ABC of Safety in the Biological Sciences




Face masks are used to protect the wearer against inhalation of fumes, vapours, gases and dust particles (see also Respirators). In most laboratory situations it is not necessary to wear a respirator but it frequently makes sense to wear a lightweight, absorbent mask made from charcoal cloth or similar absorbent material.79 These are effective against dust and a wide range of fumes, gases and vapours and are inexpensive.

Use a mask when:
  • weighing any potential carcinogen, known carcinogen, teratogen, mutagen, toxic chemical or dye
  • handling fresh body tissues
  • handling any unfixed specimen
  • handling blood or other body fluid.
  • handling solvents and acids or other fuming chemical
  • handling radioactive isotopes
  • sawing or grinding materials in pathology museum workshops or autopsy rooms

Where a splash or dust hazard exists use a full face shield.


BACK to the top of the Glossary Contents List
BACK to the top of the Chemical Contents List