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Incident Discussion 2-mercaptoethanol
Incident Summary • Bottle of 2-Mercaptoethanol (Link to MSDS) placed in Class II A2 biosafety cabinet in xx-xxx after researcher noticed bottle’s cap was cracked. • This chemical is highly odorous and is toxic. • 0.12 ppm odor threshold. • 0.2 ppm exposure limit, 8 hr TWA. • Student entered xx-xxx after bottle was moved to fume hood in nearby room. • Student felt nauseous and lightheaded while working in xx-xxx and after returning to office.
Incident Summary • Student dialed 100 for assistance. • Cambridge Fire evacuated the building. • EHS responded, verified that the bottle was now safe in the fume hood, and also noted a chemical odor in room with BSC. • Student transported to Mount Auburn Hospital; after observation, was back working in the lab the next day.
Incident Summary • Proximate causes of the incident were: • Placing a cracked bottle of a highly odorous compound in a biosafety cabinet where 70% of the exhaust is recirculated. • Using an old bottle that had a deteriorated cap. • Also interesting to note • After hours, but not working alone! • Inadequate disposal of contaminated solids?
Fume Hood ≠ BioSafety Cabinet! Type A2 BioSafety Cabinet: 30% exhausted, 70% recirculated Fume Hood: 100% exhausted From a manufacturer’s website: “Airflow in a Type A2 cabinet is not suited for work with hazardous vapors.”
Lessons Learned / Takeaways • Perform work with hazardous chemicals in the fume hood, and biological work in the BioSafety Cabinet. • Examine chemical bottles before using. • Don’t use old / out of date / expired chemicals. • Read the chemical’s MSDS. • Dispose of chemically contaminated solids (gloves/paper towels etc) into closed top container (keep in fume hood if odorous). • Possibility of less hazardous chemical? • Don’t work alone.