Reagent Alcohol, Absolute
This substance is a clear, colorless liquid that is made of a variety of alcohols, including ethyl, methyl, and isopropyl alcohol. Ethyl is the base of this substance, comprising up to 90% of its chemical makeup. It is highly soluble in water and produces a slight alcoholic odor. The fumes emitted from this substance can irritate the lungs and the eyes, and it is highly flammable.
The primary purpose of reagent alcohol is for preparation of tissues for histology and cytology. These are the studies of biological cells under a microscope. To ensure that the samples are properly dehydrated and preserved, reagent alcohol along with other chemicals are used.
Reagent Alcohol Absolute is slightly toxic to humans, so it must be handled with proper eye and mouth protection, as well as gloves. Because it is highly flammable and can evaporate quickly, it cannot be stored next to other combustible materials.