ABC of Safety in the Biological Sciences



METHYLENE BLUE (Colour Index No. 52015) (C16H18N3SCl)

Methylene blue chloride, methylthionine chloride, tetramethylthionine chloride, phenazathionium chloride, chromosmon, basic blue 9, methylene blue polychrome, methylthionine.
Animal mutagen ­ must not be handled by pregnant staff.
Avoid skin and eye contact.
Avoid inhalation or ingestion.
Keep away from heat or naked flames.
Keep away from alkalis, dichromates, iodides or reducing agents.
Wash hands thoroughly after handling.
Dark green, combustible crystals or powder with a bronze lustre.
Quinine­imine (thiazine) group of dyes.
Methylene blue is a known animal mutagen and should not be handled by staff who are pregnant. It is an eye irritant and may irritate skin. It is moderately to highly toxic by oral and intravenous routes. In small amounts it is used as an antidote for methaemoglobinaemia. Eye contact can cause staining of the eye, stinging and lacrimation. Inhalation may cause Heinz bodies haemolytic anaemia, methaemoglobinaemia and cyanosis. Ingestion may cause dryness of mouth, flushed skin, rapid pulse, blurred vision, dizziness, haemolytic anaemia, cyanosis and mehaemaglobinaemia. The powder is combustible and should never be handled close to heat or a naked flame.
Skin ­ remove contaminated clothing and shoes then 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). Wash contaminated clothing before re­use. If discomfort persists seek medical advice.
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 immediate medical attention.
Inhalation ­ remove from the area of exposure to fresh air. If breathing has ceased apply artificial respiration. Give oxygen if necessary. Keep warm and allow to rest. Seek immediate medical attention.
Ingestion ­ rinse the mouth thoroughly with water and give water to drink. Do not induce vomiting. Seek immediate medical attention.
The powder is combustible and should never be handled close to heat or a naked flame. Can react with oxidising material. Is incompatible with alkalis, dichromates, alkali iodides and reducing agents. Heating produces toxic compounds of nitrogen, sulphur and chlorine.
Store in a cool, dry atmosphere away from heat and incompatible substances.
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.
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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