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Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: Handling and Disposal of Chemicals
sulfate is not a developmental toxin. It is a strong alkylating agent and does produce genetic damage in animals and in bacterial and mammalian cell cultures.
Flammability and Explosibility
Dimethyl sulfate is a combustible liquid (NFPA rating = 2). Toxic dimethyl sulfate vapors are produced in a fire. Carbon dioxide or dry chemical extinguishers should be used to fight dimethyl sulfate fires.
Reactivity and Incompatibility
Dimethyl sulfate can react violently with ammonium hydroxide, sodium azide, and strong oxidizers.
Storage and Handling
Because of its carcinogenicity, dimethyl sulfate 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). In particular, work with dimethyl sulfate should be conducted in a fume hood to prevent exposure by inhalation, and appropriate impermeable gloves and safety goggles should be worn at all times to prevent skin and eye contact.
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 dimethyl sulfate is ingested, obtain medical attention immediately. If 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 dimethyl sulfate 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 dimethyl sulfate and waste material containing this substance should be placed in a covered metal 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.