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Trizol Splashes on Researcher’s Face, Chest, and Neck during RNA Extraction

What Happened?

During an RNA extraction procedure a researcher splashed approximately 500 µl of Trizol (a commercially available phenol solution) on his face, chest, and neck. The researcher immediately rinsed his face and neck for roughly 15 minutes before informing his supervisor of the incident. The supervisor instructed the researcher to visit the Occupational Health Facility for further medical evaluation. At the time of the accident, the researcher was wearing gloves and a lab coat, and was performing the task in a fume hood but he was not wearing eye protection.

What Was The Cause?

The direct cause of this incident was not made public; however, Trizol is commonly used for RNA extractions. Trizol can spill out during the mixing process if tubes are not closed completely.

What Corrective Actions Were Taken?

  • Review handling of Trizol or Phenol during RNA extractions
  • Review SOP for Trizol or for phenol and thiocyanate, both toxic substances contained in Trizol
  • Refresher PPE training

How Can Incidents Like This Be Prevented?

  • When extracting with Trizol or other phenol products, make sure that the microfuge tubes are completely closed
  • Work in the chemical fume hood and shake the tubes behind a shield
  • Wear PPE recommended for work with phenol including safety glasses and face shield, neoprene (double glove), viton or vinyl gloves




When Trizol splashes on your skin:

  1. Immediately flush affected area for at least 15 minutes
  2. Get medical attention if necessary
  3. Report the incident to your supervisor


Trizol or Phenol 

Extremely hazardous to skin (rapidly absorbs, causes burns), eyes (can cause lacrimation and blindness), highly toxic when inhaled or ingested