ABC of Safety in the Biological Sciences




Ethylene dibromide.
Colourless liquid with a sweet odour.
Heating produces the highly toxic fumes of bromine. Light produces instability.
This is a highly toxic substance that is also a potential carcinogen. It can be absorbed through skin in doses large enough to produce toxicity. It is an eye irritant. Some of the effects caused by this compound are nausea, vomiting and jaundice resulting from liver and kidney damage.
Potential carcinogen.
Avoid all contact.
Keep away from heat.
Keep away from light.
Wash hands thoroughly after handling.
Use a fume hood. There should be no contact with this substance nor any exposure by any route into the body. Wear protective clothing. A long sleeved laboratory coat or gown, rubber gloves, safety goggles and a full face shield 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). If irritation or pain persist or contact was prolonged seek medical attention. If signs of toxicity develop seek immediate medical attention. 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 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. If signs of toxicity develop seek medical attention.
Ingestion ­ wash out the mouth thoroughly with water and seek immediate medical advice.
Store in the dark in a cool, dry atmosphere away from heat.
Rubber gloves, self contained breathing apparatus and laboratory coat.
Eliminate all sources of ignition. Absorb on paper towels or with vermiculite. Place on an iron, glass or plastic dish in a fume hood. Allow to evaporate. burn the paper or vermiculite. Wash the site with a soapy solution.
Either -
1 Pour on to vermiculite, sodium bicarbonate or sand-soda ash mixture (90/10). If a fluoride is present, add slaked lime to the mixture. Mix and shovel into paper boxes. place in an open incinerator, cover with scrap wood and paper then ignite with a torch or fuse. Stay on the upwind side.
2 Dissolve in a flammable solvent. Spray into a fire box of an incinerator equipped with an afterburner and scrubber.


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