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Unformatted text preview: disposition, and even whether is has been a “good day” or a “bad day” for the
victim. These and other factors can affect the severity of an exposure. If you don’t
know these details, as is often the case, it is prudent to act as though you could be susceptible to serious toxic consequences and to therefore follow the necessary precautions when
working with chemicals in the laboratory.
The toxic effects can be immediate or delayed, reversible or irreversible, local or
systemic. The toxic effects vary from mild and reversible (e.g., a headache from a sin- Toxic chemicals can enter the body by four routes:
Inhalation through the respiratory tract (lungs) by breathing.
Ingestion through the digestive tract. This can occur through eating; chewing gum; applying cosmetics or smoking in the laboratory; using a contaminated beaker, say, as a cup for drinking coffee;
or eating lunch without washing your hands after working in the laboratory.
Absorption through body openings such as the ears or eyeball sockets, through cuts in the skin, or
even through intact skin.
Injection of a toxic substance through a cut made in the skin by a sharp, contaminated object.
Possibilities include mishandling a sharp-edged piece of a contaminated broken glass beaker or
misuse of a sharp object such as a knife or hypodermic needle.
3From one point of view, water is the most dangerous single chemical known. Considering all known industrial
accidents involving chemical reactions, those involving water as a chemical reactant have caused more fatalities
than any other single chemical compound. 10 students short index 1/15/03 12:45 PM Page 11 When you work with chemicals in the laboratory,
● remember to read and heed the labels before using chemicals,
follow the precautions recommended in the Material Safety Data Sheets, and
always follow your instructor’s directions. gle episode of inhaling the vapors of ethyl acetate that disappears when the victim
inhales fresh air) to serious and irreversible (e.g., birth defects from exc...
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This document was uploaded on 02/27/2014 for the course PHYS 1B at UCSD.
- Spring '07