Triclosan is a common ingredient found in everything from shampoo and soap to toothpaste, deodorant, pesticides, and more.
Working as an antibacterial agent, this solid crystalline chemical was originally an ingredient found in cleaning scrubs for use in hospitals during the 1970s.
If you work with this material, it’s important to know the proper triclosan safety protocols, so read on to learn more.
First Aid and Triclosan
Most consumer products contain just a small amount of triclosan, and it’s generally considered safe. However, in its purest form, triclosan can be slightly or even extremely dangerous to the eyes, skin, and respiratory system.
Symptoms like red or irritated skin and eyes or a sore throat are not uncommon. If you’re exposed to this compound accidentally, there are some important first aid measures to follow.
First, if you come in contact with triclosan on the skin, wash the skin with water immediately. Use a disinfectant soap to clean the area, then apply an emollient to irritated areas of skin. Wash all contaminated clothing or safety equipment thoroughly before using them again.
If triclosan comes into contact with the eyes, rinse them with clean water for a minimum of 15 to 20 minutes. If it is accidentally ingested, rinse your mouth thoroughly with water and do not induce vomiting.
Anyone who inhales concentrated amounts of triclosan should get to a ventilated area and breathe fresh air as soon as possible. Artificial respiration may be required if the substance was inhaled at a large volume or if it is highly concentrated.
Triclosan Guide: Safe Handling
It’s important to follow the proper safety protocols when handling triclosan in a work environment. Always wear protective clothing including a pair of high-quality safety glasses and chemical-resistant gloves.
Wash your hands after handling triclosan. This will help to avoid getting into your eyes if you rub them accidentally while the substance is still on your hands and fingers.
Make sure that you always have adequate ventilation when working with triclosan. Eyewash stations should always be nearby whenever you handle this substance.
Try to avoid prolonged exposure to triclosan. This includes any dust or vapor that the compound may produce. Take frequent breaks and get fresh air if you’re working with the chemical in an enclosed space.
This chemical is a combustible powder in its naturally occurring state, which means that it can create explosive dust in the event of a fire. Make sure that you’re working in a clean area free of dust when handling triclosan. If a fire does occur, use chemical firefighting procedures and wear a protected suit and a self-contained breathing apparatus to prevent inhalation.
Never allow triclosan to get into waterways. This chemical is extremely dangerous and toxic to fish and other aquatic life and can have serious, long-lasting negative impacts on the environment. Prevent accidental spills and ensure proper disposal of this chemical at all times.
Safe Storage Tips
It is important to ensure that triclosan is stored in a safe manner to avoid accidents. A lined metal can, lined pail or drum, or a plastic pail or drum are viable storage vessels.
Make sure that any container used to store triclosan is clearly labeled correctly and free of cracks or leaks. If your facility purchases triclosan directly from a chemical manufacturer, you may leave it in its original container until it is ready to be used.
Always store triclosan in a cool, dry area out of direct sunlight in a place with good ventilation. Keep this chemical away from incompatible materials and any foodstuff containers. Check all storage containers regularly for signs of leaks or physical damage.
Lock triclosan and other chemicals up so that the materials are secured safely and protected from unauthorized use. If possible, only allow specific employees to access the chemicals as needed.
Read the manufacturer’s recommended storage and handling instructions. If you need to dispose of triclosan, check with your local jurisdiction to find out what the current laws and regulations are regarding this process. Laws may differ by state, city, or county.
If you’ve used a container of triclosan, puncture it to prevent reuse, then be sure to bury it at authorized landfills only. When possible, find out how the chemical and its container can be recycled rather than disposed of. Recycling triclosan may not always be possible if the properties of the chemical have changed over time.
More Safety Recommendations
Whether you are handling triclosan or other material, there are some basic safety measures that should always be in place. First, make sure that all employees are trained on the latest safety methods when handling dangerous chemicals.
Provide workers with the proper personal protective equipment. This should include safety glasses or goggles, protective aprons or coverings, gloves, and respirators if required.
Make safety data sheets available throughout your facility. Include signs and posters covering first aid basics in the event of accidental exposure. Have plenty of first aid kits available, and make sure you have a working eyewash station and sink as well as disinfecting soaps on hand.
Practice Safe Handling at All Times
With proper safety protocols and triclosan usage, this chemical can be handled in a safe manner. Always practice the right methods to handle, store, and dispose of this and other potentially dangerous materials in the safest way possible.
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