ABC of Safety in the Biological Sciences



METHYL BLUE (Colour Index No. 42780) (C37H27N3O9S3Na2)

Cotton blue, helvetia blue, ink blue, sky blue, soluble blue, poirrier blue C4B.
Avoid eye contact.
Combustible ­ keep away from heat or naked flames.
Avoid inhalation or ingestion of the powder.
Keep away from oxidising materials.
Wash hands thoroughly after handling.
Dark blue powder. Triaminotriphenylmethane dye.
Little is known about the toxicity or general hazards associated with this dye. However, other dyes in the triaminotriphenylmethane group are known to be potential carcinogens, eg. basic fuchsin. A sensible approach to handling the dye would be to treat it in a similar fashion to basic fuchsin. Methyl blue is an irritant to eyes, the respiratory tract and the gastrointestinal tract. The powder is combustible and should never be handled close to heat or a naked flame.
Skin ­ wash the affected area with soap or mild detergent and large amounts of water until all evidence of the dye has been removed (approximately 15 minutes).
Eyes ­ immediately wash the affected eye with large amounts of water until all evidence of the dye has been removed (approximately 15 minutes). If irritation persists seek medical attention.
Inhalation ­ remove from the area of exposure to fresh air. If irritation persists seek immediate medical attention.
Ingestion ­ wash out the mouth thoroughly with water. If discomfort persists seek medical advice.
Combustible powder. Keep away from heat or naked flames. Can react with oxidising materials. Heating produces toxic fumes of nitrogen and sulphur compounds.
Store in a cool, dry atmosphere away from heat or naked flames.
Use a fume hood to keep the level of exposure to a minimum. Wear protective clothing. A long sleeved laboratory coat or gown, rubber gloves, safety goggles and a face mask as a minimum standard.
Heavy leather gloves and safety glasses.
Materials should be properly packed for safe handling and placed in a prescribed site for daily collection. Burning can be done in an open or closed incinerator equipped with an afterburner.


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