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Dangers of Bouin's

Leslie H. Harris lhharris at rcf-fs.usc.edu
Wed Mar 29 18:57:39 EST 2000

Bouin's may be a good fixative but it is not only explosive under certain 
conditions, it is also quite toxic.  Disposal of some old Bouin's in our 
polychaete collection meant calling in a Haz-Mat team in white containment 
suits.  Sometime after this event,  I was changing what appeared to be 
alcohol discolored by a black rubber seal when I began to have trouble 
breathing.  The fluid was actually unmarked Bouin's.  Luckily it was a dilute 
solution and the respiratory problem was a minor one, alleviated by wearing 
an oxygen mask for 30 minutes.  So be careful when using Bouin's and 
always record its presence on specimen labels!  

Leslie H. Harris
Collection Manager, 
LACM-Allan Hancock Foundation Polychaete Collection	tel: 213) 763-3234
Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History		fax: 213) 746-2999
900 Exposition Boulevard		       email: lhharris at bcf.usc.edu
Los Angeles, California 90007 U.S.A.

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