Laboratory Safety

  • Michael J. Dykstra
  • Laura E. Reuss


It is a great testimony to the discipline of electron microscopy that our safety record is excellent. From the earliest days of biological electron microscopy, investigators have realized the toxicity and danger of the chemicals with which we routinely work, which include flammable liquids, potential carcinogens, strong oxidants, heavy metals, caustic substances, and skin and respiratory irritants. The industry has also made sure that the radiation generated from electron microscopes is shielded from the Operator. In addition, even though we have all suffered minor cuts from the razor blades and glass from which we make glass knives, very few injuries necessitating hospital Visits for stitches have occurred. We work with pressurized gas cylinders, extremely cold liquid nitrogen, hot plates, heated ovens, diffusion pumps, and equipment that can be a source of electrical shock hazard and injury from motor-driven belts, and so on.


Diffusion Pump Material Safety Data Sheet Material Safety Data Sheet Heated Oven Flammable Liquid 
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  1. Anon. 1981. Prudent practices for handling hazardous chemicals in laboratories. National Academy Press, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  2. Anon. 1983. Prudent practices for disposal of chemicals from laboratories. National Academy Press, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  3. Barber, V.C. and Mascorro, J.A. (eds.). 1994. Electron microscopy safety handbook, 2nd edn. San Francisco Press, San Francisco.Google Scholar
  4. Matheson Gas Products. 1983. Guide to safe handling of compressed gases. Matheson Gas Products, Secaucas, NJ.Google Scholar
  5. OSHA. 1990. Occupational exposure to hazardous chemicals in laboratories. Code of federal regulations (Vol. 55, No. 21).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Michael J. Dykstra 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael J. Dykstra
    • 1
  • Laura E. Reuss
    • 1
  1. 1.North Carolina State UniversityUSA

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