Safe handling of Organic Solvents in Atomic Absorption spectroscopy

Handle-solvents-carefuly
Solvents require careful handling

Water is the safest solvent that you can be use in Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy but many applications require use of organic solvents. Handling and usage of organic solvents requires strict adherence to safe practices to prevent laboratory mishaps.

Organic solvents can pose safety hazards mainly due to two main factors, namely, toxicity and flammability. Measures that should be taken to ensure safe handling and operation are covered under these two categories.

Toxicity

Use only small quantities of toxic solvents in instrument room. Sample preparations should be carried inside in a well ventilated separate room and only small quantities in the form of samples not larger than 2 to 3 ml should be taken inside the instrument room.

Use smaller plastic drain vessels. Glass vessels can crack due to pressure buildup on account of volatile solvent discharge. Do not wait for the container to be completely filled. Empty out the drain vessel frequently

Collect the discharge liquid into separate bins meant for the purpose and dispose as per the guidelines laid down for the disposal of organic wastes.

Toxic vapours can result on ignition of organic solvents. Avoid use of halogenated solvents such as carbon tetrachloride or chloroform as highly toxic phosgene gas vapours can be formed

Flammability

Carbon disulphide, Tetrahydrofuran, ethers and acetone should not be used as these have low flashpoints and can form explosive mixtures which have low ignition points.

Nitric acid and perchloric acid discharges should not be mixed with organic solvent wastes as explosive products can form

Solvent containers with low flashpoints should never be left uncapped in the instrument room. All solvents should be stored in separate ventilated rooms and only 2 to 3 ml quantities should be brought in the vicinity of the atomic absorption spectrometer.

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