FORMALDEHYDE (USE, STORAGE AND DISPOSAL) SOP Need: Formaldehyde is used to preserve macroinvertebrate samples for long periods of time. Potential Health Effects Appearance: not available. Flash Point: 50 deg C. May cause allergic skin reaction. May cause central nervous system depression. This substance has caused adverse reproductive and fetal effects in animals. May cause liver and kidney damage. Cannot be made non-poisonous. Potential cancer hazard. Respiratory sensitizer. Contains formaldehye. Flammable liquid and vapor. Causes eye and skin irritation. Causes digestive and respiratory tract irritation. Danger! May be fatal or cause blindness if swallowed. Vapor harmful. Use only in a well ventilated area. Target Organs: Kidneys, central nervous system, liver. Eye: Causes eye irritation. May cause chemical conjunctivitis and corneal damage. Skin: Causes skin irritation. May cause skin sensitization, an allergic reaction, which becomes evident upon re-exposure to this material. May cause cyanosis of the extremities. Ingestion: May be fatal or cause blindness if swallowed. Causes gastrointestinal irritation with nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. May cause liver and kidney damage. May cause central nervous system depression, characterized by excitement, followed by headache, dizziness, drowsiness, and nausea. Advanced stages may cause collapse, unconsciousness, coma and possible death due to respiratory failure. May cause central nervous system depression. Inhalation: Inhalation of high concentrations may cause central nervous system effects characterized by nausea, headache, dizziness, unconsciousness and coma. Causes respiratory tract irritation. May cause asthmatic attacks due to allergic sensitization of the respiratory tract. Aspiration may lead to pulmonary edema. Vapors may cause dizziness or suffocation. May cause burning sensation in the chest. Chronic: Repeated exposure may cause skin discoloration and thickening and nail decay. Avoid direct skin contact, always wear protective gloves. Repeated inhalation is associated with nasal and nasopharyngeal cancer. Eyes: Flush eyes with plenty of water for at least 15 minutes, occasionally lifting the upper and lower eyelids. Get medical aid immediately. Do NOT allow victim to rub or keep eyes closed. Wear protective eyeware when transferring formaldehyde. Skin: Immediately flush skin with plenty of soap and water for at least 15 minutes while removing contaminated clothing and shoes. Get medical aid if irritation develops or persists. Wash clothing before reuse. Destroy contaminated shoes. Avoid direct contact with skin. Ingestion: Do NOT induce vomiting. If victim is conscious and alert, give 2-4 cupfuls of milk or water. Never give anything by mouth to an unconscious person. Get medical aid immediately. Inhalation: Get medical aid immediately. Remove from exposure to fresh air immediately. If not breathing, give artificial respiration. If breathing is difficult, give oxygen. Notes to Physician: Treat symptomatically and supportively. General Information: Use proper personal protective equipment to avoid direct contact with skin. Spills/Leaks: Absorb spill with inert material (e.g. vermiculite, sand or earth), then place in suitable container. Avoid runoff into storm sewers and ditches which lead to waterways. Clean up spills immediately, observing precautions in the Protective Equipment section. Remove all sources of ignition. Use a spark-proof tool. Provide ventilation. A vapor suppressing foam may be used to reduce vapors. Handling: Wash thoroughly after handling. Remove contaminated clothing and wash before reuse. Use only in a well-ventilated area. Ground and bond containers when transferring material. Use spark-proof tools and explosion proof equipment. Avoid contact with eyes, skin, and clothing. Empty containers retain product residue, (liquid and/or vapor), and can be dangerous. Keep container tightly closed. Avoid contact with heat, sparks and flame. Avoid ingestion and inhalation. Do not pressurize, cut, weld, braze, solder, drill, grind, or expose empty containers to heat, sparks or open flames. Storage: Keep away from heat, sparks, and flame. Keep away from sources of ignition. Store in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area away from incompatible substances. Flammables-area. Keep containers tightly closed. To neutralize formalin/formaldehyde: useammonia. Neutralization of formalin with ammonia ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 6CH2O + 4NH3 = C6H12N4 + 6H2O 6 * 30.03 4 * 17.03 = 180.18 = 68.12 140.19 grams 180 g CH2O are contained in 180/0.04 = 4500 ml of 4% (=0.04g/ml) solution (10% formalin) 68 g NH3 are conmtained in 68/0.27 = 252 ml of 27% (=0.27g/ml) solution (strong ammonia) Therefore 1000 ml of 10% formalin (= 4% formaldehyde) reacts with 56 ml of strong ammonia solution, generating 31 g of hexamine (in an approximately 3% solution). Hexamine is an inert precipitate that can be disposed of by flushing it down a sink with running water.
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