ABC of Safety in the Biological Sciences




Oil of vitriol, disulphuric acid, pyosulphuric acid.
Use a fume hood.
Avoid skin and eye contact.
Avoid inhalation of the fumes.
Avoid ingestion.
Keep away from heat.
Keep away from acids, alkalis and oxidising agents.
Keep away from metals and metal surfaces.
Never add water to acid.
Wash hands thoroughly after handling.
Colourless, odourless, oily liquid. Hygroscopic.
Highly corrosive liquid and corrosive vapour. Will cause severe burns to skin, eyes, respiratory tract and gastrointestinal tract. The vapour is a corrosive and severe irritant. Never add water to acid, always add acid to water. Heat is generated by the reaction which can be violent.
Skin ­ immediately remove contaminated clothing and 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). Burns will require medical attention. Wash contaminated clothing before re­use.
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 or pain persist seek medical attention. Burns will require 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. Seek immediate medical attention.
Ingestion ­ wash out the mouth thoroughly with water and give water to drink. Do not induce vomiting. Seek immediate medical attention.
Sulphuric acid is incompatible with oxidising agents, acids, alkalis, organic material and small amounts of water. Potentially explosive hydrogen gas may be released if contact with most metals occurs. Heating produces toxic fumes of sulphur and potentially explosive hydrogen.
Store in a cool, dry atmosphere away from heat and incompatible substances.
Use a fume hood to minimise exposure to this substance. Wear protective clothing. A long sleeved laboratory coat or gown, rubber gloves, safety goggles and a face mask as a minimum standard.
Rubber gloves, laboratory coat and self contained breathing apparatus. have a body shield available.
Cover the contaminated surface with sodium bicarbonate or soda ash-slaked lime mixture (50/50). Mix, and add water if necessary to form a slurry. scoop up the slurry and discharge to the sewer with a large excess of water.. wash the spill site with a soda ash solution.
Add slowly to a large volume of an agitated solution of soda ash and slaked lime until the solution is neutral. Discharge to the sewer with a large excess of water.


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