ABC of Safety in the Biological Sciences




None known.
White or almost white crystals with a floral odour. The crystals darken on exposure to light.
Heating produces toxic fumes of nitrogen and carbon. Dimethylamine is incompatible with hexachloromethylamine, trichloromethylamine and strong oxidising agents ­ reacts violently.
A potential carcinogen and a teratogen and should never be handled by staff who are pregnant as it has the potential to cause foetal damage. It is a skin, eye and respiratory tract irritant. It is moderately toxic. The most detrimental route of exposure is through ingestion. Acute exposure to the skin and eyes can cause redness and pain. Inhalation can cause coughing and shortness of breath. Ingestion causes anorexia, diarrhoea and hypothermia.
Teratogen ­ do not allow staff who are pregnant to handle this chemical.
Use a fume hood.
Handle with extreme care ­ carcinogen.
Avoid skin and eye contact.
Avoid inhalation.
Avoid ingestion.
Keep away from heat.
Keep the lid tightly closed.
Wash hands thoroughly after handling.
Use a fume hood to avoid inhalation. 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 ­ immediately wash the affected area with large amounts of water until all evidence of the chemical has been removed (approximately 15 minutes). If irritation or pain 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). If irritation or pain persist 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. Seek medical advice.
Ingestion ­ wash the mouth with water and give two to four glasses of water or milk to drink. Do not induce vomiting but seek immediate medical attention.
Keep tightly closed in a cool, dry atmosphere. Keep away from heat, strong oxidising agents and incompatible chemicals.
Butyl rubber gloves, laboratory coat and self contained breathing apparatus.
On skin and clothing: wash skin with strong soap solution immediately. Rinse thoroughly. Contaminated clothing should be removed, dried and washed with strong soap solution or destroyed. It may be necessary to destroy shoes by burning.
Small spills: absorb liquid on paper towels. Brush solids on to paper. Place in an iron pan and allow evaporation in a fume hood. Add crumpled paper and burn. Wash spill site with a strong soap solution.
Large spills: cover with sand and soda ash mixture (90/10). Mix and shovel into a cardboard box. Pack with a large excess of crumpled paper. Burn in an open pit or incinerator equipped with an afterburner and scrubber.
1 Pour or sift on to a thick layer of sand and soda ash mixture (90/10). Mix, and shovel into a heavy paper box with much paper packaging. Burn in an incinerator. The fire may be augmented with scrap wood. Stay on the upwind side.
2 Dissolve in a flammable solvent and spray into the firebox of an incinerator equipped with an afterburner and scrubber.


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