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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


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Elemental Analysis Manual: Section 4.0.3 Safety

Version 1 (June 2008)
Authors: William R. Mindak

The methods in this manual do not attempt to address all safety issues associated with their use. There are many dangers and hazards requiring precautions by the analyst. The various acids used (hydrochloric, nitric, acetic) can cause serious eye and skin damage. High-pressure digestion vessels have dangers related to their use that must be understood for proper use. Fume hoods should be used when possible but especially when opening microwave digestion vessels. The user of these methods must establish appropriate safety and health practices prior to use. Lab coats, gloves and eye protection (safety glasses, goggles, face shields, etc) must be worn at all times. Eye wash stations and safety showers should be tested on a regular basis. Analyst must comply with federal, state and local disposal and waste regulations. Dispose of hazardous and acidic waste in accordance with the laboratory hazardous waste plan.

Reagents should be regarded as potential health hazards and exposure to these compounds should be limited. Each laboratory is responsible for maintaining a current awareness file of OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration, U. S. Department of Labor) regulations regarding the safe handling of the chemicals specified in the methods. Material safety data sheets1 for these chemicals are to be available to the user. The argon plasma and graphite furnace emit UV radiation. Avoid looking at either. The user of the methods is responsible for complying with environmental and waste disposal regulations.


  1. Information on Material Safety Data Sheets disclaimer icon, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia; 2006 Dec 9, 12:10 UTC [page viewed on January 20, 2010].