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Chemical Safety

Ordering Chemicals and Lab Supplies

See your Administrative staff assistant or contact Procurement for placing orders for laboratory supplies and chemicals. The Chemical Hygiene Officer (CHO) must review and approve all chemcial orders prior to their being placed.

While many supplies may be purchased with a Procard, hazardous material purchases, such as chemicals, are prohibited. In certain circumstances, such as the vendor does not accept POs, and prior to placing the order, you may submit a waiver to the Procard policy for hazardous materials.

Chemical Storage

There are several systems to separate incompatible chemicals for storage. At UAA, we use a color code system developed by JT Baker. A pdf version of the table below is available to label your storage spaces.

Class of Chemical Storage Color  Recommended Storage Method and Additional Concerns Common Chemical Examples Common Incompatibles (Consult Product SDS)
Corrosive Acids - Inorganic White Corrosives cabinet (marked ACID), or on protected shelving and in secondary containment, away from organic acids. *DO NOT store acids on metal shelving. Hydrochloric acid, Sulfuric acid, Phsophoric acid, Nitric acid. *Nitric acid is a strong oxidizing acid and should be stored by itself in secondary containment. Flammable liquids, Flammable solids, Bases, Oxidizers, Organic acids, Cyanides, Sulfides
Corrosive Acids - Organic White Corrosives cabinet (marked ACID), or on protected shelving and in secondary containment, away from inorganic acids. *DO NOT store acids on metal shelving. Acetic acid, Formic acid,  Trichloroacetic acid Flammable liquids, Flammable solids, Bases, Oxidizers, Inorganic acids, Cyanides, Sulfides
Corrosive Bases - Inorganic White Stripe Corrosives cabinet, or on protected shelving, away from acids and organic bases. Ammonium hydroxide, Potassium hydroxide, Sodium carbonate Flammable liquids, Acids, Oxidizers, Organic bases
Corrosive Bases - Organic White Stripe Corrosives cabinet, or on protected shelving, away from acids and inorganic bases.. Hydroxylamine, Tetramethylethylamine diamine, Triethylamine Flammable liquids, Acids, Oxidizers, Hypochlorites, Inorganic bases
Explosives Red Stripe Secure location away from other chemicals, and in areas away from shock or friction. Trinitrotoluene, Picric acid, Diazoisobutylnitrile Consult SDS
Flammable liquids Red Flammable storage cabinet Ethanol, Methanol, Acetone, Xylene, Toluene Oxidizers, Reactives, Acids, Bases
Flammable solids Red Stripe Cool, dry area away from oxidizers and corrosives, or a dedicated flammable cabinet Carbon, Charcoal, Paraformaldehyde, Sodium Laurel (Dodecyl) Sulfate, Magnesium, Powdered metals Acids, Bases, Oxidizers
General Stock Chemicals Orange Laboratory benches, shelving, or cabinets with like chemicals. Sodium bicarbonate, Agar, Amino acids, Sugars, Potassium chloride Consult SDS
Oxidizers Yellow or Yellow Stripe In secondary containment with non-combustibles or inorganic materials. Some may need to be separated from other oxidizers. Perchlorates, Permanganates, Nitrates Flammables, Combustibles, Organic materials
Peroxide-forming Chemicals Red Flammable stroage cabinet. *Remember: Peroxide-forming chemicals MUST be dated upon delivery and opening, and tested for peroxide formation prior to use.  Diethyl ether, Tetrahydrofuran

Oxidizers, Reactives, Acids, Bases. Consult SDS

 Toxic Blue  Cool, dry, ventilated area in a chemical-resistant secondary container. Some may require storage in a locked cabinet. Chloroform, Cyanides, Heavy metal compounds (Lead, Mercury, Cadmium, etc.) Flammable liquids, Acids, Bases, Reactives, Oxidizers
Water Reactive  Red Stripe  Cool, dry location, protected from fire sprinkler system and sources of water. Label area for water-reactive storage. Sodium borohydride, Metallic Sodium, Lithium, Potassium Aqueous solutions, Oxidizers, Water sources

Time-Sensitive Chemicals

Time-sensitive chemicals are products that, when stored improperly or for prolonged periods, can develop hazards which were not present in the original. They may be pure reagents or commercial mixtures formulated as consumer products and other materials of trade. The general categories of time-sensitive chemicals are

  • Peroxide forming chemicals
  • Chemicals that become unstable reactive upon depletion of inhibitor
  • Chemicals that are explosive when dry
  • Gases that are corrosive to their cylinder
  • Chloroform
  • Formic acid
  • Alkali metals