ABC of Safety in the Biological Sciences




Ethylene glycol monobutyl ether, butyl icinol, butyl cellosolve, butyl oxitol.
Colourless liquid with slightly rancid odour.
Flammable liquid, keep away from heat or naked flames. Heating produces toxic fumes including carbon monoxide.
This is a flammable liquid and should never be handled close to heat or a naked flame. The vapour is heavier than air and can travel along the ground for a considerable distance to a source of ignition and flash back. Butoxyethanol is toxic by ingestion and skin absorption and is an eye and respiratory tract irritant. It can be absorbed through the skin in sufficient amounts to cause toxicity. It is a central nervous system depressant. The vapour is also toxic and an irritant. A splash to the eye can produce transient conjunctivitis and corneal damage. Inhalation of the vapour and ingestion of the liquid can cause damage to lungs, liver, kidneys and blood. The no effect threshold limit value (TLV) is 25 ppm.
Avoid skin and eye contact.
Avoid inhalation or ingestion of the powder.
Keep away from heat or naked flames.
Wash hands thoroughly after 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.
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). If signs of toxicity develop seek medical advice. 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 seek 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 develops seek medical attention.
Ingestion ­ wash out the mouth thoroughly with water and give water or milk to drink. Induce vomiting by touching a finger to the back of the throat. Seek immediate medical attention.
Store in a cool, dry atmosphere away from heat.
Rubber gloves, face shield and laboratory coat. Have an all purpose canister respirator available.
A gas leak - keep the concentration of the gas below the explosive mixture range by forced ventilation. Remove the tank to an open area and allow dissipation to the atmosphere. Attempt to cap the valve outlet and return the tank to the supplier.
A liquid - absorb on paper. Evaporate in an iron pan in a flame proof fume hood then burn the paper.
A solid - sweep on to paper and place in an iron pan in a fume hood. Burn the paper and compound.
A gas - pipe the gas into an incinerator or lower into a pit and allow to burn.
A liquid - atomise into an incinerator. Combustion may be improved by mixing with a more flammable solvent.
A solid - make up packages in paper or other flammable material. Burn in the incinerator. Or the solid may be dissolved in a flammable solvent and sprayed into a fire chamber.


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