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Secondary Containment Guidelines and Regulations

Secondary containment products ensure that when a chemical spill or leakage occurs the spill will be
contained and controlled in a secondary area. Examples include specially designed safety storage cabinets,
spill pallets, spill deck and spill berms. Secondary containment structures are designed to reduce the risk of
chemical exposure, fire, explosion and damage to facilities or the environment. Both Federal and many
State regulatory agencies state that secondary containment must be utilized and that detailed spill control
procedures be adopted for flammable liquids and hazardous chemicals.
OSHA Regulations
Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA 1910.1450
"(b) Stockrooms/storerooms ... Chemicals which are highly toxic ... should be in unbreakable secondary
containers."
"A spill control policy should be developed and should include consid-eration of prevention, containment,
cleanup and reporting."
EPA Regulations
Environmental Protection Agency, EPA 264.175:
"(a) Container storage area must have a containment system that is designed and operated in accordance
with paragraph (b)."
"(b) A containment system must be designed and operated as fol-lows: (1) a base must underlie the
containers which is free of cracks or gaps and is sufficiently impervious to contain leaks, spills.
"(3) The containment system must have sufficient capacity to contain 10% of the volume of containers or
the volume of the largest container whichever is greater."
General Recommendations for storing hazardous materials
Shelves and racks should have enough clearance to accommodate the largest container that allows it to be
removed and returned without tipping. Tipping containers when returning them to shelves, cabinets and
refrigerators may cause the contents to drip or leak.
Limit hazardous materials kept in fume hoods to the amount that is in use or needed for an activity.
Avoid stockpiling chemicals.
Conduct periodic cleanouts to minimize accumulating unwanted chemicals.
Secondary Containment Requirements
Quick Tips #182

Introduction

Secondary containment requirements are addressed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
through the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) contained in title 40 of the Code of Federal
Regulations (CFR) part 264, the 2006 Uniform Fire Code (UFC) in standard 60.3.2.8.3 and in the 2012
International Fire Code (IFC) in 5004.2.

The EPA refers to the need for secondary containment in two different areas: Subpart I, Use and
Management of Containers (40 CFR 264.175), which covers portable storage containers, such as 55-
gallon drums, for hazardous waste, and the second in Subpart J, Tank Systems (40 CFR 264.193), which
covers large stationary containers, such as tank systems, for hazardous waste. Facilities that store
hazardous materials may also be required to meet the either the UFC or IFC depending on what the
locality has adopted.

Throughout this document, the federal secondary containment requirements from the EPA will be listed
along with the UFC and IFC standards. If there is any question regarding compliance, consult with a local
fire marshal for more information.

EPA: Portable Containers

The EPA does not bring secondary containment requirements into context when addressing portable
containers. Instead, they refer only to containment under 40 CFR part 264.175(b). It says that a
containment system must be designed and operated as follows:

1. A base must underlie the containers which is free of cracks or gaps and is sufficiently
impervious to contain leaks, spills and accumulated precipitation until the collected material is
detected and removed.
2. The base must be sloped or the containment system must be otherwise designed and
operated to drain and remove liquids resulting from leaks, spills or precipitation, unless the containers
are elevated or are otherwise protected from contact with accumulated liquids.
3. The containment system must have sufficient capacity to contain 10% of the volume of
containers or the volume of the largest container, whichever is greater. Containers that do not contain
free liquids need not be considered in this determination.
4. Run-on into the containment system must be prevented unless the collection system has
sufficient excess capacity in addition to that required in paragraph (b)(3) of this section to contain any
run-on which might enter the system.
5. Spilled or leaked waste and accumulated precipitation must be removed from the sump or
collection area in as timely a manner as is necessary to prevent overflow of the collection system.

Under 40 CFR part 264.175(c), the EPA also addresses storage areas that store containers holding only
wastes that do not contain free liquids and sets the following provisions for the storage areas:

1. The storage area is sloped or is otherwise designed and operated to drain and remove liquid
resulting from precipitation, or
2. The containers are elevated or are otherwise protected form contact with accumulated liquid.

There are certain wastes for which a storage area alone will not suffice. These waste streams are listed
under 40 CFR part 264.175(d) and require a containment system in addition to the storage area.

EPA: Tank Systems

The EPA specifies under 40 CFR part 264.193(b) that secondary containment systems are required to
prevent any migration of wastes to soil, ground water or surface water during the use of the tank system.
Within this citation, minimum requirements of how the system must be constructed are listed in detail in
paragraph (c):

1. Constructed of or lined with materials that are compatible with the wastes to be placed in the
tank system and must have sufficient strength and thickness to prevent failure owing to pressure
gradients (including static head and external hydrological forces), physical contact with the waste to
which it is exposed, climatic conditions and the stress of daily operation (including stresses from
nearby vehicular traffic).
2. Placed on a foundation or base capable of providing support to the secondary containment
system, resistance to pressure gradients above and below the system and capable of preventing
failure due to settlement, compression or uplift.
3. Provided with a leak-detection system that is designed and operated so that it will detect the
failure of either the primary or secondary containment structure or the presence of any release of
hazardous waste or accumulated liquid in the secondary containment system within 24 hours or at the
earliest practicable time if the owner or operator can demonstrate to the regional administrator that
existing detection technologies or site conditions will not allow detection of a release within 24 hours.
4. Sloped or otherwise designed or operated to drain and remove liquids resulting from leaks,
spills or precipitation. Spilled or leaked waste and accumulated precipitation must be removed from
the secondary containment system within 24 hours, or in as timely a manner as possible to prevent
harm to human health and the environment if the owner or operator can demonstrate to the regional
administrator that removal of the released waste or accumulated precipitation cannot be accomplished
within 24 hours.

Along with the above requirements, a provision has been made that requires that one or more of the
following devices also be implemented:

1. A liner (external to the tank)


2. A vault
3. A double-walled tank
4. An equivalent device as approved by the regional administrator

These four devices need to meet rather stringent specifications. As an example, an external liner must be:

1. Designed or operated to contain 100% of the capacity of the largest tank within its boundary.
2. Designed or operated to prevent run-on or infiltration of precipitation into the secondary
containment system unless the collection system has sufficient excess capacity to contain run-on or
infiltration. Such additional capacity must be sufficient to contain precipitation from a 25-year, 24-hour
rainfall event.
3. Free of cracks or gaps.
4. Designed and installed to surround the tank completely and to cover all surroundings likely to
come into contact with the waste if the waste is released from the tank(s) (i.e., capable of preventing
lateral as well as vertical migration of the waste).

UFC/IFC: Secondary Containment

Both the UFC and IFC cover secondary containment requirement standards for facilities that store
hazardous materials and not just hazardous wastes that are the focus of the EPA standards. The UFC
and IFC are very similar, except the IFC goes into more detail in regards to outdoor design of secondary
containment, monitoring and drainage systems. Both state that buildings or portions thereof, used for any
of the following shall be provided with secondary containment to prevent the flow of liquids to adjoining
areas:

1. Storage of liquids (including corrosive, flammable, toxic and combustible) where the capacity
of an individual vessel exceeds 55 gallons (208L) or the aggregate capacity of multiple vessels
exceeds 1000 gallons (3785L)
2. Storage of solids where the capacity of an individual vessel exceeds 550 lb. (248 kg) or the
aggregate capacity of multiple vessels exceeds 10,000 lb. (4524 kg)

UFC/IFC: Indoor Storage Areas

The UFC and IFC differs from the EPA because it states that the secondary containment for indoor
storage areas must contain a spill from the largest vessel plus the flow volume of fire protection water
calculated to discharge from the fire-extinguishing system over the area in which the storage is located for
a period of 20 minutes. It also mentions that incompatible materials shall be separated from each other in
secondary containment systems.

IFC: Outdoor Storage Areas

The IFC mentions outdoor secondary storage areas that follow the EPA tank system design stating that
they shall be designed to contain a spill from the largest individual vessel. If the area is open to rainfall, it
shall be capable of containing the volume of a 24-hour rainfall as determined by a 25-year storm. The
UFC does not mention outdoor storage areas.

UFC/IFC: Drainage

Both the UFC and IFC state that secondary containment shall be achieved by means of drainage control
to prevent the discharge of liquids to public waterways, public sewers or adjoining properties. The building
room or area shall contain or drain the hazardous materials and fire protection water through the use of
one of the following methods:

1. Liquid-tight, sloped or recessed floors in indoor locations or similar areas in outdoor locations
2. Liquid-tight floors in indoor locations or similar areas in outdoor locations with liquid-tight,
raised or recessed sills or dikes
3. Sumps and collection systems
4. Drainage systems leading to an approved location

The IFC adds to this, stating the slope of floors shall not be less than 1%, drains for indoor storage areas
shall be sized to carry the volume of the fire protection water as determined and drains for outdoor
storage areas shall be sized to carry the volume of the fire flow and the volume of a 24-hour rainfall as
determined by a 25-year storm.

UFC/IFC: Monitoring

The UFC and IFC state that an approved method shall be provided to detect hazardous materials in the
secondary containment system, but the IFC further mentions that a visual inspection is allowable and that
detection for water in secondary containment systems must be provided if subject to water intrusion.
Monitoring devices shall be connected to an approved visual or audible alarm.

Choosing a Containment System

When selecting a containment system for an application, many issues need to be considered. A list of
issues and some things to contemplate are listed below.

1. Is the system chemically compatible with the products being stored?


a. Containment system sumps are primarily constructed of one or two materials: high-
density polyethylene and steel.
b. Polyethylene skids usually have material choices for grids or platforms. The choice of
material depends on chemical resistance as well as disposability of the product. Examples include:
i. Wood platforms: Once contaminated, they are disposed of according to local
regulations.
ii. Fiberglass grids: Compatible with a wide variety of chemicals, but not suitable
for corrosive materials.
iii. Polyethylene grids: Compatible with a wide variety of chemicals including
many corrosive materials.
2. How will the system be monitored and cleaned?
a. Most units have drains. If they don't, usually a spill cleanup kit will be adequate to
clean up the internal sump area of the system.
3. What volume and weight of the containers will be stored?
a. According to federal codes, a containment system must have a sufficient capacity to
contain 10% of the volume of the containers or the volume of the largest container, whichever is
greater. Some states may have more stringent restrictions and you should contact your local fire
marshal for your local requirement.
b. Containment systems are commonly rated with a static weight capacity. This is a
weight in a stationary mode.
4. How often will the containment system be moved? How will it be moved?
a. Portable containment units are intended to be moved without containers on them. This
is the safest mode of transport. The containers can be replaced once the containment system has
reached its destination.
b. Most portable containment systems are constructed with fork pockets. These are
designed to accept and be moved by forklifts.
5. How will the containers be loaded onto the system?
a. Ramps that accommodate containment systems are the easiest way to load a system.
Low-profile containment systems have also been developed to address the loading issues.
6. How many containers will be loaded on the system?
a. Portable containment systems range from accommodating four 5-gallon pails to one
55-gallon drum to whole-room containment systems for drums. Make sure when dealing with
flammable products and the larger containment systems that your local fire codes are met. There are
restrictions for quantities of flammable products that can be stored in one area depending on the class
of the flammable product.
7. Are any of the products being stored considered flammable?
a. Special provisions need to be taken into account, such as grounding and bonding and
the amount of flammable product being stored in one area. Check into local codes for these
specifications.
8. What are the state and local codes for secondary containment in your area?
a. A listing of the regional EPA offices can be found on EPA website. Phone numbers of
divisions that deal with secondary containment are listed. The regional office can refer to state EPA
agencies that can explain state codes. Another source for secondary containment requirements is your
local fire marshal.

Definitions

The following are some related terms as defined by the EPA and UFC.

Container: Any portable device, in which a material is stored, transported, treated, disposed of or
otherwise handled. Any vessel of 60 gallons (227L) or less capacity used for transporting or storing
hazardous materials.

Containment building: A hazardous waste management unit that is used to store or treat hazardous
waste under the provisions of subpart DD of parts 264 or 265 of title 40.

Leak-detection system: A system capable of detecting the failure of either the primary or secondary
containment structure or the presence of a release of hazardous waste or accumulated liquid in the
secondary containment structure. Such a system must employ operational controls (e.g., daily visual
inspections for releases into the secondary containment system of aboveground tanks) or consist of an
interstitial monitoring device designed to detect continuously and automatically the failure of the primary
or secondary containment structure of the presence of a release of hazardous waste into the secondary
containment structure.

Liner: A continuous layer of natural or man-made materials, beneath or on the sides of a surface
impoundment, landfill or landfill cell, which restricts the downward or lateral escape of hazardous waste,
hazardous waste constituents or leachate.

Portable tank: Any packaging over 60 gallons (227L) capacity and designed primarily to be loaded
into, on or temporarily attached to a transport vehicle or ship and equipped with skids, mounting or
accessories to facilitate handling or the tank by mechanical means. It does not include any cylinder
having less than a 1000 lb. water capacity, cargo tank, tank car tank or trailers carrying cylinders of over
1000 lb. water capacity.

Primary containment: The first level of containment, consisting of the inside portion of that container
which comes into immediate contact on its inner surface with the material being contained.

Secondary containment: That level of containment that is external to and separate from the primary
containment.
Stationary tank: Packaging designed primarily for stationary installations not intended for loading,
unloading or attachment to a transport vehicle as part of its normal operation in the process of use. It
does not include cylinders having less than 1000 lb. water capacity.

Sump: Any pit or reservoir that meets the definition of a tank and those troughs/trenches connected to it
that serve to collect hazardous waste for transport to hazardous waste storage, treatment or disposal
facilities; except that as used in the landfill, surface impoundment and waste pile rules, sump: means any
lined pit or reservoir that serves to collect liquids drained from a leachate collection and removal system
or leak detection system for subsequent removal from the system.

Sources

www.epa.gov

Secondary containment product options

Secondary Containment for


Liquids
Store all hazardous liquid chemicals in secondary containment, such as drip trays.
This is to minimize the impact and spread of a spill resulting from broken/leaking
containers. Tray capacity must be 100% of the largest container.

Drip trays are available in different materials which provide varying resistance to
chemical attack. It is important to use chemical resistance data to select the proper
material when using plastic drip trays. This is discussed in more detail below. Avoid
using aluminum roasting pans. They do not offer good resistance to corrosive
chemicals such as acids and alkali bases. Moreover, disposable roasting pans are
flimsy and will develop cracks and tears.

Photo trays

Generally, these provide good resistance for aqueous solutions and some organic
solvents, but may not be a good choice for halogenated solvents

Photo trays are available through several commercial sources, including VWR
Scientific. An additional source of spill containment trays is Scientific Plastics. This
company provides trays in several depths, with width and length in 1 increments.

Polypropylene and Hi Density Polyethylene

These are subject to attack by some aromatic and halogenated hydrocarbons.

The Nalgene website has a chemical resistance database for these materials

Stainless Steel and Pyrex

Stainless steel and Pyrex trays are resistant to a broader spectrum of chemicals.
However they are more costly than plastic trays and arent available in as many
different sizes and configurations.

Glass trays or beakers are required as secondary containment under perchloric acid

Segregation and Storage of


Chemicals According to
Hazard Class
There are a number of different strategies for storing solid and liquid chemicals
ranging from extremely complicated (over 24 compatibility groups) to extremely
simple (alphabetical- easy, but unwise). GT EHS requires that chemicals be stored
by simple compatibility group:

Acids

Bases

Flammables

Oxidizers

Water Reactives

Air Reactives (Pyrophorics)

Extremely Toxic.

Chemical storage guidelines are presented below. Use these to segregate and store
chemicals according to their hazard class. This prevents an undesirable chemical
reaction from occurring should two or more chemicals accidently mix. Consult
sources such as the substances Material Safety Data Sheet for specific storage
guidelines.

Show Chemical Incompatibility Matrix

Show Acids

Show Bases

Show Flammable and Combustible Liquids

Show Oxidizers

Show Water Reactives


Show Air Reactives (Pyrophorics)

Show Extremely Toxic Chemicals

Show Peroxide Forming Chemicals

HideChemical Incompatibility Matrix


The chemical incompatibilities shown below are not exhaustive. As a result, it is important
for Laboratory personnel to research the properties of the chemicals they are using. Use
sources such as MSDSs for guidance on chemical incompatibility. Also ensure you read
the container's label it should also have storage guidelines.
cids, Acids, Acids, Alkalis Poisons, Poisons, Water-
Oxidizers
organic oxidizing organic (bases) inorganic organic reactives

X X X X X

X X X X X

X X X X X X

X X X X

X X X

X X X X

X X X X X

X X X X X

X X X X

X = Not compatibledo not store together

HideAcids
Storage requirements are provided below. Consult the chemicals Material Safety Data
Sheet for specific storage and incompatibility.

Store acids and bases separately from each other and from other incompatible chemicals.
For example, store oxidizing acids (such as nitric, perchloric, and sulfuric acids) separately from
combustible and flammable liquids/materials.
Segregate acids from reactive metals such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium.

Nitric acid and hydrochloric acid may be stored in the same corrosive storage cabinet, but
they must be kept in separate drip trays. These can combine to form chlorine and nitrosyl
chloride gasesboth are toxic.

Segregate organic acids (acetic, formic, etc.) from mineral acids (nitric, hydrochloric,
etc) by use of separate secondary containers. These acids are combustible and will react if they
come in contact with an oxidizing acid.

Segregate acids from chemicals that could generate toxic or flammable gases upon
contact, such as sodium cyanide, iron sulfide and calcium carbide.

Store in a cool, dry environment free from extremes of temperature and humidity.

Store in sealed, air-impermeable containers. Containers with tight-fitting caps are


necessary. Containers with loose-fitting lids or glass stoppers should not be used.

Do not store piranha etch (a mixture of 98% sulfuric acid and 30% hydrogen peroxide in
ratios ranging from 2-4:1) , aqua regia (1:3 mixture of concentrated nitric and hydrochloric
acids), or Nitol (a mixture of nitric acid and ethanol that becomes explosive if the nitric acid
exceeds 10%). Make these solutions just prior to use and dispose of left over material with the
process waste in a vent-able container. (See Waste)

Use storage cabinets specifically designed for corrosives. These should be connected to
exhaust ventilation whenever possible. Usually, at least one of the cabinets directly under the
fume hood will be passively connected to the fume hood exhaust.

Use secondary containment for all liquids. Do not store aqueous sodium and potassium
hydroxide solutions in aluminum drip trays. These will corrode aluminum and compromise its
integrity.
HideBases
Storage requirements are provided below: Consult the chemicals MSDS for specific
storage and incompatibility.

Segregate bases from acids, metals, explosives, organic peroxides and easily ignitable
materials.

Do not store aqueous sodium and potassium hydroxide solutions in aluminum drip trays.
These will corrode aluminum.

Store in a cool, dry environment free from extremes of temperature and humidity.
Store in sealed, air-impermeable containers. Containers with tight-fitting caps are
necessary. Containers with loose-fitting lids or glass stoppers should not be used.

Use storage cabinets specifically designed for corrosives. These should be connected to
exhaust ventilation whenever possible. Usually, at least one of the cabinets directly under the
fume hood will be passively connected to the fume hood exhaust.

Use secondary containment for all liquids. Do not store aqueous sodium and potassium
hydroxide solutions in aluminum drip trays. These will corrode aluminum and compromise its
integrity.
HideFlammable and Combustible Liquids
Flammable and combustible chemicals include liquids such as organic solvents, oils,
greases, tars, oil base paints, and lacquers, as well as flammable gases. Flammable gases
are discussed in the Georgia Tech Dangerous Gas Safety Program .

The emphasis of this section is on flammable and combustible liquids.

Flammable and combustible liquids are defined by their flash points. The flash point of a
liquid is the minimum temperature at which it gives off sufficient vapor to form an
ignitable mixture with the air near its surface or within its containment vessel. A liquids
flash point is a function of its vapor pressure and boiling point. Generally, the higher the
vapor pressure and the lower the boiling point of a liquid, the lower its flash point will be.
The lower the flash point, the greater the fire and explosion hazard

Flammable and combustible liquids are classified by the National Fire Protection
Association (NFPA) based on their flash points:

Flammable Liquids (Class I):


Liquids with flash points below 100F (37.8C) and vapor pressures not exceeding 40
pounds per square inch (absolute) at 100F (37.8C). Flammable Class I liquids are
subdivided as follows:

Class IA: Liquids having flash points below 73F (22.8C) and boiling points below
100F (37.8C). Flammable aerosols (spray cans) are included in Class IA. (These are 4 on an
NFPA Diamond)

Class IB: Liquids having flash points below 73F (22.8C) and having boiling points at
or above 100F (37.8C). (These are a 3 on an NFPA Diamond)

Class IC: Liquids having flash points at or above 73F (22.8C) and below 100F
(37.8C). The boiling point is not considered. (Also a 3 on an NFPA Diamond)

Combustible Liquids (Classes II and III):


Liquids having flash points at or above 100F (37.8C). Combustible liquids in Classes II
and III are subdivided as follows:

Class II: Liquids having flash points at or above 100F (37.8C) and below 140F
(60.0C).

Class IIIA: Liquids having flash points at or above 140F (60.0C) and below 200F
(93.4C).
Storage requirements are provided below. Consult the chemicals Material Safety Data
Sheet for specific storage and incompatibility.

ShowFlammable Storage Lockers and RefrigeratorsShowFlammable and Combustible Storage


ContainersShowGravity-Dispensing Flammable Liquids
HideOxidizers
Oxidizers are compounds that supply their own oxygen and heat (ignition source) when in
contact with organic compounds. These are chemicals that can react vigorously and
explode.

Common oxidizing liquids and solids include:

bromine

bromates

chlorinated isocyanurates

chlorates

chromates

dichromates

hydroperoxides

hypochlorites

inorganic peroxides

ketone peroxides

nitrates

nitric acid
nitrites

perborates

perchlorates

perchloric acid

periodates

permanganates

peroxides

peroxyacids

persulphates
Storage requirements are provided below. Consult the chemicals Material Safety Data
Sheet for specific storage and incompatibility.

Store in noncombustible secondary containment (glass). Do not store directly on


combustible shelving.

Keep away from combustible and flammable materials.

Keep away from reducing agents such as zinc, alkali metals, and formic acid.
HideWater Reactives
Water reactives are chemicals that react with water, sometimes violently, and may produce
toxic or flammable gases. Examples of water reactive substances include sodium,
potassium, and phosphorous pentachloride.

Storage requirements are provided below. Consult the chemicals MSDS for specific
storage and incompatibility.

Store in a cool, dry place, away from any water source.

Make certain that a Class D fire extinguisher is available in case of fire.

Separate alkali metals from incompatible chemicals. In addition to being water-reactive,


alkali metals can also react with oxygen, acids, halogenated hydrocarbons, and carbon dioxide).
Consult the MSDS for specific storage guidelines.

Store all metals in the container provided by the manufacturer.


Store alkali metals under mineral oil or in an inert atmosphere. NOTE: Lithium may react
with nitrogen. Containers should be stored in a cool, dry environment, away from light and free
from extremes of temperature and humidity.

Use secondary containment


HideAir Reactives (Pyrophorics)
Pyrophorics are chemicals that will ignite spontaneously in air at temperatures 130oF
(54.4oC) or less. Titanium chloride and white phosphorous are examples of solid
pyrophorics; t butyl lithium and tributylaluminum are examples of pyrophoric liquids.

Storage requirements are provided below. Consult the chemicals MSDS for specific
storage and incompatibility.

If in original (unopened) container, store in a cool, dry place, making provisions for an
airtight seal.

Store in a glove box under an inert atmosphere after the container has been opened.
HideExtremely Toxic Chemicals
Extremely toxic chemicals are chemicals that have a Lethal Dose 50 Percent (LD50) of 5
milligrams or less per kilogram (mg/kg) of test animal body weight. (Seven drops or a
taste to a human.) LD50 is defined as the dose at which 50% of the test animals died,
usually within 1-2 hours. These chemicals are so toxic that their use and location must be
accounted for at all times. These chemicals will be segregated according to their physical
properties, (acid, base, flammable) but with the additional requirement of that they must be
kept in a locked cabinet (or refrigerator) inside a locked lab. The PI or Lab Manager must
be responsible for the key and there must be a sign out sheet to document who uses the
material and how much. Examples of chemicals with a LD50 < 5 mg/kg include puffer
fish toxin and botulism toxin.

HidePeroxide Forming Chemicals


Peroxide formation in common laboratory chemicals is caused by an autoxidation reaction.
The reaction can be initiated by light, heat, introduction of a contaminant, or the loss of an
inhibitor. Some chemicals have inhibitors such as BHT (2,6-di-tert-butyl-4-methyl phenol)
hydroquinone and diphenylamine to slow peroxide formation. Most organic peroxide
crystals are sensitive to heat, shock, or friction, and their accumulation in laboratory
reagents has resulted in numerous explosions. For this reason, it is important to identify
and control chemicals that form potentially explosive peroxides.

In general, the more volatile the compound, the greater its hazard, since the evaporation of
the compound allows the peroxide to concentrate. Peroxide accumulation is a balance
between peroxide formation and degradation. Some common compounds that are known to
form peroxides are listed in the following table. NOTE: This is not an exhaustive list.
Researchers must consult the MSDSs and other sources of information for the chemicals
used in their work areas to determine their peroxide-forming potential. Group A are
chemicals that spontaneously form peroxides on exposure to air without further
concentration or evaporation. These materials should be tested or disposed of within three
months of opening (testing is discussed later in this section). Group B lists chemicals that
form peroxides only upon concentration by evaporation or distillation. The materials in
this list should be tested or disposed of within one year of opening their containers. Group
C is a representative list of monomers that form peroxides that may act as a catalyst,
resulting in explosive polymerization.

ShowGroup A: Chemicals That Form Explosive Levels of Peroxides Without


ConcentrationShowGroup B: Chemicals That Form Explosive Levels of Peroxides on
ConcentrationShowGroup C: Chemicals That May Autopolymerize as a Result of Peroxide
Accumulation
Notes

1. When stored as a liquid monomer.

2. Although these form peroxides, no explosions involving these monomers have been
reported.

3. Also stored as a gas in gas cylinders.

4. Kelly, R.J., Review of Safety Guidelines for Peroxidizable Organic Chemicals, Chemical
Health and Safety, September/October, 1996.

5. National Research Council, Prudent Practices in the Laboratory, Handling and Disposal
of Chemicals; National Academy Press; Washington, D.C., 1999.

6. Clark, D.E., Peroxides and Peroxide-Forming Compounds, Chemical Health and Safety,
September/October, 2001.

7. This material is peroxidizable but not dangerous unless distilled or concentrated. Testing
(see Peroxide Testing Method) is required only prior to distillation or concentration.
Storage requirements are provided below. Consult the chemicals Material Safety Data
Sheet for specific storage and incompatibility

DO NOT TOUCH OR DISTURB A PEROXIDE FORMER THAT HAS VISIBLE


CRYSTALS as the crystals are explosive and are shock, friction, and heat sensitive- call EHS at
4-6224 for help in removing.

Label bottles with date received and date opened as this is essential in assessing the level
of hazard that the material poses.

Most peroxide forming chemicals are also flammable liquids: Follow the storage
guidelines in Flammable and Combustible Liquids (above) if the material is either flammable or
combustible.
Store in airtight containers in a flammable storage locker.

Segregate from oxidizers and acids.

Store peroxide-forming chemicals in a cool, dry environment, away from light and free
from extremes of temperature and humidity.

All peroxide-forming chemicals should be stored in sealed, air-impermeable containers.


Dark amber glass containers with tight-fitting caps are required. Containers with loose-fitting
lids or glass stoppers should not be used.

Use secondary containment for all liquids.


ShowSafe Storage TimesShowPeroxide TestingShowDisposal of Peroxide FormersShowSpills of
Peroxide Formers