Safety precautions and NMSU policy for peroxide-forming chemicals
1. categorizing the peroxide former (class type & whether 3 or 12 month),
2. adding labels to clearly identify them (see label image) and
3. marking the open date and safe disposal dates (label image).
This policy was compiled from many sources and takes a strong conservative approach in the interest of health and safety of those that work with and those that dispose of these chemicals. Additional information on this topic is linked on the EHS website at the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for peroxide formers and explosive chemicals
Posted August 2013
On August 15, EH&S moved 20 containers of peroxides-forming waste chemicals from campus research labs. This is not a common occurrence and is one that required extra safety procedures. Caution is required in handling any material containing peroxides as they ignite easily, burn rapidly and intensely, and can be explosive. Peroxides can form spontaneously in certain chemicals used in research labs.
Photos 1 & 2 shows EH&S employees checking a 500 ml container before transporting it from the lab. Safety glasses, face shields, heavy gloves, heavy lab coats, and other personal protective equipment were in use. EH&S also secured a class D fire extinguisher and had it available during the transfer. This work took three transport trips in order to maintain a small amount and to keep the potentially explosive chemicals separate.
In total, EH&S moved 15 containers of organic peroxides, ranging from 100 ml to 5 gallon, of tetrahydrofuran, diethyl ether, potassium metal, and 3 unknowns plus several containers of lithium aluminum hydrides. These chemicals will be kept in secured and conditioned storage until an explosive expert deactivates them, which will allow the hazardous waste disposal company to remove them for final disposal.