The oxidant/fuel combinations used in flame atomic absorption spectroscopy are commonly air/acetylene gas or nitrous-oxide/acetylene gas. Acetylene gas is highly ?ammable and can be potentially explosive.

The sample preparation procedures involved with atomic absorption can present their own hazards, often requiring the handling of flammable, toxic and corrosive products. Make sure you are familiar with the physical, chemical and toxicological properties of these materials and follow the proper safety protocols for each.

Since toxic gas, fumes, and vapors are emitted during operation, atomic absorption equipment must be properly vented.

Addtional safety tips to follow when carrying out atomic absorption analysis include:

1. Wear safety glasses for mechanical protection.

2. Check the integrity of the gas system. Make sure the cylinders are secured to immovable objects and that tubing and connectors do not have gas leaks. Avoid flashbacks from improperly mixed fuel and air.

3. Check the integrity of the burner.

4. Check the integrity of the drain. You should also inspect the drain system regularly, and make sure to empty the drain bottle frequently when running organic solvents.

5. Avoid viewing the flame or furnace during atomization unless wearing protective eyewear.

6. The exhaust vent should be placed over the ?ame to take care of toxic combustion products.

7. Never leave the flame unattended.

8. Make sure a fire extinguisher is located nearby.

9. Allow the burner head to cool to room temperature before handling.

10. Hollow cathode lamps are under negative pressure and should be handled with care and disposed of properly to minimize implosion risks. Also, make sure the lamps are turned off and cool before handling.

Sources:

Northeastern University College of Computer and Information Science, McGill University, CFC StarTech LLC, Galbraith Laboratories