ABC of Safety in the Biological Sciences



ACETIC ANHYDRIDE [(CH3CO)2O] UN No. 1715; Hazchem 2P

Acetic acid anhydride, acetic oxide, acetyl anhydride, acetyl ether, acetyl oxide, anhydride acetique, ethanoic anhydrate, ethanoic anhydride.
Clear, colourless liquid with a very strong vinegar like, pungent odour.
With boiling water, strong oxidants, alcohols, chromic acid, amines, strong caustics, strong mineral acids and organic acids and many other compounds.
The vapour can cause eye irritation and lachrymation. A liquid splash to the eye can cause severe corneal damage. the damage to the cornea can be permanent in severe cases. Vapour can cause severe burns to the skin. The liquid is highly corrosive and quickly causes tissue destruction. Inhalation of the vapour causes wheezing and coughing. Prolonged exposure will cause corrosive damage to the respiratory tract and possibly lung oedema, which can be fatal. Ingestion will cause severe corrosive damage to the mouth and throat bringing immediate pain. Ulceration may develop. Gastric pain is followed by nausea, vomiting, and haemorrhaging. Circulatory collapse can occur resulting in death.
Always use a fume hood.
Avoid skin and eye contact.
Avoid inhalation or ingestion.
Keep away from heat or naked flames.
Keep away from oxidising materials.
Keep away from water.
Keep away from combustible substances.
Keep the container tightly sealed.
Keep away from alcohols and many other compounds.
Wash hands thoroughly after handling.
Use a fume hood to minimise exposure to this substance. Wear protective clothing to avoid skin or eye contact, inhalation or ingestion. A long sleeved laboratory coat or gown, rubber gloves, safety goggles and a face mask as a minimum standard.
Skin ­ Remove contaminated clothing and immediately 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 attention. Wash contaminated clothing before re-use.
Eyes ­ 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 from the vapour or if a liquid splash occurs seek immediate medical attention.
Inhalation ­ remove from the area of exposure to fresh air. Keep warm and allow to rest. If breathing stops apply artificial respiration. Seek immediate medical attention.
Ingestion ­ wash out the mouth thoroughly with water and give water to drink. Do not induce vomiting. Never give anything by mouth to an unconscious person. Seek immediate medical attention.
Store in a cool, dry atmosphere away from sunlight, heat or ignition sources. keep away from incompatible substances. Do not store in an area equipped with water sprinklers.
Do not touch spilled material. Wear rubber gloves, face shield and laboratory coat. A body shield and self contained breathing apparatus should be available.
Spills: Eliminate all sources of ignition. Soak up the spilled material with an inert spill compound. Place the absorbent compound into a covered, labelled container for disposal by a hazardous chemical disposal company. Do not dispose of to sewer.
Package lots: Either - Can be injected at the base of an incinerator after mixing with a flammable solvent. The incinerator should be equipped with an afterburner and scrubber.
This substance is an environmental pollutant and should be contained.


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