The Institute of Animal Studies, in conjunction with the Department of Environmental Health and Safety, would like to emphasize a few points regarding ether use in the laboratories. By now, everyone should be aware that ether is a hazardous chemical that must only be used in a fume hood.
Anesthesia in a bell jar is not an adequate replacement for a fume hood. All investigators using bell jars to anesthesize animals should use them in a fume hood.
Animals sacrificed via ether or other anesthetics need to be off-gassed. Off-gassing is necessary in order to allow the anesthetic gas to slowly dissipate from the animal. This is accomplished by leaving dead animals in the fume hood overnight. We do not want flammable or explosive vapors in sealed areas such as refrigerators or freezers.
As a reminder, please be aware of the following safety measures when using ether:
- Signs must be located in areas where ether is used (eg. on the fume hood).
- Ether must ALWAYS be used in a chemical fume hood.
- Store ether away from heat, sunlight, and any sources of ignition.
- Ether forms explosive peroxides with age and exposure to sunlight. Any cans of either stored longer than one year must be disposed via the Department of Environmental Health and Safety.
- Minimize the amount of ether stored in the laboratory by ordering smaller quantities.
- Use less hazardous ether substitutes, if available.
If you have any questions, please feel free to call the Department of Environmental Health and Safety at X4150.