ABC of Safety in the Biological Sciences




Hydroquinone, 1,4­dihydroxybenzene.
Avoid skin and eye contact.
Avoid inhalation or ingestion of the powder.
Keep away from heat.
Keep away from oxidising materials.
Keep the lid tightly closed.
Wash hands thoroughly after handling.
Colourless to cream crystals or powder, no odour.
Hydroquinone is a toxic substance which may cause dizziness, nausea, vomiting, headache, cyanosis, delirium and ultimately collapse. It is a skin and eye irritant and skin contact may cause dermatitis.
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 persists or dermatitis develops 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 persists seek immediate 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. If signs of toxicity develop seek medical attention.
Ingestion ­ wash the mouth thoroughly with water and give plenty of water or milk to drink. Seek immediate medical attention.
Heating produces toxic fumes of carbon.
Quinol is incompatible with oxidising materials.
Slowly oxidises in air, becoming brown in colour.
Slowly oxidises in water to give a brown solution.
Store in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dry atmosphere away from heat.
Use a fume hood to keep the level of exposure below the recommended threshold limit, ie. 2 mg/m3. Wear protective clothing. 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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