Oxidizing Chemicals


Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are intended to provide you with general guidance on how to safely work with a specific class of chemical or hazard.  This SOP is generic in nature.  It addresses the use and handling of substances by hazard class only.  In some instances multiple SOPs may be applicable for a specific chemical (i.e. both the SOPs for flammable liquids and carcinogens would apply to benzene).  If you have any questions concerning the applicability of any items listed in this procedure, contact EH&S 1-2356 or the Principal Investigator.


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




Personnel:         Wash hands and arms with soap and water after handling oxidizing chemicals.


Area:                Carefully clean work area after use.  Paper towels or similar materials contaminated with strong oxidizing chemicals may pose a fire risk.


Protection:      Eye protection in the form of safety glasses must be worn at all times when handling oxidizing chemicals.  Ordinary (prescription) glasses do not provide adequate protection. Adequate safety glasses must meet rigorous tests and safety standards according to ANSI Z.87.1 and must be equipped with side shields.  Safety glasses with side shields do not provide protection from splashes, therefore, when the potential for splash hazard exists, other eye protection or face protection must be worn.


Eyewash:         Where the eyes or body of any person may be exposed to oxidizing chemicals, suitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body shall be provided within the work area for immediate emergency use.  Bottle type eyewash stations are not acceptable.


Fume hood:     Perchloric acid must be used in a fume hood equipped with wash down facilities.  Contact EH&S 1-2356 for further assistance.


Gloves:           Gloves should be worn when handling oxidizing chemicals.  Disposable latex or nitrile gloves provide adequate protection against accidental hand contact with small quantities of most laboratory chemicals.  Lab workers should contact EH&S 1-2356 for advice on chemical resistant glove selection when direct or prolonged contact with hazardous chemicals is anticipated.



Assessment:   Hazard assessment for work with oxidizing chemicals should address proper use and handling techniques, fire safety, storage, and waste disposal procedures.




Notification:    Notify EH&S 1-2356 prior to using perchloric acid.



Apparel:          Lab coats, closed toed shoes and long sleeved clothing should be worn when handling oxidizing chemicals.  Additional protective clothing should be worn if the possibility of skin contact is likely.


Shielding:        Safety shielding is required any time there is a risk of explosion, splash hazard or a highly exothermic reaction.  All manipulations of oxidizing chemicals that pose this risk should occur in a fume hood with the sash in the lowest feasible position.  Portable shields, which provide protection to all laboratory occupants, are acceptable.



Shower:           A safety or drench shower should be immediately accessible at all times when working with oxidizing chemicals.


Labels:            Containers: All oxidizing chemicals must be clearly labeled with the correct chemical name.  Handwritten labels are acceptable; chemical formulas and structural formulas are not acceptable.



Storage:          Oxidizers should be stored in a cool and dry location.  Keep oxidizers segregated from other chemicals in the laboratory.  Minimize the quantities of strong oxidizers stored in the laboratory.


                        Never return excess chemicals to the original container.  Small amounts of impurities may be introduced into the container which may cause a fire or explosion.


Spills:              Please See Spill Cleanup Procedures



Protection:      Evacuated glassware can implode and eject flying glass, and splattering chemicals.  Vacuum work involving oxidizing chemicals must be conducted in a fume hood, glove box or isolated in an acceptable manner.


                        Mechanical vacuum pumps must be protected using cold traps and, where appropriate, filtered to prevent particulate release.  The exhaust for the pumps must be vented into an exhaust hood.  Vacuum pumps should be rated for use with flammable liquids.



Disposal:         All waste shall be placed in closed containers, properly labeled and moved to the Hazardous Waste Accumulation Structure (south west corner of SGM).  Notify Roger Clark of Waste to be picked up from the Hazardous Waste Accumulation area.