Washington State University
Environmental Health & Safety General Safety Information

General Safety Information

Prudent Practices in the Laboratory NRC 1995 is used to cite policy references by state and federal agencies responsible for laboratory safety. Many of these general hygiene practices are typically unspecified in laws and regulations. Therefore, the following information has been provided to assist in the development of your Chemical Hygiene Plan.


  • Ingestion
    Laboratory workers must be protected from inadvertent ingestion of hazardous materials.  Food and beverages are not permitted to be stored or consumed in any laboratory where there is a potential of contamination with chemical, radioactive, or biological hazardous materials. After handling hazardous materials, protective clothing and gloves should be removed, and any potentially contaminated body surface (such as hands) should be thoroughly washed prior to consumption of food or beverages. Application of cosmetics, such as hand lotion, etc., are also strongly discouraged. Glassware or utensils that have been used for laboratory operations shall not be used to prepare or consume food or beverages.

    Laboratory refrigerators and cold or heated rooms shall not be used for food or beverage storage.

  • Mouth Suction
    Mouth suction must never be used to pipette chemicals or to start a siphon. Use a pipette bulb, aspirator bulb, or another source of vacuum for procedures requiring suction of materials.
  • Smoking
    Smoking is prohibited on all WSU campus locations, including laboratories. After handling hazardous materials, hands and face should be washed prior to smoking in an off-campus area. See SPPM 6.10 – Smoking, Tobacco and Nicotine Use.
  • Eye Protection
    Laboratory workers must be protected from hazardous materials. Eyes require protection from chemicals in all forms. In addition, other potential eye hazards include impact of shattered glass or other projectiles, which may be generated during the handling of glassware or through grinding, burnishing or cutting procedures used in processing laboratory materials or other tasks.

    • Goggles or face shields designed to protect the eyes and/or face from chemical splash shall be used whenever there is risk of splash or release of caustic or corrosive materials. Proper eye/face protection must also be used whenever a liquid containing toxic materials which can be absorbed through body surfaces is used (the eye is especially sensitive to absorption).
    • Goggles, glasses or face shields designed to protect the eyes and/or face from impact from grinding, welding or potential failure of glassware and other anticipated projectiles shall be used whenever a risk of such damage is present in a laboratory.
    • Contact lenses use must be evaluated in relation to the hazard and at a minimum chemical splash goggles worn in all circumstances to protect the eyes. The Laboratory supervisor and/or PI should be informed of contact lens use.
  • Skin Exposure
    Laboratory workers must be protected from skin exposure to hazardous materials and from sharp utensils, glassware, and other mechanical or equipment hazards. At a minimum, laboratory coats or aprons and long pants that extend to the top of the shoes shall be worn when handling hazardous materials. Laboratory coats shall be buttoned to minimize chemical exposure to skin and/or clothing.
  • Feet
    Proper foot coverings must always be worn in laboratories. Closed toed shoes are required to minimize the exposure of skin to possible hazardous materials in the laboratory or work are.  If heavy items or glassware is handled, the employee should have foot covering designed to prevent damage (e.g. rubber, steel toed etc).
  • Hands
    Gloves should be worn by laboratory employees to protect hands. The appropriate glove for the task must be chosen by referring to the manufacturers glove guide. Double-layering of gloves (one kind of glove worn over another) should be considered when mixtures of hazardous chemicals are handled, or when highly hazardous materials are handled. Double-layering of gloves should also be considered when hazards associated with both chemical toxicity and sharp or abrasive equipment are present. The inner glove is designed to protect against chemical contact with the skin and the outer glove is a sturdy glove designed to resist puncture and abrasion. See Appendix F – Glove Information.
  • Gloves
    The following guidelines apply to the selection and use of protective gloves. Refer to the manufacturers guidelines in order to chose a glove made of a material known to be resistant to the substances in use.  Wearing the wrong type of glove can be more hazardous than wearing no gloves at all, because if a chemical seeps through, the glove can hold it in prolonged contact with the wearer’s hand.

    • Inspect gloves for small holes or tears before use.
    • Wash gloves appropriately before removing them.  (Note: some gloves, e.g., leather and polyvinyl alcohol, are water-permeable.)
    • In order to prevent the unintentional spread of hazardous substances, remove gloves and wash hands before handling objects such as doorknobs, telephones, pens, computer keyboards, etc.
    • Replace gloves periodically, depending on the frequency of use and their permeation and degradation characteristics relative to the substances handled. (See Appendix F – Glove Information for links to various manufacturers’ Glove Compatibility Charts)
  • Jewelry and loose clothing
    Jewelry may interfere with proper glove use and should not be worn with gloves. Necklaces, neckties, scarfs, bracelets, and other loose items may be damaged by chemicals, or may be caught in laboratory equipment, and therefore should not be worn in laboratories.
  • Hair
    Long hair should be tied back or secured when working in a laboratory to reduce the risk of it becoming caught in laboratory equipment or being contaminated by chemicals.


Chemicals used in laboratories have a variety of hazards associated with them. Some chemicals present a high degree of toxicity, or present a danger to laboratory workers because they are explosive, highly flammable, or corrosive to tissue.

  • Reactive/Explosive
    Unstable chemicals such as those classified as Class A Explosives (e.g., picric acid), highly reactive (e.g., strong reducing agents [sodium metal]) or oxidizing agents (e.g., perchloric acid), or chemicals which, over time, form explosive peroxides, must be inventoried. Class A Explosives are stabilized by the addition of water and become unstable when dehydration occurs. Dehydration or exposure to reducing agents may concentrate the material allowing it to become sensitive to heat and impact. When new chemical stocks are received by the laboratory, they should be dated and periodically inspected at intervals no greater than 6 months to insure storage compatibility and the integrity of the chemical substance.

    If during periodic inspection, any contamination of the chemical is noted, if it has become discolored or other physical characteristics have changed, do not move the material, and contact EH&S immediately at 335-3041.

  • Oxidizers
    Mixing strong oxidizing agents with moderate (flammable liquids) or strong (alkali metal or hydride) reducing agents can cause a fire or explosion. Mixing a strong reducing agent with a moderate (water, air) or strong (oxo-compound) oxidizing agent may produce the same effect.

    Therefore, these types of chemicals should never be stored together and chemical stocks should be inspected and inventoried at least annually to insure proper segregation.

    Very strong (Class IV) oxidizers (e.g., 73% perchloric acid) are typically stabilized by water and may become unstable with age or with contamination by reducing agents. Class IV oxidizers which have become unstable may detonate without warning. If such chemicals are found to be discolored, or the physical characteristics have changed, do not move the material and contact EH&S immediately at 335-3041.

  • Peroxides
    Chemicals which spontaneously form peroxides (with or without the presence of air) should be inspected at least every six months. Ethers (including dioxane and tetrahydrofuran) spontaneously form peroxides, even without the presence of air. Exposure to air accelerates peroxide formation in ethers. Peroxide residues from oxidized ether are violently explosive.

    In addition to ether, peroxides may form in olefins and in aromatic and saturated hydrocarbons, although generally more slowly than in ethers.

    All chemicals in which peroxides form should be stored, handled, and utilized according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

    The expiration date should be clearly marked on the container prior to first opening.

    Chemicals that form peroxides on aging should only be purchased in quantities that can be used within the shelf life, and not kept beyond that shelf life.

    If you discover containers of ether or other peroxidizable chemicals to be more than one year old, do not move the material, and contact EH&S immediately at 335-3041.

  • Flammables
    Highly flammable materials that are used in laboratory processes in volumes greater than one liter require certain additional safety practices. Many Flammable solvents also are toxic. Minimum training of laboratory workers should include what to do in case of fire, how to recognize toxic effects, and the emergency procedures for the chemicals used. If large quantities of highly flammable materials are used, laboratory employees must never work alone with them.

    In laboratories in which large quantities of highly flammable materials are used, appropriate fire suppression devices of sufficient number and quantity must be present. Consult with the WSU Fire and Safety Compliance Officer (335-4310) or EH&S (335-3041) for information if questions arise.

  • Corrosives
    Corrosive materials such as concentrated acids and bases can cause serious injury or death even in very small amounts. Additional hazards may be present for strong acids and salts containing fluorine.  Organic compounds, like phenol, are not only highly toxic, but corrosive as well. A thorough hazard analysis including PPE selection and certification is required for all chemicals to ensure that the appropriate PPE is worn. Employees must be fully trained prior to working with any laboratory chemicals.
  • Toxic Chemicals
    Highly toxic chemical substances (such as cyanide, phenol, and compounds containing fluorine) must be recognized by all laboratory personnel who may come into contact with them. Specific emergency procedures for treatment of exposed laboratory workers and training in those procedures is required for all personnel.


  • Acutely Hazardous Chemicals: Certain chemicals are regulated under hazardous waste rules at the time they are discarded. Washington Dangerous Waste Regulations (WAC 173-303) limit the amount of hazardous chemical waste which can be stored in the laboratory in which they are generated. The Washington Department of Ecology (DOE) places “dangerous wastes” into two categories; dangerous waste and acutely hazardous waste. Containers of dangerous waste can be stored in quantities up to 55 gallons. Acutely hazardous waste can only be stored in a quantity up to one quart before it must be removed, within three days, to a properly designed waste accumulation storage area or permitted facility. A specific list of these chemicals can be found here.
  • Potentially Explosive Chemicals: Some chemical and reagent combinations have the potential for producing a violent explosion when subject to shock or friction. The following tables list some common laboratory reagents that can produce explosions when they are brought together or that generate reaction products which can explode without any apparent external initiating action.

    Shock Sensitive Compounds:

    • Acetylenic Compounds, especially polyacetylenes, haloacetylenes, and heavy metal salts of acetylenes (copper, silver, and mercury salts are particularly sensitive).
    • Acyl nitrates.
    • Alkyl Nitrates, particularly polyol nitrates such as nitrocellulose and nitroglycerine.
    • Alkyl and Acyl Nitrites.
    • Alkyl Perchlorates.
    • Ammine metal oxosalts: metal compounds with coordinated ammonia, hydrazine, or similar nitrogenous donors and ionic perchlorate, nitrate, permanganate, or other oxidizing group.
    • Azides, including metal, nonmetal, and organic azides.
    • Chlorite salts of metals, such as AgClO2 and Hg (ClO2)2.
    • Diazo compounds such as CH2N2.
    • Diazonium salts, when dry.
    • Fulminates (silver fulminate, AgCNO, can form in the reaction mixture from Tollens’ test for aldehydes if it is allowed to stand for some time; this can be prevented by adding dilute nitric acid to the test mixture as soon as the test has been completed).
    • Hydrogen peroxide becomes increasingly treacherous as the concentration rises above 30%, forming explosive mixtures with organic materials and decomposing violently in the presence of traces of transition metals.
    • N-Halogen compounds such as difluoroamino compounds and halogen Azides.
    • N-Nitro compounds such as N-nitromethylamine, nitrourea, nitroguanidine, and nitric amide.
    • Oxo salts of nitrogenous bases: perchlorates, dichromates, nitrates, iodates, chlorites, chlorates, and permanganates of ammonia, amines, hydroxylamine, guanidine, etc.
    • Perchlorate salts. Most metal, nonmetal, and amine perchlorates can be detonated and may undergo violent reaction in contact with combustible materials.
    • Peroxides and hydroperoxides, organic.
    • Peroxides (solid) that crystallize from or are left from evaporation of Peroxidizable solvents.
    • Peroxides, transition-metal salts.
    • Picrates, especially salts of transition and heavy metals, such as Ni, Pb, Hg, Cu, and Zn; picric acid is explosive but is less sensitive to shock or friction than its metal salts and is relatively safe as a water-wet paste.
    • Polynitroalkyl compounds, such as tetranitromethane and dinitroacetonitrile.
    • Polynitroaromatic compounds, especially polynitro hydrocarbons, phenols, and amines.


    Potentially Explosive Combinations Of Some Common Reagents

    • Acetone + chloroform in the presence of base
    • Acetylene + copper, silver, mercury, or their salts
    • Ammonia (including aqueous solutions) + Cl2, Br2, I2
    • Carbon disulfide + sodium azide,
    • Chlorine + an alcohol.
    • Chloroform or carbon tetrachloride + powdered Al or Mg,
    • Decolorizing carbon + an oxidizing agent.
    • Diethyl ether + chlorine (including chlorine atmosphere).
    • Dimethyl sulfoxide + an acyl halide, SOCl2, or POCl3.
    • Dimethyl sulfoxide + CrO3.
    • Ethanol + calcium hypochlorite.
    • Ethanol + silver nitrate.
    • Nitric acid + acetic anhydride or acetic acid.
    • Picric acid + a heavy-metal salt, such as Pb, Hg, or Ag.
    • Silver oxide + ammonia + ethanol.
    • Sodium + a chlorinated hydrocarbon.
    • Sodium hypochlorite + an amine.


    Peroxidizable Chemicals

    • Ethers – Straight-chain and cyclic ethers readily for peroxides.
      • isopropyl ether
      • ethyl ether
      • furan
      • tetrahydrofuran
      • p-dioxane
    • Unsaturated Compounds – Relatively low molecular weight compounds containing carbon-carbon double and triple bonds often have a propensity to form explosive peroxides. These include:
      • cyclopentene
      • cyclohexene
      • dicyclopentadiene
      • divinyl acetylene

      Note: Some halogenated-substituted alkenes will form peroxides. Some, such as trichloroethylene, pose no significant danger. Others produce an extreme peroxide hazard, such as:

      • 1,1-dichloroethylene

      Note: Styrene, acrylates, and methacrylates form peroxides which do not pose an explosive hazard, but may initiate rapid and violent polymerization of the chemical.

    • Other Organic Compounds – Several organic compounds form explosive peroxides. Among these are:
      • decahydronaphthalene
      • tetrahydronaphthalene
      • methylcyclohexane
    • Inorganic Compounds – The following metals will form dangerous peroxides and/or super-oxides over time:
      • metallic potassium
      • metallic rubidium
      • metallic cesium
      • potassium amide
      • sodium amide
      • metal amides
      • metal alkoxides


    Polymerizable Chemicals

    Chemicals listed in this table may polymerize without initiation (unless an inhibitor is present), in contact with a contaminant, or in contact with a specific chemical listed. These chemicals should not be combined with each other in an individual waste container. The information in the following table is from the Handbook of Reactive Chemical Hazards. * Polymerize by itself.

    Chemicals Which Will Polymerize

    With / Or By Itself*
    1,3-ButadyneArsenic pentafluoride
    2,2,3,3-TetrafluoropropanolPotassium Hydroxide
    2,3-Epoxypropionaldehyde oxime*
    2-Buten-1-yl benzenesulfonate*
    2-Chloroethylammonium chlorideAlkali
    2-CyanoethanolAcids or Bases
    2-Propen-1-olSulfuric Acid
    3-PropynolMercury (II) sulfate
    4-Hydroxy-trans-cinnamic acid*
    AcetaldehydeSulfuric acid
    Acrylic acid*
    Acrylic acidInitiator
    AcrylonitrileBenzyltrimethylammonium hydroxide
    AcrylonitrileSilver nitrate
    Allyl 4-Toluenesulfonate*
    Aluminum chlorideAlkenes
    Aluminum chlorideNitrobenzene
    Cyanogen FluorideHydrogen fluoride
    CyclopentadienePotassium hydroxide
    Diallyl phosphate*
    Diallyl sulfate*
    Ethyl acrylate*
    Ethylene oxideAmmonia
    Ethylene oxideContaminants
    Furfuryl alcoholAcids
    Hydrogen cyanide*
    Methacrylic acid*
    Methyl acrylate*
    Methyl methacrylatePropionaldhyde
    Methyl TrichloroacetateTrimethylamine
    Methyl vinyl etherAcids
    Octakis(F3phosphine)dirhodiumAcetylenic esters
    PropeneLithium nitrate, Sulfur dioxide
    Propylene oxideSodium hydroxide
    StyreneAir, Polymerizing styrene
    StyreneDibenzoyl peroxide
    TetrafluoroethyleneIodine pentafluoride
    Triboron pentafluoride*
    Vinyl acetate*

    * Polymerizes by Itself.


In order to safely manage chemicals in a laboratory (or non-laboratory) setting, it is important to consider chemical reactions which may result from mixing together of chemical species. Mixing of chemicals may occur during a designed process, or it may occur inadvertently (e.g., mixing waste chemicals in a waste container, incompatible storage of chemicals). Several things should be considered in reference to chemical compatibility:

  • Chemical Knowledge
    Know the properties of the chemicals used. The chemical incompatibilities discussed below are by no means exhaustive. As a result, it is crucial for laboratory personnel to thoroughly research the properties of the chemicals used. Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) all have sections on chemical incompatibility, and while the quality of SDSs varies from one manufacturer to another; they should serve as a primary resource for information on avoiding contact with incompatible compounds. A more detailed reference is the Handbook of Reactive Chemical Hazards.
  • Waste Mixing
    Avoid mixing incompatible waste materials. Use separate waste containers for each generated waste stream. Contact EH&S at 335-3041 for assistance with determining how to store waste.
  • Storage
    Store incompatible chemicals separately. Storage of chemicals in alphabetical order on shelves often results in incompatible chemicals being stored together. For example, an alphabetical arrangement could result in hydrogen peroxide (a strong oxidizer) being stored next to a hydrazine (a strong reducer). If the shelf was jarred and these chemical containers broke together, a violent reaction may occur.
  • Chemical Classes
    Storage of chemicals by class rather than alphabetically ensures that individual chemicals receive the proper storage measures warranted by their reactivity. Incompatibilities between classes can be anticipated and protected against. Alphabetizing within a group is then acceptable. An added benefit to this type of storage is that knowledge of chemical reactivity is transmitted to users of chemicals, who observe the proper storage practices.

    • Acids: Segregate acids from active metals such as sodium, potassium, magnesium, etc. Segregate oxidizing acids from organic acids, flammable solvents, and combustible materials. Some strong oxidizing acids, such as perchloric acid, should be stored separate from any other chemical and double containerized in compatible containers. Segregate acids from chemicals which could generate toxic or flammable gases upon contact, such as sodium cyanide, iron sulfide, calcium carbide, etc. Acids should be segregated from bases.
    • Bases: Segregate bases from acids, metals, explosives, organic peroxides, and easily ignitable materials.
    • Flammables: Store in approved safety cans or vented cabinets. Segregate from oxidizing acids and oxidizers. Keep away from any source of ignition: heat, sparks, or open flames.
    • Oxidizers: Store in a cool, dry place. Keep away from combustible and flammable materials. Keep away from reducing agents such as zinc, alkali metals, and formic acid. Do not store oxidizers in or on wooden or metal shelves or cabinets (coating the shelf or cabinet surface with epoxy or other material which does not react with oxidizers is suggested). Some strong oxidizers will react violently on contact with other strong oxidizers. If this is the case, separate storage of these materials is advisable. Double-containerizing the individual containers to preclude inadvertent contact may be helpful.
    • Cyanides: Segregate from acids and oxidizers.
    • Water Reactive Chemicals: Store in a cool, dry place away from any water source. Have a Class D fire extinguisher available in case of fire.
    • Pyrophoric Substances: Store in a cool, dry place making provisions for an airtight seal.
    • Light Sensitive Chemicals: Store in amber bottles in a cool, dry, dark place.
    • Peroxidizable Chemicals: Store in airtight containers in a dark, cool, dry space. Label containers with receiving, opening, and disposal dates.
    • Toxic Chemicals: Store according to the nature of the chemical, using appropriate security where necessary.
  • Incompatible Storage Chart
    The following chart lists some specific guidelines for the storage of hazardous chemical substances. These charts are not all inclusive and for any specific questions regarding chemical storage contact EH&S, 335-3041.




    Is Incompatible With
    Acetic AcidChromic acid, nitric acid, hydroxyl compounds, ethylene glycol, perchloric acid, peroxides, permanganates
    AcetyleneChlorine, bromine, copper, fluorine, silver, mercury
    Acids;  mineral, nonoxidizing (hydrochloric, hydrobromic, phosphoric, sulfuric)Water, bases, ethylene, strong oxidizers
    Acids;  mineral, oxidizing [nitric,perchloric, chromic (Chromium trioxide)](STORE IN GLASS OR OTHER INERT BOTTLES)


    Bases, organics, combustibles
    Acids; organic (Acetic, benzoic, caprylic, chloracetic, formic,fumaric, maleic, oxalic, phthalic, propionic)Sulfuric acid, nitric acid, peroxides, chromic acid, acetaldehyde, ethylenediamine, hydroxides, water, permanganates, hypochlorites
    Alkali and Alkaline Earth metals (such as powdered aluminum or magnesium, calcium, lithium, sodium, potassium)Water, oxidizers, carbon tetrachloride or other chlorinated hydrocarbons, carbon dioxide, halogens
    Alcohols, Glycols (Allyl alcohol, methanol, ethanol, butanol, pentanol, 2-chloroethanol, benzyl alcohol, ethylene glycol, propylene glycol)Water and sulfuric acid mixture, hypochlorites, isocyanates, acetaldehyde, ethanolamine, oxidizers
    Aldehydes (Formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde)Strong acids, strong bases, strong oxidizers, phenols, urea
    Ammonia, anhydrousMercury (in manometers, for example), chlorine, calcium, hypochlorite, iodine, bromine, hydrofluoric acid, oxidizers
    Ammonia nitrateAcids, metal powders, flammable liquids, chlorates, nitrates, sulfur, finely divided organic or combustible materials, reducing agents
    Amides (Formamide, dimethylaminobenzaldehyde)Strong oxidizers, halogenated compounds, esp. CCl4
    Amines (Pyridine, benzylamine, naphthylamine, aniline)Acetic acid, acetic anhydride, chlorosulfonic acid, nitric acid, hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, acrolein, acrylonitrile, hydrofluoric acid, vinyl acetate, oxidizers in general
    AninlineNitric acid, hydrogen peroxide, other oxidizers
    Azo compounds, Diazo compounds, and Hydrazine (Hydrazine, diazomethane, diazoaminobenzene, azobenzene)Hydrogen peroxide, nitric acid, porous materials, oxidizers, strong acids,metal oxides
    BromineSame as for chlorine
    Carbon, activatedCalcium hypochlorite, all oxidizing agents
    Caustics (Sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, ammonium hydroxide, ammonia, barium oxide, calcium oxide, lithium hydroxide, sodium carbonate)Acid, water, acetic anhydride, acetaldehyde, acrolein, acrylonitrile, propane, tetrahydrofuran, trichloroethylene, organic halogens, tin, nitro compounds
    ChloratesAmmonium salts, acids, powdered metals, sulfur, finely divided organic or combustible materials
    Chromic acidAcetic acid, naphthalene, camphor, glycerin, turpentine, alcohol, flammable liquids
    ChlorineAmmonia, acetylene, butadiene, butane, methane, propane, (or other petroleum gases), hydrogen, sodium carbide, turpentine, benzene, finely divided metals
    Chlorine dioxideAmmonia, methane, phosphine, hydrogen peroxide, nitric acid, sodium peroxide, the halogens
    CopperAcetylene, hydrogen peroxide
    Cumene hydroperoxideAcids, organic or inorganic, reducing agents
    Cyanides (Sodium, potassium, hydrogen)Acids and acid salts, nitrates, chlorates, other oxidizers
    Esters (Dibutyl phthalate, ethyl acetate, methyl methacrylate)Oxidizing materials, nitrate, strong acids, strong bases, peroxides
    Ethers (Isopropyl ether, 1,4-dioxane, tetrahydrofuran)Strong acids, liquid oxygen or air, oxidizers
    Flammable liquidsAmmonium nitrate, chromic acid, hydrogen peroxide, nitric acid, sodium peroxide, the halogens
    Fluorides (Potassium fluoride, sodium fluoride, hydrofluoric acid)Acids;  best to isolate
    FluorineIsolate from everything
    Hydrocarbons (Butane, propane, benzene, gasoline, turpentine, etc.)Fluorine, chlorine, bromine, chromic acid, sodium peroxide, other oxidizers
    Hydrocyanic acidNitric acid, alkali
    Hydrofluoric acid, anhydrousAmmonia, aqueous or anhydrous
    Hydrogen peroxideCopper, chromium, iron, most metals or their salts, alcohols, acetone, organic materials, aniline, nitromethane, flammable liquids, combustible materials
    Hydrogen sulfideFuming nitric acid, oxidizing gases
    IodineAcetylene, ammonia (aqueous or anhydrous), hydrogen
    Isocyanates (Methyl isocyanate, toluene diisocyanate)(STORE UNDER NITROGEN OR DRY AIR)

    WATER, alkali, amines, iron, copper, tin, strong oxidizers
    Ketones (Acetone, diethyl ketone, butanone, methyl ethyl ketone)Strong oxidizers, nitric acid, hypochlorites, nitric acid-hydrogen peroxide mixture
    Mercaptans and organic sulfides (Carbon disulfide)Oxidizing agents, chlorine, azides, ethylenediamine, fluorine, permanganates, potassium, zinc, calcium hypochlorite, and organic amines
    MercuryAcetylene, fulminic acid, ammonia
    Nitric acid, concentratedAcetic acid, aniline, chromic acid, hydrocyanic acid, hydrogen sulfide, flammable liquids, flammable gases
    Oxalic acidSilver, mercury
    Perchloric acidAcetic anhydride, bismuth and its alloys, alcohol, paper, wood


    (including fume hood with washdown system)
    PotassiumCarbon tetrachloride, carbon dioxide, water, oxidizers
    Potassium chlorateSulfuric and other acids, other oxidizers
    Potassium perchlorateSulfuric and other acids, other oxidizers(See also Chlorates)
    Potassium permanganateGlycerin, ethylene glycol, benzaldehyde, sulfuric acid, reducing agents such as organicliquids, etc.
    SilverAcetylene, oxalic acid, tartaric acid, ammonium compounds
    SodiumCarbon tetrachloride, carbon dioxide, water, oxidizers
    Sodium peroxideEthyl or methyl alcohol, glacial acetic acid, acetic anhydride, benzaldehyde, carbon disulfide, glycerin, ethylene glycol, ethyl acetate, methyl acetate, furfural, other reducing agents
    Sulfuric acidPotassium chlorate, potassium perchlorate, potassium permanganate (or compounds with similar light metals, such as sodium, lithium)


Chemical waste disposal laws are very complex and are inclusive of the majority of chemicals used in the laboratory. Improper storage and disposal of hazardous chemical wastes presents a direct liability to any person directly involved in storage and disposal. This liability is associated with imprisonment and/or large monetary fines. Supervisors and administrative officials share in that liability. See WSU Safety Policies and Procedures Manual, Section 5.66 for information about proper chemical waste management procedures.In general, it is against the law to:

  • Dilute a hazardous chemical waste substance in order to reduce its concentration below regulated limits,
  • Dump a hazardous chemical waste substance down a drain or into the environment,
  • Dispose of a hazardous chemical waste in a waste basket, dumpster or landfill.

Consult with EH&S at 335-3041 regarding any questions about hazardous chemical waste disposal.


A chemical spill or uncontrolled release represents the single greatest potential for employee overexposure to a hazardous chemical. Employees expected to clean up spills of hazardous chemicals must be trained for the specific hazardous materials they will be cleaning up. For clean up of large spills contact EH&S at 335-3041 during normal working hours or 911 after normal working hours.

Contact EH&S at 335-3041 for further information regarding chemical spill clean up.