ABC of Safety in the Biological Sciences




Ethylene dichloride, dutch oil, dutch liquid, glycol dichloride.
Flammable, clear, colourless liquid with a chloroform­like odour.
Heating produces the toxic gas phosgene. Dichlorethane is incompatible with nitrogen dioxide, aluminium and potassium and can react vigorously with oxidising materials.
Potential carcinogen. Highly toxic through all routes in low concentrations. Permanent damage to eyes may result from a splash. Dermatitis may follow skin contact and inhalation or ingestion may cause dizziness, nausea and abdominal pain and there may be permanent liver damage. Unconsciousness may follow and respiration may cease.
Use a fume hood.
Very toxic through all routes of exposure.
Avoid skin and eye contact.
Avoid inhalation.
Avoid ingestion.
Keep away from heat.
Keep away from water and light.
Keep away from oxidising materials.
Wash hands thoroughly after handling.
This is a very toxic substance. Use a fume hood that will keep the level of exposure below the recommended threshold limit, i.e. 50 ppm. If exposure is expected to exceed this level than a respirator is recommended. Wear protective clothing. A long sleeved laboratory coat or gown, nitrile rubber gloves, safety goggles and a face mask 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 persists or dermatitis develops seek 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 persists 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 respiratory distress persists seek medical attention.
Ingestion ­ wash out the mouth thoroughly with water and seek immediate medical advice.
Keep away from heat, moisture and light. Store in a cool, dry atmosphere in the dark.
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.
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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