ABC of Safety in the Biological Sciences
MAGNESIUM SULPHATE (MgSO4.3H2O)
Magnesium sulphate heptahydrate.
Avoid skin and eye contact.
Avoid inhalation of the dust.
Keep away from heat.
Keep the container tightly closed.
Wash hands well after handling.
Odourless, white efflorescent crystals or powder.
HEALTH HAZARD DATA
Moderately toxic and a skin, eye and respiratory tract irritant. Avoid inhalation of the dust. The most detrimental route of exposure is by the respiratory system.
Skin immediately wash the affected area with large amounts of water until all evidence of the chemical has been removed (approximately 15 minutes). If irritation persists seek medical attention.
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 immediate medical attention.
Inhalation remove from the area of exposure to fresh air. Allow to rest. If irritation persists or pain develops seek medical attention.
Ingestion rinse the mouth with water and give large amounts of water or milk to drink. Seek immediate medical attention.
Heating produces toxic fumes of sulphur.
Store in a tightly closed container in a cool, dry atmosphere away from heat or flame.
Wear protective clothing. A long sleeved laboratory coat or gown, rubber gloves, safety goggles and a face mask as a minimum standard.
Rubber gloves, face shield and laboratory coat. A body shield should be available for the more active agents. Replace the face shield with self contained breathing apparatus for such agents as chlorine and bromine.
Gas leak: if the valve is leaking because it cannot be closed, the gas can be bubbled through a reducer (sodium sulphite) and excess sodium bicarbonate solution. Be sure to include a trap in the line to prevent the solution being sucked back into the cylinder. If this cannot be done the cylinder should be placed in or adjacent to a fume hood and left to bleed off. If the leak is in the valve assembly, a plastic bag can be fastened over the head of the cylinder which can then be taken outside or to a fume hood.
Liquid or solid: cover with a reducer (sodium thiosulphate, a bisulphite or a ferrous salt not carbon, sulphur or strong reducing agent). Mix well and spray with water. A sulphite or a ferrous salt will require addition of 3mol/l sulphuric acid to promote a rapid reduction. Scoop the slurry into a container of water and neutralise with soda ash. Discharge to sewer with a large excess of water. Wash the site thoroughly with a soap solution containing some reducer.
Add to a large volume of concentrated solution of reducer (sodium thiosulphate, a bisulphite or a ferrous salt and acidify with 3mol/l sulphuric acid). When the reduction is completed add soda ash or dilute hydrochloric acid to neutralise the solution. Discharge to sewer with a large excess of water.