ABC of Safety in the Biological Sciences




Wood tar fraction, wood tar.
Colourless to pale yellow liquid with a smoky odour.
Heating produces toxic fumes. Creosote can react with oxidising materials.
A strong eye and respiratory tract irritant and has an analgesic affect upon skin. It is moderately toxic when ingested and can cause irreversible changes including damage to kidneys and liver.
Avoid skin contact.
Avoid eye contact.
Avoid inhalation of the vapour.
Avoid ingestion.
Protect from light.
Keep the lid tightly sealed.
Keep away from heat or naked flames.
Keep away from oxidising materials.
Wash hands thoroughly after handling.
Use a well ventilated area or use a fume hood to avoid inhaling the vapour. Wear protective clothing to avoid skin contact. 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 large amounts of water until all evidence of the chemical has been removed (approximately 15 minutes). Swab the affected area with glycerol for at least 10 minutes. If irritation or numbness persist seek medical attention.
Eyes ­ 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 attention.
Inhalation ­ remove from the area of exposure to fresh air. If breathing has ceased apply artificial respiration. Keep warm and allow to rest. In severe cases seek immediate medical attention.
Ingestion ­ wash the mouth with water then induce vomiting by touching a finger to the back of the throat. Never induce vomiting in a victim that is not conscious. Seek immediate medical attention.
Store in an air tight container in a cool, dry atmosphere away from heat and protected from the light.
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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