ABC of Safety in the Biological Sciences




n­octanol, n­octyl alcohol, Capryl alcohol.


SYNONYMS Capryl alcohol, sec­octanol, sec­octyl alcohol.
Avoid skin and eye contact.
Avoid inhalation.
Keep away from heat.
Keep away from oxidising materials.
Wash hands thoroughly after handling.
Colourless, oily liquids with a penetrating odour.
These substances are eye and respiratory tract irritants and they may irritate the skin in sensitive individuals. They are regarded as having a low toxicity. Both may be harmful if ingested in large amounts but permanent damage is unlikely.
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 seek medical advice.
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. In severe cases of exposure seek medical attention.
Ingestion ­ wash out the mouth thoroughly with water and give water to drink. If discomfort persists or if ingested in large amounts seek medical attention.
Heating produces toxic fumes of carbon. Octan­1­ol can react with oxidising materials.
Store in a cool, dry atmosphere away from heat and oxidising materials.
Wear protective clothing to avoid skin and eye contact or inhalation. A long sleeved laboratory coat or gown, rubber gloves, safety goggles and a face mask as a minimum standard.
Rubber gloves, face shield and laboratory coat. Have an all purpose canister respirator available.
A gas leak: keep the concentration of the gas below the explosive mixture range by forced ventilation. Remove the tank to an open area and allow dissipation to the atmosphere. Attempt to cap the valve outlet and return the tank to the supplier.
A liquid: absorb on paper. Evaporate in an iron pan in a flame proof fume hood then burn the paper.
A solid: sweep on to paper and place in an iron pan in a fume hood. Burn the paper and compound.
A gas leak: pipe the gas into an incinerator or lower into a pit and allow to burn.
A liquid: atomise into an incinerator. Combustion may be improved by mixing with a more flammable solvent.
A solid: make up packages in paper or other flammable material. Burn in the incinerator. Or the solid may be dissolved in a flammable solvent and sprayed into a fire chamber.


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