Chemical Exposure!

  • Thread starter Stadtjunky
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  • #26
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Relax then. Don't get too worried about 1 mL of methyl iodide. You're bound to have slip ups every once and a while. Just be cautious when using hazardous stuff, read the MSDS before you work with something (useful info in there) and avoid hydrofluoric acid.
Useful information in MSDS? They're probably the most useless thing in any lab.
 
  • #27
alxm
Science Advisor
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Useful information in MSDS? They're probably the most useless thing in any lab.
That's a pretty cavalier attitude on safety. What's so useless about them?

I would consider it pretty useful to know the relative toxicity of a substance I'm about to handle, and whether it can be absorbed through the skin, etc.
 
  • #28
That's a pretty cavalier attitude on safety. What's so useless about them?

I would consider it pretty useful to know the relative toxicity of a substance I'm about to handle, and whether it can be absorbed through the skin, etc.
...And nitrile... heh
 
  • #29
Useful information in MSDS? They're probably the most useless thing in any lab.
You're statement is almost too idiotic to warrant a response; almost. However, here is just one example from the MSDS of THF, "Distillation or evaporation can concentrate peroxides (if present) to create an explosion hazard." Pretty useless information I would say. Makes you think twice while you have that round-bottom flask on the rotovapor.

It's better to overcome your ignorance and live another day.
 
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  • #30
You're statement is almost too idiotic to warrant a response; almost. However, here is just one example from the MSDS of THF, "Distillation or evaporation can concentrate peroxides (if present) to create an explosion hazard." Pretty useless information I would say. Makes you think twice while you have that round-bottom flask on the rotovapor.

It's better to overcome your ignorance and live another day.
Well said, and it's cheaper and less painful than a debridement and a dozen skin grafts!
 
  • #31
88
2
MSDSs are full of cover-your-*** nonsense written by lawyers.

If you try and teach young chemists that every single chemical is highly dangerous, they will come to understand that you're exaggerating and they won't learn where *real* dangers exist.

Understanding, for example, the possible formation of organic peroxides in THF (and many other organic solvents) is very important. Understanding, for example, that DCM will go straight through nitrile gloves is very important.

Replacing real education and real chemistry literacy and real understanding of the realistic hazards of different chemicals with the overzealous language of MSDSs, implying that every chemical there is is scary, insidious and lethal is a mistake.
 
  • #32
MSDSs are full of cover-your-*** nonsense written by lawyers.

If you try and teach young chemists that every single chemical is highly dangerous, they will come to understand that you're exaggerating and they won't learn where *real* dangers exist.

Understanding, for example, the possible formation of organic peroxides in THF (and many other organic solvents) is very important. Understanding, for example, that DCM will go straight through nitrile gloves is very important.

Replacing real education and real chemistry literacy and real understanding of the realistic hazards of different chemicals with the overzealous language of MSDSs, implying that every chemical there is is scary, insidious and lethal is a mistake.
Nice try, but in addition to the legalese are the warnings you really DO need to know. I don't think anyone has suggested "Chemistry-By-The-Labels", so your education argument is a bombastic one, and a straw man. Read the label is a good idea, and no one is saying it's the ONLY thing you should do.
 
  • #33
alxm
Science Advisor
1,842
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If you try and teach young chemists that every single chemical is highly dangerous, they will come to understand that you're exaggerating and they won't learn where *real* dangers exist.
Funny, because that's exactly how I learned these things.
By reading the relevant MSDSes for every chemical I was about to handle before every lab. Yes at first glance 'everything' would seem dangerous (and everything is, to an extent). But if you read more than one of them you quickly get a good understanding of relative dangers. An LD50 of 1000 mg/kg is quite safe, 1 mg/kg is not.

I think you're underestimating the ability of students to interpret and evaluate the data, and that the attitude you're espousing ("Don't bother reading the MSDS, it just says everything is bad!"), is a lot more dangerous than reading an MSDS ever would be.
 
  • #34
Funny, because that's exactly how I learned these things.
By reading the relevant MSDSes for every chemical I was about to handle before every lab. Yes at first glance 'everything' would seem dangerous (and everything is, to an extent). But if you read more than one of them you quickly get a good understanding of relative dangers. An LD50 of 1000 mg/kg is quite safe, 1 mg/kg is not.

I think you're underestimating the ability of students to interpret and evaluate the data, and that the attitude you're espousing ("Don't bother reading the MSDS, it just says everything is bad!"), is a lot more dangerous than reading an MSDS ever would be.
This is the sensible approach in my view. If you can't figure out labels, maybe you shouldn't be in chemistry? :biggrin:
 
  • #35
13
0
To be honest, I have to agree with previous comments. When you start out in chemistry it's not clear what's dangerous and what's not. And it doesn't help that you're not medically trained, so when you see "may cause cancer" or "may cause death" or whatever, it's difficult to interpret these warnings initially in any other way apart from "be extremely extremely careful" such that you're almost afraid to touch the bottle.

Look at the MSDS for DCM for example, it makes it sound like a chemical warfare agent...hence why I was frightend of alkyating agents like MeI...
 
  • #36
13
0
Funny, because that's exactly how I learned these things.
By reading the relevant MSDSes for every chemical I was about to handle before every lab. Yes at first glance 'everything' would seem dangerous (and everything is, to an extent). But if you read more than one of them you quickly get a good understanding of relative dangers. An LD50 of 1000 mg/kg is quite safe, 1 mg/kg is not.

I think you're underestimating the ability of students to interpret and evaluate the data, and that the attitude you're espousing ("Don't bother reading the MSDS, it just says everything is bad!"), is a lot more dangerous than reading an MSDS ever would be.
Agreed, but most young student chemists aren't taught about LD50 values, at least I wasn't. You have to learn for yourself.
 

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