ABC of Safety in the Biological Sciences - Potassium Permanganate

 

ABC of Safety in the Biological Sciences

 


 

POTASSIUM PERMANGANATE (KMnO4)

SYNONYMS
Cony's crystals.
GENERAL PRECAUTIONS
Avoid skin and eye contact.
Avoid inhalation or ingestion.
Keep away from heat.
Keep away from oxidising materials.
Keep away from acids.
Wash hands thoroughly after handling.
CHARACTERISTICS
Dark purple crystals with a metallic lustre.
HEALTH HAZARD DATA
Potassium permanganate is a strong oxidising agent and is toxic when inhaled or ingested. Inhalation or ingestion may cause damage to the central nervous system. 10 gm is sufficient to cause death. It is a corrosive substance and will cause burns to the skin and eyes. Eye damage may be permanent. Small quantities will cause irritation to skin, eyes and the respiratory system.
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). Burns will require 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 or pain persist or vision remains blurred after irrigation, seek immediate medical attention.
Inhalation ­ remove from the area of exposure to fresh air. If breathing has ceased apply artificial respiration. Keep warm and allow to rest. If irritation persists or central nervous system disturbances are noted seek immediate medical attention.
Ingestion ­ wash out the mouth thoroughly with water and give water to drink. Do not induce vomiting but seek immediate medical attention.
INCOMPATIBILITY
Potassium permanganate is incompatible with acids, combustible material, powdered metals, glycerol, ethylene glycol, hydrogen peroxide and ammonium compounds. Heat and moisture produce instability. Heading produces toxic fumes.
STORAGE
Store in a cool, dry atmosphere away from heat and incompatible substances.
HANDLING
Use a fume hood to minimise exposure to this substance. Wear protective clothing. A long sleeved laboratory coat or gown, rubber gloves, safety goggles and a face mask as a minimum standard.
DISPOSAL
WEAR:
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.
SPILLS:
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.
PACKAGE LOTS:
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.
ENVIRONMENT:

 


BACK to the top of the Glossary Contents List
BACK to the top of the Chemical Contents List

REFERENCES