ABC of Safety in the Biological Sciences




To reduce the risk of fire, explosion or fumes, reducing agents, which are readily oxidisable, should not be kept close to strong oxidising agents.9

If reducing agents are spilled wear protective clothing, comprising a long sleeved laboratory coat or gown, rubber gloves, safety goggles and a face mask as a minimum standard. For substances that produce toxic fumes or dust a respirator or self-contained breathing apparatus will be required. Cover a spilt solid with soda ash or sodium bicarbonate, mix and spray with water. If the reaction is effervescent wait until this subsides. Scoop into a large beaker and cautiously add an equal volume of calcium hypochlorite (the reaction may be vigorous). Add more water and stir, then allow to stand for one hour. Dilute and neutralise the oxidised solution and discharge into the sewerage system with a large volume of water if local regulations allow. If the reducing substance is a gas, eliminate all sources of ignition and bubble the gas through a calcium hypochlorite solution. Be sure to include a trap in the line to prevent the solution being drawn back into the cylinder.


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