Injurious Substances used in lab and Precautions
- There are various substances used in the lab which are injurious to the health. Everybody should know the hazards and their remedies.
Injurious Substances are:
- Acids, alkali, and corrosives.
- Glassware hazards.
- Microbial hazards.
- Equipment hazards.
- Bad water supply.
- These may be acids, alkalies, and corrosives.
- There may be irritating fumes when there is no adequate ventilation.
- Injurious Substances may cause:
- Severe burns.
- Tissue damage.
- Chemical burn.
- Mechanism of the chemical substances causing injury:
- When toxic or harmful chemicals are accidentally swallowed by mouth pipetting. This is the reason that mouth pipetting is not allowed in the lab.
- When not wearing gloves, the chemical may cause skin injury or may spill into the eye.
- In the case of the Ziel-Neelsen stain, when heating the slide and some flammable chemical is lying near that area.
- If you spill flammable chemical near the flame.
- Precautions for use of the injurious chemicals:
- During transport put the bottle in a large container or plastic bag.
- Never hold the bottle by the neck, always grab it firmly from the body.
- During pouring wear eye protection and chemical resistant gloves and gown.
- Always use safety eyeglasses.
- Store acid in the acid safety cabinet.
- Limit volumes of acid to one liter in one container.
- Always add acid to water and never water to acid.
- Mix these solutions always in the sink.
- Always label properly these bottles.
- Never allow mouth pipetting.
- Perchloric acid is explosive when in contact with organic material, and needs careful handling.
- Never put this bottle on a wooden bench, always keep it on the glass top.
- Be careful about handling the mercury, this is poisonous and may spill into the atmosphere.
- These are explosive and lead to severe injury.
Precaution in the use of gases:
- Label all the gas containers.
- Leave valve safety covers on until use.
- Open the valve slowly for use.
- Label empty tanks.
- It causes freeze injury and severe burns to the skin.
Precaution for liquid nitrogen use:
- Use heavy insulated gloves and goggles.
- These are bacterial and viral infections.
- These are hepatitis viruses and HIV.
- The possibilities are:
- Pathogenic microbes are accidentally ingested.
- Pathogenic microbes are accidentally inoculated.
- Pathogen microbes are accidentally inhaled from airborne droplets.
- These can take place from:
- Accidental puncture with needles.
- By spilling, and splattering the infectious material on the tables or floors.
- Spraying of the infectious material.
- If there are cuts and scratches from the contaminated blood vessels.
- In the case of centrifuge accidents.
- Any unfixed tissue like blood slides etc is taken as infectious.
- When there is no separate basin for handwashing.
- In case there are no rest-rooms to take food and drink. Then these technicians are exposed to infection.
- If the lab workers don’t have separate clothes while working in the lab.
- When the work table surfaces are not cleaned regularly with antiseptic material.
- when there is no facility for the disposal of the infected material
Precautions for the biological hazards:
- Use barrier protection like gloves, gowns, and laboratory coats.
- Use eye mask protection.
- Use latex gloves as protection. these should be powder-free and low allergen latex.
- Never use mouth pipetting and also never blow it out if there is the possibility of infectious material.
- Wash hands after the use of gloves.
- facial barrier protection is also needed.
- Dispose of the needle in the rigid container without handling them.
- Dispose of all sharp material appropriately.
- Advise frequent hand wash and also wash hands before leaving the lab.
- Try to make a habit to keep your hands from the eye, mouth, or any other mucous membranes, this will decrease the chances of infection.
- Decontaminate, and disinfect all useable devices.
- Be sure that the tubes have no crakes.
- Periodically clean the fridge and the freezer.
- There are chances for electrical shock.
- All worn wires should be replaced immediately.
- Ground all the equipment.
- The broken test tubes or other glassware needs precautions.
- Broken test tubes and other glassware are injurious to the lips and hands.
- These are injurious to the person who is washing and handling this glassware.
- The best remedy is to remove all these broken glassware.
- In the clinical laboratory when making extracts with a solvent whose vapors are toxic.
- In the toxicology when extracts with chlorinated hydrocarbons, these cause damage to the liver after a certain time of the exposure.
- Some of the chemicals are carcinogenic.
- Always work in the fume hood with good ventilation, particularly when using organic solvents.
- Avoid contact with skin because these are absorbed by the skin.
- wash it with soap and water.
- The laboratory should be well ventilated because low concentration exposure for a long period of time is dangerous.
- There are a few chemicals that are carcinogenic:
- Methyl chloromethyl ether.
- bis-Chloromethyl ether.
- 3,3, Dchlorobenzidine.
- Some of these chemicals are still in use in the clinical laboratory.
- e.g. Benzidine for the hemoglobin estimation in the blood.
- Try to avoid these carcinogens and use the alternatives.
- Use non-carcinogenic compounds.
- Don’t spill such chemicals on the table.
- If it is powder then try not to inhale it.
- These substances are used in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases.
- Carefully store these radioactive materials.
- Follow the rules and regulations laid down about their storage, workplace, monitoring programs, and disposal.
- Radiation safety in the people working in such facilities should be followed.
- In the case of the tracer used in the radioimmunoassay, the radioactivity is very low but still, it needs proper handling and disposal.
- Gamma rays are penetrating so these materials are kept behind the lead shield.
- Beta rays are safer and these can keep in their containers and stored in the fridge.
- Always use disposable gloves when handling these materials to avoid spillover and contamination.
- Careful disposal of the material is very very important.
- If you observe reasonable precautions in the clinical laboratory and are equally alert behind the steering wheel.
- You will eventually collect and enjoy your pension as a senior citizen and live longer and die of old age.