Sciencemadness Discussion Board

N,N'-Diisopropylcarbodiimide [Toxicity]

Rich_Insane - 6-8-2013 at 14:15

Hey guys. I have a question about the toxicity of this compound. I was working with it (doing a TLC to check the purity) under a hood and everything, but at one point I pulled the centrifuge tube out of the hood by mistake to spot the DIC. I didn't really notice anything. There was 200 microliters in the tube. I may have gotten a whiff of the stuff, but it was nothing that stuck in my nose. Then when I pulled the TLC plate out, I had to look at it outside of the hood. In the process, I noticed a strange smell, but again, it wasn't that bad, and it wasn't all too different from the hexane/EtOAc smell that's normal. Maybe a little more pungent. I haven't noticed a whole lot unusual. I have asthma and have had a mild cold for about a week, so I already have slight difficulty breathing. My chest is a little tight, but I'm not wheezing or coughing.

The reason I'm so worried is that some MSDS documents list this as NFPA 4 on toxicity (the highest level), and the bottle says "fatal by inhalation." I'm not usually paranoid about working with reagents in the lab, but anything that merits a 4 on the NFPA diamond for toxicity has to be quite toxic... Should I be worried?

<!-- bfesser_edit_tag -->[<a href="u2u.php?action=send&username=bfesser">bfesser</a>: clarified subject]

[Edited on 6.8.13 by bfesser]

bfesser - 6-8-2013 at 14:55

Nobody here is qualified as a medical doctor or a toxicologist (as far as I'm aware). Seek proper advice from a trained professional. Contact poison control or your physician.
Quote: Originally posted by bfesser  
<strong><a href="viewthread.php?tid=23427">Medical Advice</a></strong>
<strong><a href="" target="_blank">American Association of Poison Control Centers</a></strong> <img src="../scipics/_ext.png" />

[Edited on 6.8.13 by bfesser]

Rich_Insane - 6-8-2013 at 15:04

I would if I experienced the symptoms that are labelled (looked through various MSDS files and a toxicology report by the NTP), but I'm not. I was hoping that someone with experience working with carbodiimide reagents could provide some insight.

Also I work in a hospital, so if I collapse within the next two hours, I won't be far from help.

kristofvagyok - 6-8-2013 at 16:23

We have a 200l barrel of this stuff, just measured out 1l in a glass. I also noticed the odor, but I think I'm going to die from other things. Remember: "You can’t become a chemist and expect to live forever."

Rich_Insane - 6-8-2013 at 21:16

Turns out that DIC is a bit less toxic than DCC (cyclohexyl analogue), because it doesn't appear to interfere with ATPase to the same degree as DCC.

Funny thing is we've been using the stuff as a coupling reagent for ages now, and when I ran the TLC, the impure stuff was our HOBt, not our DIC. Funny because DIC strikes me as a more unstable compound than hydrated HOBt.