What is Benzidine?

Benzidine (chemical formula: C12H12N2), is a greyish-yellow, whhite or reddish-grey crystalline powder (sandy or sugar-like). It is Soluble in hot water, alcohol and ether, as well as slightly soluble in cold water. It is a manufactured chemical that does not occur in nature. Benzidine has been linked to bladder and pancreatic cancers and since August 2010, it has been included in EPA’s List of Chemicals of Concern.

What is Benzidine used for?

In the past, industry has used benzidine to manufacture dyes for cloth, paper and leather. However, in the United States, it has not been available for sales since the 1970s and major dye manufacturers no longer produce dyes containing the chemical. Benzidine is also no longer used in medical laboratories as well as rubber and plastics manufacturing.

Another use of benzidine that has largely been replaced by modern alternatives, such as Luminol, is for the detection of blood. 
Another use of benzidine that has largely been replaced by modern alternatives, such as Luminol, is for the detection of blood. 

Benzidine Hazards

The routes of exposure for benzidine include inhalation, ingestion and skin and eye contact. 

Inhalation of benzidine may cause damage to red blood cells and bone marrow depression. Those with already compromised respiratory function (conditions such as emphysema or chronic bronchitis), may suffer further disability following inhalation. People with prior circulatory, nervous system or kidney damage should also take extra precautions when handling the chemical. 

Ingestion of benzidine may cause nausea, vomiting, irregular urination as well as kidney and liver damage. The expected fatal dose is expected to be less than 150g. When ingested at high concentrations, benzidine may be poisonous to the liver and kidneys. 

Prolonged skin exposure to benzidine may result in abrasive damage and good hygiene practices require exposure be kept to a minimum. Other harmful effects may result following entry into the bloodstream, so it is important that the skin is inspected for open cuts or wounds prior to handling the chemical. 

Direct eye exposure to the chemical may cause transient discomfort characterised by tearing and redness. Slight abrasive damage may also result. 

Benzidine Safety

If inhaled, remove the patient from the contaminated area to the nearest fresh air source. Lay the patient down and ensure they are kept warm and rested. If the patient is not breathing and you are qualified to do so, perform CPR, preferably with a bag-valve mask device. Seek medical attention without delay.

If swallowed, urgent hospital treatment is likely to be required. In the meantime, someone qualified in first-aid should treat and observe the patient, ensuring they have a copy of the SDS. If medical attention is more than 15 minutes away, induce vomiting with fingers down the back of the throat, ensuring the patient is leaned forward or placed on their left side to prevent aspiration.

In the event of skin exposure, remove all contaminated clothing, footwear and accessories and flush the affected area with plenty of soap and running water. Seek medical attention in the event of irritation.

If exposed to the eyes, flush the eyes out immediately with fresh running water, remembering to wash under the eyelids. Removal of contact lenses should only be done by a skilled individual. Seek medical attention without delay.

Benzidine Safety Handling

Emergency eye wash fountains and safety showers should be accessible in the immediate area of the potential exposure to the chemical and there should always be adequate ventilation to remove or dilute any air contaminants (install local exhaust if necessary). 

The PPE recommended when handling benzidine includes; safety glasses with side shields, chemical goggles, half face filter type respirators, PVC gloves, full body protective clothing, safety footwear and shoe covers. 

Benzidine has some serious known health effects and it is essential that you are fully aware of these hazards through the SDS before you begin handling the chemical. Click here for a trial of our SDS Management Software or contact us at sa***@ch*******.net for more information about our chemicals management solutions. 

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