Electron Microscopy Centre

Lab Safety

I. CHEMICALS:
Treat all fixatives with respect: because they will fix your tissue too.

A) OSMIUM TETROXIDE
  1. Handle ampoules with disposable gloves.
  2. Use double bottles and seal with parafilm.
  3. Open only in a fume hood, and well-ventilated room.
  4. when using OsO4, do not hold your breath as your nose is very sensitive to detect dangerous fumes.
B) ALDEHYDES
  1. Handle in fume hood only.
  2. Acrolein-See Osmium precautions.
C) BUFFER SOLUTIONS
Some buffers (e.g. Cacodylate and Veronal) contain toxic components, and must be handled with caution. USE GLOVES AT ALL TIMES.

D) PROPYLENE OXIDE
Warning: Orioylene Oxide is very volatile.  To prevent hazard:
  • Must be opened and used at room temperature.
  • Never heat.
  • Store in a cool properly ventilated area away from incompatible chemicals, heat, sparks, open flame and strong oxidizing agents. Store only in highly closed containers.

II EMBEDDING RESINS:
Embedding resins may cause dermatitis.

  • When preparing the mixtures and during embedding procedures, ALWAYS uses disposable gloves.
  • Cover all working areas with paper towel or diapers and wipe all spills immediately with alcohol.
  • To remove resins from your skin, use soap & water.  DO NOT USE ALCOHO as this will increases skin penetration.
  • Seek immediate medical attention for any suspicious skin rash.
  • Harden all waste resin prior to disposal.  Carefully wrap discarded containers, beakers, vials, pipettes, etc.
  • Never pour any plastic containing solutions (e.g., propylene oxide-epon mixture) down the drain.
  • All hardened waste: RESINS, RESIN MIXTURE AND FILM MAKING SOLUTIONS) shall be stored in the fume hood until disposal. 

III. SHARP OBJECTS:
To prevent injury to cleaning personnel, all used glass knives, razor blades and scalpel knives must be discarded only in designated containers, or well sealed and labeled cardboard boxes.

IV. EQUIPMENT:

DO NOT ATTEMPT TO OPERATE ANY EQUIPMENT WITHOUT PRIOR INSTRUCTION BY OTHER PEOPLE IN THE LAB OR WITHOUT READING THE OPERATION INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY.

  • Goggles MUST be worn to observe metal evaporation.  The intense brightness can burn your retina.
  • Critical Point Dryers can be potentially lethal.  Seek advice from EMC staff for proper use techniques.