Reactives & Peroxide Forming Chemicals

Reactives & Peroxide Forming Chemicals

Potentially explosive peroxides can form if some chemicals are kept beyond their expiration date. A special team must remotely open every expired peroxide former individually.

This "High Hazard Team" is very costly and these charges can easily be avoided if you dispose of your peroxide forming chemicals (PFC) before the expiration date. There is a $65 recharge for each PFC that is disposed of beyond the expiration date. PFC normally will not start forming these explosive peroxides if they are not expired. As long as we receive PFC before their expiration date, there will be no extra charges. It is important for you, the user, to keep a record of when these PFC will expire so you will not have to pay any additional disposal costs.

Precautions for Handling Peroxide Forming Chemicals and Reactive Chemicals

  • Lab managers should be aware of the storage and handling requirements of all peroxide forming chemicals and reactive chemicals.
  • Ensure staff members are properly trained.
  • Purchase quantities that can be used in the short term.
  • Ensure all reactive chemicals are labeled with the chemical name, appropriate warnings and expiration date.
  • If the material is transferred to a container make sure the new container is labeled.
  • Dispose of all peroxide-forming chemicals and reactives once they can no longer be used, before they reach their expiration date, or if testing shows the presence of peroxides.
  • Do not move potentially explosive waste such as dry picric acid or expired peroxide forming liquids. Call the campus Facilities Department for disposal.
  • Minimize the quantity of peroxides kept in the lab. Purchase quantities that can be used in the short term.
  • Carefully review all cautionary material supplied by the manufacturer prior to use.
  • Segregate these compounds from others that could create a serious hazard to life or property should an accident occur.
  • Segregate reactive chemicals and store in a secondary container.
  • Inspect and test peroxide-forming chemicals periodically.
  • Never return unused quantities back to the container (contamination!).
  • Cleanup all spills immediately.
  • Dilution of the organic peroxide with the appropriate inert solvent (aliphatic hydrocarbons, as an example) helps to reduce the sensitivity of the peroxide to shock and heat.
  • Avoid evaporation or distillation!
  • Avoid contact with any metal source, such as spatulas, because metals can promote explosive decomposition. Use wood or ceramic instead.
  • Do not open ethers or reactive materials that are past their expiration dates.
  • Do not open or move containers of dry picric acid.
  • Do not open a liquid organic peroxide or peroxide former if crystals or a precipitate are present.
  • Prohibit use of ignition sources in the area of peroxide.
  • Avoid all sources of friction and grinding. This includes the use of glass containers with screw on caps (crystals may form in the threads) or glass stoppers (glass against glass friction).
  • Store peroxidizable materials away from heat and sun.
  • Store peroxides at the lowest possible temperature consistent with their solubility or freezing point.
  • Do not freeze or cause the peroxide to precipitate out, however, since this is the most dangerous state!
  • Dispose of all peroxide-forming chemicals and reactives once they can no longer be used, before they reach their expiration date, or if testing shows the presence of peroxides.
  • Do not move potentially explosive waste such as dry picric acid or expired peroxide forming liquids.
Call the Facilities Department for disposal options.
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