ABC of Safety in the Biological Sciences




DPX contains a neutral plastic resin dissolved in xylene and containing di­n­butyl phthalate as a plasticiser. (Also see Xylene and di­n­Butyl phthalate for associated hazards).


Flammable, viscous, colourless liquid with a xylene odour.


Heating may produce toxic oxides of carbon. See also Xylene and di­n­Butyl phthalate.


A moderately flammable substance which is a mild eye and mucous membrane irritant, a primary skin irritant and a central nervous system depressant.

Death has been caused from excessive exposure to xylene vapour. High vapour concentrations may cause severe eye irritation. Xylene will irritate and defat the skin possibly causing dermatitis. Inhalation of the vapour may cause dizziness, incoordination, loss of balance, irritation of the respiratory tract and possible unconsciousness.


Use a fume hood.

Avoid skin and eye contact.

Avoid inhalation of the vapour.

Keep away from heat or naked flames.


Use a fume hood or well ventilated area that will keep the level of exposure below the recommended threshold limits, i.e. 100 ppm OSHA. For levels of exposure up to 1,000 ppm a respirator is recommended. If levels of exposure exceed 1,000 ppm a self­contained breathing apparatus is

recommended. Wear protective clothing. A long sleeved laboratory coat or gown, rubber gloves, safety goggles and a face mask as a minimum standard.


Skin ­ this substance is very sticky and may require cleansing with the solvent xylene for complete removal. Then wash the affected area with soap or mild detergent and large amounts of water until all evidence of the chemical and solvent have been removed (approximately 15 minutes). If irritation persists or dermatitis develops 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). If irritation persists 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. Seek medical attention.

Ingestion ­ wash out the mouth with water and give water. Do not induce vomiting but seek immediate medical attention.


Store in a cool, dry atmosphere away from heat or naked flames and incompatible substances. Store in a well ventilated area.


WEAR: 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 leak; 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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