From: Frank Coppo <Frank.T.Coppo**At_Symbol_Here**GSK.COM>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Silica gel dispensing (Was: Toxic dust handling)
Date: June 27, 2012 8:01:31 AM EDT
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: <021401cd53f4$d8dd7490$8a985db0$**At_Symbol_Here**com>

Dear Colleagues -
A suggestion from an old chemist-turned-EHS-professionalÉ eliminate the use of loose silica altogether if you can.
I'd expect your folks are using this predominantly to prepare their own chromatography (i.e. flash, etc.) columns. Why not try prepacked silica cartridges? They're a bit pricier, but much easier to manage, & nowadays they come in a universe of sizes & types to fit almost any application. You don't need to have a fancy commercial MPLC apparatus to use them, either (although it's a Ônice-to-have') - a simple labware rig-up mirroring the typical flash chromatography setup can work just fine (& gravity is even easier ?).
Prepacked silica cartridges basically eliminate the handling hazard associated with loose silica. Waste disposal concerns are essentially the same; again the after-use handling particulate hazard of now-contaminated silica is eliminated. If you can afford the minor cost increase & your lab folks are amenable to the idea, it's an easy fix.

Good luck & best regards,
Frank T. Coppo
EHS Specialist, Environment, Health, & Safety Services

GlaxoSmithKline | 1250 S. Collegeville Rd. | UP2410 | Collegeville, PA | 19426 | USA
: 1-610-917-4548 (GSK shortcode 8282-4548) mobile: 1-610-324-1419 | |: Environment, Health & Safety

From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU] On Behalf Of NEAL LANGERMAN
Sent: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 7:39 PM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Silica gel dispensing (Was: Toxic dust handling)

A principle in hazard management is "reduction". Even though the cost per gram will be more, why not purchase smaller containers and eliminate the problem?

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From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU] On Behalf Of Bruce Van Scoy
Sent: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 3:37 PM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Silica gel dispensing (Was: Toxic dust handling)

You may want to check a Flow Sciences Bulk Powder Handling Ventilated Safety Enclosure. Essentially the drum is lifted up through a rubber flange built into the base of the cabinet, so the top just breaks the enclosures base/bottom surface. All particulates generated during dispensing are exhausted through two HEPA filters prior to the final exhausted air removal by a house exhaust system.

From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU] On Behalf Of ILPI
Sent: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 4:11 PM
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Silica gel dispensing (Was: Toxic dust handling)

By an interesting coincidence, I received this query from a colleague today. A very similar question to the earlier one on dusts. Anyone have handling advice? Thanks, Rob Toreki

The group buys silica gel in big drums. These are stored in our storage room. They are too tall to use in our fume hoods. When the students need to fill up their individual jars (2 L or so) they come in, put on a dust mask and fill their jars. As you might expect, a thin coating of silica dust ends up everywhere and builds up over time. We've just had the storage room renovated, and I'd like to avoid it reverting to a silica pit, especially since we may be putting a drybox in there. Are you aware of any commercial dispensers or containment units which would allow us to dispense silica into jars while keeping the inevitable dust cloud contained?

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-----Original Message-----
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU] On Behalf Of Ralph B Stuart
Sent: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 9:42 AM
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Toxic dust handling

A question has arisen here about the best practices for handling dusts known to be unusually toxic, such as teratogens or mutagens. It appears from google searches that many academic Standard Operating Procedures recommend using these dusts in a fume hood. This seems counter-intuitive to me, as strong air flows around these dusts would seem to create a housekeeping challenge by dispersing the dust around the use area. This could lead to unnecessary contamination of someone's hands as they work with the material. In addition, the ergonomics of performing delicate operations, such as handling dusts, in a hood can be a challenge due to their one size fits all nature.

Prudent Practices indicates that highly toxic dusts should be used in a hood, but that seems to be rolled up in the same recommendation as for handling gases and vapors. It seems to me that dusts present distinct hygiene challenges from gases and vapors. I wonder if anyone has addressed this issue with specific rules that distinguish between these kinds of chemicals?

Thanks for any information about this.

- Ralph

Ralph Stuart CIH
Laboratory Ventilation Specialist
Department of Environmental Health and Safety Cornell University


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