ABC of Safety in the Biological Sciences




Clear, combustible liquid with a faint amine odour.
Dimethylformamide is incompatible with oxidising materials, halogenated hydrocarbons and inorganic nitrates. Polymerisation can occur and the chemical should be discarded before one year has elapsed after purchase.
An embryotoxic, do not allow staff who are pregnant to handle this chemical. It is a potential carcinogen and a skin, eye and respiratory tract irritant and can be absorbed through the skin. Dimethylformamide is a combustible liquid and should not be stored or handled close to heat or a naked flame. Acute exposure to the eyes and skin causes redness and pain. Dimethylformamide is absorbed through the skin and can cause foetal death, liver damage, nausea and abdominal pain. Inhalation or ingestion can cause similar symptoms to skin absorption. Avoid skin contact and inhalation.
Do not allow staff who are pregnant to handle this chemical it is an embryotoxin.
Handle with extreme care, potential carcinogen.
Use a fume hood.
Avoid skin and eye contact.
Avoid inhalation.
Keep away from heat or naked flames.
Wash hands thoroughly after handling.
Use a fume hood to avoid any contact with or inhalation of this chemical. Wear protective clothing. A long sleeved laboratory coat or gown, rubber gloves, safety goggles and a face mask as a minimum standard.
Skin ­ remove contaminated clothing and shoes. Immediately wash the affected area with large amounts of water until all evidence of the chemical has been removed (approximately 15 minutes). Seek medical advice. 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).
Inhalation ­ remove from the area of exposure to fresh air. If breathing has stopped apply artificial respiration. Keep warm and allow to rest. Seek immediate medical advice.
Ingestion ­ wash the mouth with water then if the patient is conscious give two to four glasses of water or milk to drink. Induce vomiting by touching a finger to the back of the throat. Seek immediate medical advice.
Keep the container tightly closed. Store in a cool, dry atmosphere away from heat or naked flames. Store away from incompatible substances.
Rubber gloves, safety glasses and a laboratory coat.
Scoop into a plastic bag or onto a paper towel. remove to the outside, add alcohol and burn in a safe place.
1 Add to a flammable solvent, pour into an iron pan in an open pit and ignite from a safe distance.
2 Add flammable solvent and spray into an incinerator equipped with an afterburner and scrubber.


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