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Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: Handling and Disposal of Chemicals
Reactivity and Incompatibility
Chloromethyl methyl ether decomposes in water to form HCl and formaldehyde, and reacts readily with oxidizing agents.
Storage and Handling
Because of its carcinogenicity, chloromethyl methyl ether should be handled using the "basic prudent practices" of Chapter 5.C, supplemented by the additional precautions for work with compounds of high chronic toxicity (Chapter 5.D) and high flammability (Chapter 5.F). In particular, work with this substance should be conducted in a fume hood to prevent exposure by inhalation, and appropriate impermeable gloves and splash goggles should be worn at all times to prevent skin and eye contact. Chloromethyl methyl ether is also highly flammable and should be used only in areas free of ignition sources; quantities greater than 1 liter should be stored in tightly sealed metal containers in areas separate from oxidizers in secondary containers.
In the event of skin contact, immediately wash with soap and water and remove contaminated clothing. In case of eye contact, promptly wash with copious amounts of water for 15 min (lifting upper and lower lids occasionally) and obtain medical attention. If chloromethyl methyl ether is ingested, obtain medical attention immediately. If large amounts of this compound are inhaled, move the person to fresh air and seek medical attention at once.
In the event of a spill, remove all ignition sources, soak up the chloromethyl methyl ether with a spill pillow or absorbent material, place in an appropriate container, and dispose of properly. Respiratory protection may be necessary in the event of a large spill or release in a confined area.
Excess chloromethyl methyl ether and waste material containing this substance should be placed in an appropriate container, clearly labeled, and handled according to your institution's waste disposal guidelines. For more information on disposal procedures, see Chapter 7 of this volume.