapor pressure, and the production of vapor is accentuated by heating the mercury or subdividing as occurs in a spill. Laboratory sources of mercury include, among others, thermometers, manometers barometers , and batteries.

      Not only is the vapor harmful, but the metal itself is absorbable through the intact skin. Mercury and its compounds should never be found in the elementary or middle school. In high schools, mercury should be used only under special circumstances. The teacher has obtained prior approval from the science supervisor.

      All persons in the laboratory working with mercury or an instrument containing mercury wear chemical splash safety goggles, full face shields, aprons, and adequate clothing to prevent skin contact. Access to mercury or any instrument containing the element is restricted by keeping source and instrument under lock and key except when in use. Waste from spill cleanup should be disposed of appropriately. C, Chemical Waste Strategies. After floor spill has been thoroughly cleaned up in the appropriate manner, the area should be mopped dry to minimize the risk of slipping and falling. Shut down all experiments.

      Vacate the room until the situation has been corrected.



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