How to Safely use Chemicals in the lab

Working with chemicals can be dangerous. Whether they are corrosive, flammable, toxic or reactive, a lot can go wrong – so it is crucial to understand how to use chemicals safely. Simply knowing the properties of the chemicals that you are using is the most important first step. When this is combined with caution and the right PPE (personal protective equipment), we can begin to establish some essential chemical safety in the workplace and therefor prevent most lab mishaps. In this blog, we’ll take a look at ways to keep you safe when working with chemicals.

How Can I Stay Safe?

Knowledge can be the most important weapon in your arsenal to prevent mistakes. Always know which chemicals you’re using so you know which chemicals you shouldn’t mix with them.

Even household chemicals present a danger if used incorrectly. For example, mixing vinegar and bleach produces toxic gases (chlorine and chloramine) that may burn your skin, eyes, nose and lungs.

To ensure you know exactly what you’re working with, only purchase chemicals from a reputable source. Sonic Supply sources its chemicals from an FDA-regulated facility.

Sonic provides you with a COA (Certificate of Analysis) and SDS (Safety Data Sheet) for each chemical purchase. Additional technical information is available upon request.

Chemical handling safety tips 

  1. Knowledge can be the most important weapon in your arsenal to prevent mistakes. Always know which chemicals you’re using so you are aware which chemicals you shouldn’t mix with them. Even household chemicals present a danger if used incorrectly. For example, mixing vinegar and bleach produces toxic gases (chlorine and chloramine) that may burn your skin, eyes, nose and lungs. 
  1. To ensure you know exactly what you’re working with, only purchase chemicals from a reputable source. Sonic Supply sources its chemicals from an FDA-regulated facility. 
  1. Sonic provides you with a COA (Certificate of Analysis) and SDS (Safety Data Sheet) for each chemical purchase. Additional technical information is available upon request. 
  1. Never use a chemical that is not clearly marked as to what it is. If you are unsure about what is inside a chemical bottle then do not use it! 
  1. Make sure to store your chemicals correctly. This means having the correct labeling on all chemicals to avoid any confusion or accident. It is also important that chemical containers are kept tightly closed to avoid any gas from leaking out. 
  1. Ensure that your work area is kept clean and that all work surfaces and utensils are correctly washed after use. You should do this to avoid cross contamination.   

What Equipment Do I Need?

For handling chemicals, safety extends beyond knowledge. That’s where protective gear comes in! It is essential that your laboratory has the correct PPE and that they are being used correctly.  

Sonic Supply offers a variety of options for safety equipment, including:

  • Gloves – Crucial when handling chemicals as they will protect from any splashes onto your skin. Be aware that different gloves offer different levels of protection – so know exactly which ones you should be using.
  • Safety goggles – Used to protect one of the most vulnerable and receptive parts of your body. Make sure to choose goggles that fit properly and be confident that they are suitable for use with chemicals. Some only protect from dust or impact. 
  • Face shields – Similar to safety goggles, but protects your full face rather than just the eyes. 
  • Lab aprons and lab coats – For full body protection, lab coats are imperative. They will help to defend against splashes or spillages and ultimately form a protective barrier between you and a potentially harmful chemical. Remember: For full protection you should button or zip them up fully!

Traditional bottle top dispensers with glass barrels conveniently dispense accurate volumes of chemicals like acids, bases and other reagents. But what if you’re dispensing a highly corrosive chemical like Hydrofluoric acid or other high-purity media? They can erode and crack the barrel’s inner surface, allowing leakage.

Specialized bottle top dispensers, like Microlit’s Lentus series, have been designed to safely dispense aggressive, corrosive chemicals directly from the reservoir bottle. Lentus is calibrated according to DIN EN ISO 8655-5 guidelines.

For your chemical safety needs, turn to Sonic Supply.

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