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I use TTX quite a lot and know it's highly toxic. Looking at the SDS however it's classed as Category 2 for acute inhalation toxicity which seems a bit surprising. It would be expected that this product would be at least as toxic by inhalation as by oral or dermal routes given that it's partially broken in the stomach.
Asked on Jan 17 2013
Despite extensive checking, including the RTECS database, we can find no toxicity data for inhalation (or skin contact) for TTX. In theory, we are not obliged to include any classification for these routes of entry if no data can be found. Obviously, we think it prudent to include the inhalation and skin contact hazards according to our judgement to make sure we give an indication that we believe TTX to be extremely toxic by all entry routes and not just by ingestion. It is worth noting that some suppliers only include the warning: ‘fatal by ingestion, might be irritating to the respiratory tract, might be irritating to the skin’.
If we were to classify TTX as category 1 by inhalation that would preclude the shipment of this material by air as the material would fall outside of ‘Dangerous Goods in Excepted Quantities’. So we have taken the following pragmatic approach:
The oral LD50 for a mouse is 334ug/kg and if this scales directly to a human, then 25mg would kill a 75kg man. If the inhalation route of entry has a similar level of toxicity (not unreasonable since both inhalation and ingestion require absorption through a moist membrane) then we do not sell TTX in sufficient quantities to prove fatal. Furthermore, the inhalation mode of entry requires (for a solid) the material to be in the form of an aerosol (dust or mist) and we feel that supplied as a lyophilised solid (generally stuck to the inside of the vial) then our product, a reasonably high molecular weight (319), low volatility solid is unlikely to be encountered in this form when handled using Good Laboratory Practices.
We believe that our SDS accurately conveys the hazard potential of this product and as it is intended solely for use in a laboratory, by trained personnel the likelihood of exposure to a fatal level is extremely remote.
Answered on Jan 17 2013