1/22/2007

PharmTox 101 Courtesy of Fisher

Let's be honest. As synthetic chemists, we don't look much at the labels for the chemicals we buy. Aside from the important stuff (will it kill you? What's the molecular weight?) I doubt we look very much at the warning labels, cause 1. we treat pretty much all chemicals with some amount of care, and 2. everything is toxic and/or carcinogenic. So it's not often that I actually learn something from the warning labels, and I was quite surprised to be educated by a bottle of methylene chloride from Fisher while waiting for a TLC to finish:



Well, I learned something from this- well, aside from the fact that in California, everything gives you cancer. I always knew that methylene chloride was bad for you, but now I know why. Always nice to see chemical companies treating their customers like, um, scientists.

16 comments:

Ψ*Ψ said...

If it's something I've never used before, I skim the label for the exclamation points. I'm kinda careful with most things, but I really freak out if the boss happens to mention "toxic" or "carcinogenic" regarding something I'm using. (I know you've heard stories, Excimer. They're true.) If he's concerned enough to throw out a warning, it probably means that you will get cancer from just looking at the stuff.

Excimer said...

heh, the first day of my undergrad research, my boss tells me "okay, you're going to be working with allyl bromide. be careful with it, it's pretty bad for you." Which is true, of course, but it seemed far worse coming from his mouth. All the undergrads got ONE such warning from him the first time they used something awful in his lab. My friend's was benzyl chloroformate. Another's was DEAD. Kinda funny, I feel personally marked to the stuff now.

Propter Doc said...

I totally never knew that! We're sitting around trying to figure out how the DCM looses the two Cl and one H and gains an O but never mind. I'm the person in my lab who spouts the warnings about things being toxic. Tough job but someone's gotta do it!

een of andere vent said...

Cytochrome P450 oxidase pathway:

Oxygen insertion on CH2Cl2 by P450 to Cl2CHOH (dichloromethanol) loss of HCl gives OCHCl (formylchloride) wich decomposes with loss of another HCl to CO. That is the (proposed) pathway to CO I learned on a toxicology course.

Matt Jenks said...

Not to mention it burns like hell if it gets under your wedding ring.

Chemgeek said...

Damn straight Matt!!!

My favorite warning label is on bottles of sand and sodium chloride. It's like screaming "wolf!" or "THIS SAND IS GOING TO KILL YOU!! Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but someday when you least expect it... BAM!!! Sand 1, You 0."
At least it seems Fisher is trying to give us useful information.

Annette said...

The warning label that freaks me out is on HMPA. It says "may cause heritable genetic damage." That freaked me out--I don't want my kids to have three ears and six toes! I refused to touch the stuff for awhile until I decided I could just be extra careful.

Matt Jenks said...

I like how sand has its own CAS number. Back at my old job, I used to write on the bottles of sand I kept around "SAND!" and then the CAS number, just to be a smartass.

Zinc said...

I like the warning on some of the dry ice bags: 'Do not eat' with a picture of someone about to eat a big chunk of it. I cut one out and put it on the sand bottle.

milkshake said...

The best product warning that I saw was on a our new lab refrigerator we got few weeks ago. It reads like this (nn big red letters - and I am not making this up):

DANGER! RISK OF CHILD ENTRAPMENT!
Before you throw away your old refrigerator or freezer
- Take the doors of
- Leave the shelves in the place so that children may not easily climb inside.

Zinc said...

We have a syringe pump with a label saying 'Warning: not for human use'.

I also like the statement on Aldrich bottles: 'For R&D purposes only, not for drug, household, or other uses', or something to that effect.

Petr said...

as matt jenks said methylene chloride (and chloroform according to my personal knowledge) caused burning pain when it gets under the wedding ring. does anybody know the reason?

milkshake said...

I thought the searing pain (don't spray it in your eye or crotch!) is related to acidic impurities like HCl dissolved in it - they soak right into the skin.

We use ethanolamine as a quick skin treatment for soaked-in acid burns (for example causes by TFA or thionyl chloride) It works much better than calcium gluconate ointment or washing with sat. sodium bicarbonate. It cannot be used in vicinity of eyes thoug, and has to be washed after about half a minute on the skin. It does de-grease it and can irritate it a little - but much less so than the treated acid burn.

Ashutosh said...

Shoot...there's methylene chloride in the drinking bird toy I bought for my friend...

The Canadian Chromatographer said...

Milkshake, I don't quite believe the explanation based on dissolved HCl gas in CH2Cl2 and CHCl3, when it reaches under one's wedding ring or worse, wrist watch. If so, how could one explain the fact THF burns likewise?...

mercury said...

Pure THF is an irritant to say the least...which I discovered (over and over) workin with gallons of the stuff...but it's usually inhibited with NaBH4, maybe that makes the burning worse. Either way I hate working with the stuff, it found its way through my nitrile gloves and it made my hands all fucked up on several occasions.