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What Is the Scope of This Guideline?

This Brandeis Safety Operating Procedure applies to all users of lachrymators, or chemicals that are strong eye irritants. Examples of lachrymators include:

  • 2-Bromopropionyl chloride
  • Maleimide
  • Thionyl chloride
  • Thiophosgene
  • 4-Bromobenzyl bromide
Lachrymators are chemicals that are strong eye irritants and cause tearing and burning sensations.

How Do I Protect Myself?

Eye Protection
Personnel handling lachrymators chemicals must wear adequate eye protection. Adequate safety glasses must meet the requirements of the Practice for Occupational and Educational Eye and Face Protection (ANSI Z.87. 1 1989) and must be equipped with side shields. Ordinary prescription glasses do not provide adequate protection unless they meet this standard and are marked as such. Safety glasses with side shields do not provide adequate protection from splashes; therefore, when the potential for splash hazard exists other eye protection and/or face protection must be worn (i.e., splash goggles or face shield).

Skin Protection
Gloves should be worn when handling these chemicals. Disposable nitrile gloves provide adequate protection against accidental hand contact with small quantities of most laboratory chemicals.

Appropriate protective clothing should be worn if the possibility of skin contact is likely. Open-toe shoes are not appropriate when handling chemicals in a laboratory or in other areas where there is a potential for exposure.

Engineering, Ventilation and Administrative Controls

Brandeis employees who work with hazardous chemicals must be apprised of the hazards of chemicals present in their work area. This training must be provided before initial assignment to a lab and distribution of keys or must work under supervision before training occurs. Lab personnel need to be trained on how lachrymators react with other materials, the identity and location of lachrymators in the lab, the proper measure to handle and store them and measures to be used to clean up spills.

Engineering Controls
Lachrymators should always be handled in a fume hood.

Special Handling and/or Storage Requirements

Lachrymators should be stored in a cool and dry location. Keep tightly closed. Do not allow contact with water with some lachrymating chemicals (check MSDS). Avoid mixing or storing near oxidizers, alcohols, amines and strong bases. 

Handling Emergencies Involving Oxidizing Chemicals

Anticipate emergency situations, have proper handling equipment in the lab and readily available for spills. Check the MSDS to determine what is appropriate. Spill control materials for lachrymators are designed to be inert and will not react with the reagent (i.e., dry lime, sand, soda ash).

In the event of a spill or adverse reaction, notify lab personnel immediately that an incident has occurred. Do not attempt to handle a large spill/reaction/fire, or one in which you are not trained or equipped for. Turn off all ignition sources if this can be done safely; vacate the area and call for assistance. The chemical should be in a fume hood; close the hood sash all the way if this can be done safely.

Laboratory emergencies should be reported to the public safety office at ext. 6-3333. Public safety will also contact the Office of Environmental Health and Safety at ext. 6-4262. Communicate the following:

  • Location of spill/incident
  • Type of material involved and quantity
  • Injuries involved
  • Fire/explosion
  • Your location/contact information (or who to contact for further information)

Notify the principal investigator or designated safety officer as soon as possible.

Waste Disposal Requirements

Contact the hazardous waste hotline at ext. 6-2561 and leave a message, including your name, location and question for waste containers and pickup.

Decontamination Procedures

Wash hands and arms with soap and water immediately after handling any chemical.

Clean work areas carefully when done. Dispose of contaminated material in the hazardous waste storage container. Do not dispose of waste with incompatible material.