ABC of Safety in the Biological Sciences - Lithium Carbonate

 

ABC of Safety in the Biological Sciences

 


 

LITHIUM CARBONATE (Li2CO3)

SYNONYMS
None known.
GENERAL PRECAUTIONS
Avoid contact with eyes.
Avoid prolonged skin contact.
Possible mutagen - should not be handled by pregnant staff.
Carcinogen, handle with care.
CHARACTERISTICS
White odourless granules, stable, non­flammable compound.
HEALTH HAZARD DATA
Possible mutagen so should not be handled by pregnant staff particularly in the first trimester of pregnancy. There are reports of lithium carbonate having carcinogenic properties it should therefore be handled with extreme care. Irritation will result from eye contact or prolonged skin contact. Harmful if ingested or inhaled. (Is used in the treatment of manic depressive conditions ­ usual dose approximately 1,000 mg per day. LD 50 equivalent to approximately 35,000 mg. Neither OSHA or ACGIH lists a threshold limit value, but FOOTE recommends that exposure not exceed 5 mg/m3, the ACGIH limit for nuisance dust. FOOTE also recommends that pregnant women in 1st trimester be excluded from processes where exposure is in excess of 5 mg/m3).
TREATMENT Skin ­ remove contaminated clothing and wash affected area with soap or mild detergent and large amounts of water until all evidence of the chemical has been removed (15 minutes). If sensitisation occurs seek medical attention. Wash contaminated clothing before re­use.
Eyes ­ immediately wash the affected eye with large amounts of water until all evidence of the chemical has been removed (approximately 15 minutes). If irritation persists seek medical advice.
Ingestion ­ if swallowed, induce vomiting by sticking finger down throat. Seek medical advice. Inhalation ­ remove to fresh air. If breathing has ceased apply artificial respiration. Seek medical attention.
INCOMPATIBILITY
Incompatible with concentrated acids. STORAGE
No special precautions.
HANDLING
Under conditions in which lithium carbonate dust levels exceed 5 mg/m3 use NIOSH approved dust respirator. Goggles, gloves and long sleeved laboratory coat should be worn as a minimum standard.
DISPOSAL
WEAR:
Rubber gloves, safety glasses and laboratory coat.
SPILLS:
Solid: collect in a beaker, dissolve in a large amount of water. Add soda ash, mix and neutralise with 6M hydrochloric acid and discharge to sewer with large excess of water.
Solution: cover with soda ash, mix and scoop into a beaker of water. Neutralise with 6M hydrochloric acid and discharge to sewer with a large excess of water. If a spill contains a fluoride, add slaked lime in addition to the above treatment.
PACKAGE LOTS:
Add slowly to a large container of water. Stir in a slight excess of soda ash. If fluoride is present add slaked lime. Let stand for 24 hours. Decant or siphon into another container and neutralise with 6M hydrochloric acid. Discharge to sewer with a large excess of water. The sludge may be added to land fill.
ENVIRONMENT:

 


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