Osmium Oxide

osmium oxide is a colorless, crystalline solid or pale-yellow liquid that has a pungent odor of chlorine. This substance is toxic by inhalation and has a strong irritant effect on the eyes, skin, and mucous membranes.

It is used as an oxidizing agent, a poison, a fixative and a histological dye. It is also a chemical stain and is used in transmission electron microscopy (TEM) to provide contrast to the image.

This material is extremely toxic to be exposed to in large amounts; it may cause severe injury or even death. It can be vaporized or inhaled and should be handled with great care.

It can also be absorbed through the skin, mouth, and stomach. Exposure to osmium oxide can lead to a number of serious health effects, including cancer.

Occupational exposure to osmium oxide can also be dangerous. This is due to the fact that this compound is readily reduced by organic matter and is released through various waste streams(SRC).

As an oxidation catalyst, osmium tetroxide is a potentially dangerous substance. It can be released in many ways, such as from copper smelters that reach waste water streams. It is likely that the untreated osmium tetroxide would be rapidly reduced by organic matter to nontoxic osmium metal or osmium dioxide, which would settle out in the sediment of the water course. For this reason, osmium tetroxide should not be disposed in saw-dust or other combustible absorbents. It should be swept into containers and stored in a safe place until it can be safely removed.