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Oxidizing Chemicals


What Is the Scope of This Guideline?

This Brandeis Safety Operating Procedure applies to all users of oxidizing chemicals. Examples of oxidizers include:

  • Ammonium perchlorate
  • Bromine
  • Chromic acid
  • Dibenzoyl peroxide
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Perchloric acid
  • Sodium perchlorate

Oxidizing chemicals are materials that spontaneously evolve oxygen at room temperature or with slight heating or promote combustion. This class of chemicals includes:

  • Peroxides
  • Chlorates
  • Perchlorates
  • Nitrates
  • Permanganates

Strong oxidizers are capable of forming explosive mixtures when mixed with combustible, organic or easily oxidized materials.

How Do I Protect Myself?

Eye Protection
Personnel handling oxidizing chemicals must wear adequate eye protection. Adequate safety glasses must meet the requirements of the Practice for Occupational and Educational Eye and Face Protection (ANSI Z.87. 1 1989) and must be equipped with side shields. Ordinary prescription glasses do not provide adequate protection unless they meet this standard and are marked as such. Safety glasses with side shields do not provide adequate protection from splashes; therefore, when the potential for splash hazard exists other eye protection and/or face protection must be worn (i.e., splash goggles).

Skin Protection
Gloves should be worn when handling oxidizing chemicals. Disposable nitrile gloves provide adequate protection against accidental hand contact with small quantities of most laboratory chemicals.

Appropriate protective clothing should be worn if the possibility of skin contact is likely. Open-toe shoes are not appropriate when handling chemicals in a laboratory or in other areas where there is a potential for exposure.

Engineering, Ventilation and Administrative Controls

Administrative
Brandeis employees who work with hazardous chemicals must be apprised of the hazards of chemicals present in their work area. This training must be provided before initial assignment to a lab and distribution of keys or must work under supervision before training occurs. Lab personnel need to be trained on how oxidizers react with other materials, the identity and location of oxidizers in the lab, the proper measure to handle and store oxidizers and measures to be used to clean up spills of oxidizers.

Engineering Controls
The use of certain concentrations of perchloric acid must be performed in a fume hood equipped with washdown facilities. The need for safety shielding should be reviewed and utilized any time there is a risk of explosion, splash hazard or a highly exothermic reaction. All manipulations of oxidizing chemicals, which pose this risk, should occur in a fume hood with the sash in the lowest feasible position (18 inches or less).

Special Handling and/or Storage Requirements

Oxidizers should be stored in a cool and dry location. Segregate oxidizers from all other chemicals in the laboratory. Minimize the quantities of strong oxidizers stored in the laboratory.

DO NOT return excess chemicals to the original container. Impurities may be introduced into the container which may cause a fire, explosion or other unwanted event or contamination.

Handling Emergencies Involving Oxidizing Chemicals

Anticipate emergency situations, have proper handling equipment in the lab and readily available for spills. Check the MSDS to determine what is appropriate. Spill control materials for oxidizers are designed to be inert and will not react with the reagent (i.e., Speedy Dry).

In the event of a spill or adverse reaction notify lab personnel immediately that an incident has occurred. Do not attempt to handle a large spill/reaction/fire, or one in which you are not trained or equipped for. Turn off all ignition sources if this can be done safely; vacate the area and call for assistance.

Laboratory emergencies should be reported to the public safety office at ext. 6-3333. Public safety will also contact the Office of Environmental Health and Safety at ext. 6-4262. Communicate the following:

  • Location of spill/incident
  • Type of material involved and quantity
  • Injuries involved
  • Fire/explosion
  • Your location/contact information (or who to contact for further information)

Notify the principal investigator or designated safety officer as soon as possible.

Waste Disposal Requirements

All materials contaminated with oxidizing chemicals pose a fire hazard and should be disposed of as hazardous waste.  If you do not have a waste container, contact the hazardous waste hotline at ext. 6-2561 and leave a message, including your name, location and question.

Disposal requests should be called into the Waste Hotline at ext. 6-2561.

Decontamination Procedures


Wash hands and arms with soap and water immediately after handling any chemical.

Clean work areas carefully when done. Dispose of contaminated material in the hazardous waste storage container. Do not dispose of waste with incompatible material. Paper towels or other similar material may pose a fire risk when contaminated. Proceed with caution when working with oxidizers around other organic material (paper, wood, cloth).