Always follow these guidelines when working with chemicals:
- Assume that any unfamiliar chemical is hazardous.
- Know all the hazards of the chemicals with which you work. For example, perchloric acid is a corrosive, an oxidizer, and a reactive. Benzene is an irritant that is also flammable, toxic, and carcinogenic.
- Consider any mixture to be at least as hazardous as its most hazardous component.
- Never use any substance that is not properly labeled.
- Follow all chemical safety instructions precisely.
- Minimize your exposure to any chemical, regardless of its hazard rating.
- Use personal protective equipment, as appropriate; check with your principal investigator or safety officer.
- Use common sense at all times.
The five prudent practices of chemical safety sum up these safety guidelines:
- Treat all chemicals as if they were hazardous.
- Minimize your exposure to any chemical.
- Avoid repeated exposure to any chemical.
- Never underestimate the potential hazard of any chemical or combination of chemicals.
- Assume that a mixture or reaction product is more hazardous than any component or reactant.