So I am going to start a set of experiments involving the following metal nitrates:

  1. Cobalt nitrate hexahydrate
  2. Barium nitrate
  3. Cerium nitrate hexahydrate
  4. Ammonium nitrate nonahydrate
  5. Iron(II) nitrate nonahydrate

All the products are from Sigma-Aldrich. As I was going through the SDS data sheets, my gloves and googles matched the safety standard on all these products, except my gas mask.

I have a P2 level gas mask, but the recommended is a P3 level mask. I will be performing all my experiments in a standard fume hood and it has all the required ventilation.

Do I still need the P3 level mask or the fume hood is enough? Asking this because I am kinda scared doing these experiments as I will be working with heavy metals for the first time.

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ SDS are tailored on industrial production and in the vast majority of cases the common-and-good sense of a chemist suffices. LiF has mask or respirator mentioned too, so I suppose this is necessary in a mine or a mill, just to say. I would personally don't worry at all. SDS are essentials but in a small scale research lab shall be read with chemistry in mind. A big plant with workers doing all kind of tasks everyday for a life or that poses hazards is another story. To be even clear: diethyl ether is of common use in every lab. Not so in industry. $\endgroup$ – Alchimista Dec 7 '19 at 8:36
  • $\begingroup$ Will you be weighing/dispensing in a suitable fume hood though? $\endgroup$ – Beerhunter Dec 7 '19 at 11:58
  • $\begingroup$ Wow, I guess you're really new to this. Just use what teacher tells you. You don't need to know any SDS. $\endgroup$ – Mithoron Dec 8 '19 at 18:54

Generally, personal protective equipment (PPE) is the last measure. First the employer has to check whether the risks to safety and health can be avoided (e.g. by replacing the toxic substances with substances that are not toxic). After that, the risks must be limited by technical means or collective protection or by measures, methods and procedures of work organisation (e.g. removal of dust by suction close to the source). Only if risks cannot be eliminated or adequately controlled on a general or collective basis, the employer resorts to providing PPE. (Note, for example, that PPE only protects the wearer.)

The corresponding general rule in the European regulation (89/656/EEC) reads as follows.

Personal protective equipment shall be used when the risks cannot be avoided or sufficiently limited by technical means of collective protection or by measures, methods or procedures of work organization.

In your case, the fume hood comes first, after that you can resort to using a suitable mask with particle filter. Therefore, if the risks are sufficiently limited by technical means (the fume hood), you do not need PPE (the mask with particle filter).


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