ABC of Safety in the Biological Sciences - Osmium Tetroxide

 

ABC of Safety in the Biological Sciences

 


 

OSMIUM TETROXIDE (OsO4)

SYNONYMS
Osmic acid, osmic acid anhydride, perosmic acid.
GENERAL PRECAUTIONS
Use a fume hood.
Avoid eye contact with the vapour or the liquid.
Avoid inhalation of the vapour.
Avoid skin contact.
Wash hands thoroughly after handling.
CHARACTERISTICS
Yellow crystals, unpleasant odour.
HEALTH HAZARD DATA
Very toxic substance that is also an irritant which can cause permanent eye damage and loss of the sense of smell. The vapour has similar properties to the liquid. Some of the symptoms include conjunctivitis, staggering, headache, anosmia, rhinitis, bronchitis, pneumonitis, asthma, insomnia, gastrointestinal disorders, dermatitis and skin ulceration.
TREATMENTS
Skin ­ immediately remove contaminated clothing and wash the affected area with soap or mild detergent and large amounts of water until all evidence of the chemical has been removed (approximately 15 minutes). Seek immediate medical advice. Contaminated clothing must be washed before re­use.
Eyes ­ if there is contact with the vapour or the liquid then immediately wash the affected eye with large amounts of water until all evidence of the chemical has been removed (approximately 15 minutes). Seek immediate medical advice.
Inhalation ­ immediately remove from the area of exposure to fresh air. Seek immediate medical attention.
Ingestion ­ wash the mouth with water and give water to drink then seek immediate medical attention.
INCOMPATIBILITY
Unknown.
STORAGE
Store in a tightly sealed container, which itself should be in a tightly sealed container, in the refrigerator. Osmium tetroxide can be purchased in pre­weighed, glass ampoules which can be broken under solvent for added safety.
HANDLING
Use a fume hood that will keep the level of exposure to below the recommended threshold limit, ie. 0.1 mgm/m3 (NH & MRC, Australia). If exposure is expected to exceed this threshold then a respirator is recommended. Wear protective clothing. A long sleeved laboratory coat or gown, rubber gloves, safety goggles and a face mask as a minimum standard.
DISPOSAL
The elements and their compounds should be dealt with separately. Special instructions should be sought from the supplier.
ENVIRONMENT:

 


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