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CHEMICAL STORAGE

This section provides requirements and recommendations for storing hazardous materials.  Refer to the section entitled Definition of Hazardous Chemicals to determine if a chemical, material, product or mixture is hazardous.  Refer to PUB 3000, Chapter 20 for hazardous waste storage requirements.

Hazardous Material Storage Requirements

The criteria listed in this section are requirements that must be followed by LBNL staff.

General Requirements, Storage Cabinets and Shelves

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  • Segregate incompatible chemicals (e.g., storing oxidizing acids and flammable solvents in separate locations).  This is to prevent inadvertent mixing of incompatible chemicals which can produce harmful gases/vapors, heat, fire and explosions.  Consult the section entitled Specific Controls and Procedures for additional requirements and details tailored for different categories of hazardous materials. The chemical incompatibility matrices and tables presented later in this section provide recommended (optional) guidelines for segregating incompatible chemicals.
  • Store hazardous materials away from heat and direct sunlight.  Heat and sunlight may impact and degrade chemicals, deteriorate storage containers and labels. 
  • Do not store hazardous materials (except cleaners) under sinks. 
  • Ensure caps and lids are securely tightened on containers. This prevents leaks and evaporation of contents.
  • Use approved flammable storage lockers or flammable storage containers to store flammable and combustible liquids exceeding 10 gallons in one room. Flammable and combustible liquids kept in squeeze bottles and other secondary containers may be kept on counter and bench tops provided they do not exceed the 10 gallon limit and are kept in secondary containment.  See Control Procedures for Flammable and Combustible Liquids for additional requirements and details on storage.
  • Store inorganic acids in corrosive or acid storage cabinets.  See Control Procedures for Acids and Bases for additional requirements. Their interiors and hardware (door hinges and shelf brackets) are corrosion resistant.  Corrosive storage cabinets can be located under fume hoods or exist as stand-alone units.  Flammable storage cabinets are not corrosion resistant and shall not be used for inorganic acid storage. 
  • Install Plexiglas lips or use equivalent means to prevent materials from falling off open storage shelves.

Refrigerators Used for Hazardous Material Storage

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  • Refrigerators used for storing flammable and combustible liquids shall be designed for that purpose.  Do not use ordinary domestic units.  See Control Procedures for Flammable and Combustible Liquids for additional requirements.
  • Do not store food in refrigerators located in technical areas.
  • Label refrigerators used for storing chemicals, samples or media as follows: “Caution—Do Not Store Food or Beverages in This Refrigerator.”  Labels may be fabricated by users provided they are legible and securely affixed to the refrigerator.
  • Refrigerators used for food and beverages outside of technical areas require no posting.

 

Squeeze Bottles, and Wash Bottles

  • Hazardous materials are often transferred to squeeze bottles and other plastic containers such as Nalgene® bottles.  These are made of plastics, such as high-density polyethylene, low-density polyethylene and polypropylene and may exhibit varying degrees of resistance to different chemicals.  Moreover, they may deteriorate over time, especially when exposed to sunlight or UV sources.  Utilize resources such as user knowledge or chemical resistance data such as that provided by the Nalgene® Web Site to determine and select the proper material.

Secondary Containment for Liquids

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  • Store liquid hazardous materials (including squeeze and wash bottles) in secondary containment. This is to minimize the impact and spread of spills resulting from broken/leaking containers.  Secondary containment capacity must be 110% of the largest container or 10% of the aggregate volume of all containers, whichever is larger. 
  • Secondary containment is available in different materials which provide varying resistance to different chemicals.  Use resources such as user knowledge or the information provided below to select the proper material.
    • Photo Trays
      • Generally, these provide good resistance for aqueous solutions and some organic solvents. But they 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. These trays have been used at LBNL to contain entire shelves in storage cabinets.
    • Polypropylene and Hi Density Polyethylene Trays
      • These may be affected by some aromatic and halogenated hydrocarbons.
      • The Nalgene® Website has a chemical resistance database for these materials.
    • Stainless Steel and Pyrex Trays
      • Stainless steel and Pyrex trays are resistant to a broader spectrum of chemicals.  However they are more costly than plastic trays and aren’t available in as many different sizes and configurations.
    • Larger Capacity Containers
      • Containers such as Pelletote® boxes are acceptable for larger volumes of liquids provided they are resistant to the chemicals stored in them.  Pelletote® boxes are constructed of high density polyethylene.

Hazardous Material Storage Recommendations

The information, guidelines, chemical incompatibility matrices and tables presented below are recommended good practices.  These are optional guidelines.

General Recommendations

  • 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. 
  • Purchase only what is needed.  If possible, borrow chemicals from a colleague or contact the Chemical Management System Coordinator to assist you in finding a source of the chemical at LBNL.
  • Conduct periodic cleanouts to minimize accumulating unwanted chemicals.

Chemical Incompatibility Matrices and Tables

Chemical incompatibility data are presented in Tables 1 and 2 below.  These are recommended guidelines that may be used in combination with container labels, MSDSs , user knowledge for storing and segregating chemicals.  An EH&S Industrial Hygienist may also be consulted.

Table 1: Incompatibilities by Hazard Class

 

Acids, inorganic
Acids, oxidizing
Acids, organic
Alkalis (bases)
Oxidizers
Poisons, inorganic
Poisons, organic
Water- reactives
Organic solvents

Acids, inorganic

 

 

X

X

 

X

X

X

X

Acids, oxidizing

 

 

X

X

 

X

X

X

X

Acids, organic

X

X

 

X

X

X

X

X

 

Alkalis (bases)

X

X

X

 

 

 

X

X

X

Oxidizers

 

 

X

 

 

 

X

X

X

Poisons, inorganic

X

X

X

 

 

 

X

X

X

Poisons, organic

X

X

X

X

X

X

 

 

 

Water- reactives

X

X

X

X

X

X

 

 

 

Organic solvents

X

X

 

X

X

X

 

 

 




Table 2: Chemical Incompatibility Table

CHEMICAL

KEEP OUT OF CONTACT WITH

Acetic acid Chromic acid, nitric acid, perchloric acid, peroxides, permanganates and other oxidizers
Acetone  Concentrated nitric and sulfuric acid mixtures, and strong bases
Acetylene   Chlorine, bromine, copper, fluorine, silver, mercury
Alkali metals   Water, carbon tetrachloride or other chlorinated hydrocarbons, carbon dioxide, halogens
Ammonia, anhydrous   Mercury, chlorine, calcium hypochlorite, iodine, bromine, hydrofluoric acid
Ammonium nitrate  Acids, metal powders, flammable liquids, chlorates, nitrites, sulfur, finely divided organic or combustible materials
Aniline  Nitric acid, hydrogen peroxide
Arsenic materials  Any reducing agent
Azides  Acids
Bromine  Same as chlorine
Calcium oxide  Water
Carbon (activated)    Calcium hypochlorite, all oxidizing agents
Carbon tetrachloride  Sodium
Chlorates  Ammonium salts, acids, metal powders, sulfur, finely divided organic or combustible materials
Chromic acid and chromium trioxide   Acetic acid, naphthalene, camphor, glycerol, glycerin, turpentine, alcohol, flammable liquids in general
Chlorine  Ammonia, acetylene, butadiene, butane, methane, propane (or other petroleum gases), hydrogen, sodium carbide, turpentine, benzene, finely divided metals
Chlorine dioxide  Ammonia, methane, phosphine, hydrogen sulfide
Copper  Acetylene, hydrogen peroxide
Cumene hydroperoxide  Acids, organic or inorganic
Cyanides  Acids
Flammable liquids  Ammonium nitrate, chromic acid, hydrogen peroxide, nitric acid, sodium peroxide, halogens
Hydrocarbons Fluorine, chlorine, bromine, chromic acid, sodium peroxide
Hydrocyanic acid  Acids
Hydrofluoric acid  Ammonia, aqueous or anhydrous,  bases and silica
Hydrogen peroxide Copper, chromium, iron, most metals or their salts, alcohols, acetone, organic materials, aniline, nitromethane, flammable liquids
Hydrogen sulfide  Fuming nitric acid, other acids, oxidizing gases, acetylene, ammonia (aqueous or anhydrous), hydrogen
Hypochlorites  Acids, activated carbon
Iodine  Acetylene, ammonia (aqueous or anhydrous), hydrogen
Mercury Acetylene, fulminic acid, ammonia
Nitrates  Sulfuric acid
Nitric acid (concentrated) Acetic acid, aniline, chromic acid, hydrocyanic acid, hydrogen sulfide, flammable liquids,   flammable gases, copper, brass, any heavy metals
Nitrites  Acids
Nitroparaffins  Inorganic bases, amines
Oxalic acid  Silver, mercury
Oxygen  Oils, grease, hydrogen; flammable liquids, solids, or gases
Perchloric acid  Acetic anhydride, bismuth and its alloys, alcohol, paper, wood, grease, and oils
Peroxides, organic  Acids (organic or mineral), avoid friction, store cold
Phosphorus (white)  Air, oxygen, alkalis, reducing agents
Potassium  Carbon tetrachloride, carbon dioxide, water
Potassium chlorate and perchlorate Sulfuric and other acids, alkali metals, magnesium and calcium.
Potassium permanganate   Glycerin, ethylene glycol, benzaldehyde, sulfuric acid
Selenides Reducing agents
Silver Acetylene, oxalic acid, tartaric acid, ammonium compounds, fulminic acid
Sodium Carbon tetrachloride, carbon dioxide, water
Sodium nitrite Ammonium nitrate and other ammonium salts
Sodium peroxide Ethyl or methyl alcohol, glacial acetic acid, acetic anhydride, benzaldehyde, carbon disulfide, glycerin, ethylene glycol, ethyl acetate, methyl acetate, furfural
Sulfides  Acids
Sulfuric Acid  Potassium chlorate, potassium perchlorate, potassium permanganate (or compounds with similar light metals, such as sodium, lithium, etc.)
Tellurides  Reducing agents

(From Manufacturing Chemists' Association, Guide for Safety in the Chemical Laboratory, pp. 215–217, Van Nostrand ) flag image

 

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Last updated: 08/01/2011
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