ABC of Safety in the Biological Sciences




Acute Effect
Chronic Effect
Acetaldehyde Eye and respiratory tract irritation Bronchiolitis, liver damage
Acetic acid Severe corrosive, dental erosion, bronchitis
Acetic anhydride Strong, eye and respiratory tract irritation, corrosive
Acetone Slight, eye and respiratory tract irritant, narcotic
Acetonitrile Respiratory irritant, cyanide poisoning
Acrolein Lachrymation, respiratory tract irritant
Aluminium chloride Severe corrosive, blurred vision, choking lung oedema
Aluminium oxide Carcinogen, local pain and burning Pulmonary fibrosis, emphysema, pneumonia, pneumothorax, encephalopathy and tumours
Ammonia Strong corrosive, localised burns to eyes, skin and respiratory tract Permanent lung damage
Ammonium oxalate Severe internal pain Collapse and death
Aniline Cyanosis, respiratory tract paralysis, slight narcosis Bladder tumours
Aniline blue Liver and kidney damage, stupor, convulsions, coma Bladder tumours
Arsenic compounds Severe gastrointestinal tract irritation, cyanosis, collapse Heart and kidney damage, death
Auramine O Carcinogen and mutagen, visual disturbances, nausea, headache Bladder tumours
Benzene Narcotic, carcinogen. Headache, nausea, fatigue, irritability Leukaemia, liver and kidney damage, aplastic anaemia, bladder tumours
Carbon tetrachloride Mutagen and carcinogen. Headache, nausea, jaundice, narcosis, liver and kidney damage, loss of appetite Liver and kidney damage, gastrointestinal disturbances
Chloral hydrate Nausea, vomiting, unconsciousness Death
Chloroform As for carbon tetrachloride and is an foetotoxin
Dimethyl sulphoxide Teratogen and allergen, eye damage, nausea, chills and cramps Foetal damage during pregnancy
Dioxane Narcosis, kidney and liver damage
Dimethyl formamide Foetotoxin
2-ethoxyethanol (cellosolve) Teratogen and foetotoxin, reduced sperm counts, headache, dizziness, nausea Liver and kidney damage, foetal damage, anaemia
Ethylene glycol Teratogen, headache, cyanosis, coma Liver and kidney damage, foetal damage
Formalin Respiratory tract and mucous membrane irritant Impaired respiratory function
Glutaraldehyde Respiratory tract and mucous membrane irritant Impaired respiratory function
Isopropanol Lachrymation, narcosis, eye damage, respiratory paralysis, coma Permanent corneal damage, death
d-limonene solvents Dermatitis, headache, mild disorientation albuminaria and haematuria
Lead salts Teratogens and potential carcinogens, metallic taste, nausea, dizziness Lung and kidney damage, anaemia
Mercury Eye and skin irritant, dyspnoea and toxicosis Toxicosis, respiratory tract damage, kidney damage
Lithium carbonate Mutagen Foetal damage
Mercuric chloride Gastroenteritis, polyuria, membranous colitis, dysentery Central nervous system damage, kidney, liver and spleen damage
Methanol Narcosis, damage to optic nerve Damage to retina and optic nerve, death
Methyl trisulphide Eye and skin irritant, lung damage
Nitric acid Severe corrosive, dental erosion Death
Nitrobenzene Cyanosis and narcosis Anaemia, reduced blood pressure, cyanosis, liver damage, bladder irritation
Oxalates Severe irritants, gastrointestinal erosion and pain Permanent eye damage, collapse
Phenol Strong, eye, skin and mucous membrane irritant, neurotoxic, liver and kidney damage Respiratory failure, coma
Phloxine Foetotoxin
Potassium chloride Nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea Circulatory failure, death
Potassium dihydrogen orthophosphate Renal tubular necrosis, gastroenteritis, shock Heart and kidney damage, fall in blood pressure
2-propanol Narcotic, uraemia, headache, dizziness, disorientation, coma Respiratory paralysis, death
Pyridine Liver and kidney damage, neurotoxic Neurotoxicity
Sodium acetate Eye, skin and mucous membrane irritant, moderately toxic dyspnoea
Sodium azide Coughing, dizziness, faintness, abdominal spasm Nervous system damage
Sodium sulphite Corrosive, coughing, shortness of breath, abdominal pain, diarrhoea Kidney damage, lung oedema, death
Tetrahydrofuran Narcosis, liver and kidney damage, eye and respiratory tract irritant
Toluene Mutagen, narcotic, anorexia, fatigue, headache, nausea, metallic taste, disorientation, impaired coordination Neurological impairment, possible addiction, kidney and renal damage, death
Trichloracetic acid Corrosive, coughing, shortness of breath, laboured breathing, blurred vision, abdominal pain Lung oedema, death
Trichloroethylene Narcosis Neurological impairment, liver damage
Xylene Narcosis, headache, nausea, fatigue, dizziness Neurological impairment

Table 13: Toxic effect of some chemicals


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