ABC of Safety in the Biological Sciences



CARMINE (Colour Index No. 75470) (Natural substance)

Cochineal, carminic acid, natural red 4.
Bright red powder.
Heating produces toxic fumes of carbon compounds.
This dye is an eye and respiratory tract irritant. It is of relatively low toxicity but occasionally has been found to harbour Salmonella cubana and cases of salmonellosis have been reported after exposure to carmine. If ingested in large doses carmine may pass into the milk of lactating mothers. The affect on the infant has not been documented. Also turns the urine greenish to bluish. Whilst carmine is not a flammable powder it does support combustion.
Avoid eye contact.
Avoid inhalation or ingestion of the powder.
Keep away from heat or naked flames.
Wash hands thoroughly after handling.
Wear protective clothing to avoid contact with this dye. A long sleeved laboratory coat or gown, rubber gloves, safety goggles and a face mask as a minimum standard.
Skin ­ wash the affected area with soap or mild detergent and large amounts of water until all evidence of the dye has been removed (approximately 15 minutes). If any discomfort develops seek medical advice.
Eyes ­ immediately wash the affected eye with large amounts of water until all evidence of the dye has been removed (approximately 15 minutes). If irritation persists seek immediate medical attention.
Inhalation ­ remove from the area of exposure to fresh air. Keep warm and allow to rest. If irritation persists seek medical attention.
Ingestion ­ wash out the mouth thoroughly with water and give water to drink. Seek medical advice.
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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