ABC of Safety in the Biological Sciences



(Also see Toluene)

Permount contains a pinene resin, toluene as a solvent and 2,6 di­tert­butyl­p­creso as a plasticiser. It is used as a mounting fluid for permanent microscopical slide preparations.

These precautions rela
te to the solvent, toluene, rather than to the pinene resin. Mutagen ­ do not allow staff who are pregnant to handle permount.
Use a fume hood.
Avoid skin and eye contact ­ causes dermatitis.
Avoid inhalation of the vapour ­ narcotic.
Keep away from heat, sparks or naked flames.
Do not store close to strong oxidants or metal alkalis.
Yellow, viscous liquid with a benzene­like odour. Highly flammable. The vapour is heavier than air and may travel a considerable distance along the ground to a source of ignition and flash back.
All of the components cause irritation to skin, eyes and mucous membranes. Pinene resin and toluene are central nervous system depressants. Toluene is a narcotic and in extreme cases has caused death. Pinene resin is toxic. Acute exposure to the eyes of the vapour may cause profuse lacrimation, a splash in the eye can cause irritation, burns and permanent corneal damage. Skin contact may cause irritation, scaling, cracking and dermatitis. Skin absorption can occur causing dizziness, rapid respiration, vomiting, flushing, headache, drowsiness, hypotension, rapid pulse and possible unconsciousness. Narcosis can occur at levels which do not cause irritation when the fumes are inhaled. 100ppm can produce hallucinations and changes in psychophysiology, 200 to 600ppm for prolonged periods causes fatigue, weakness, confusion, headache, nausea, anorexia, bad taste, lassitude, impaired coordination, parasthesias of the skin, hilarity, euphoria, dizziness and dilated pupils. Extreme exposure may produce death by paralysis of the respiratory system. Ingestion causes similar but more rapid symptoms to appear.
Skin ­ permount is a sticky substance and may require application of the solvent for complete removal. Toluene is very toxic so great care needs to be taken when using it for this purpose. The resin is also soluble in xylene, which might prove to be a safer substitute. Then 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 or dermatitis develops seek medical advice. Permount is very difficult to remove from clothing.
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. If breathing has ceased apply artificial respiration. Keep warm and at rest and seek immediate medical attention.
Ingestion ­ if the victim is conscious give two to four glasses of water and induce vomiting by touching a finger to the back of the throat. Seek immediate medical attention.
Permount is incompatible with:
Reducing agents ­ violent reaction.
Acetic acid ­ ignites when warm.
Carbon ­ may explode when heated.
Organic matter ­ explosive mixtures.
Phosphorus ­ may be exploded by percussion.
Potassium permanganate ­ ignition and possible explosion.
Potassium and ammonium sulphate ­ explosive mixture, may explode on contact.
Sulphur ­ may explode from shock.
Zinc powder plus ammonium chloride or barium nitrate ­ spontaneous ignition.
Alkali metals ­ forms explosive sodium hyponitrite.
Metallic powders ­ violent or explosive reaction.
Ammonium nitrate ­ explosive mixture.
Ammonium chloride ­ violent reaction.
Chlorides ­ violent reaction.
Also see Toluene for incompatibilities associated with its use.
Heating produces toxic oxides of carbon.
Store in a well ventilated, cool, dry atmosphere away from heat or naked flames. Store away from reducing agents and incompatible substances.
When coverslipping with permount use a fume hood that will keep the levels of exposure below the recommended threshold limits, ie. 100ppm NIOSH, 200ppm OSHA and TWA. Exposure above this level requires the use of a respirator. Exposure at levels above 1,000ppm requires a self­contained breathing apparatus. Wear protective clothing. A long sleeved laboratory coat or gown, rubber gloves made of PVA or Viton, 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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