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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Chemical Storage
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Dry chemical storage

Dry chemicals can be stored together. To ensure compatibility, keep organic and inorganic chemicals segregated. Color-coded labels used by manufacturers are a handy reminder of compatible groups.

Liquid chemical storage

The first step is to determine the major storage groups such as acids, bases, flammables, oxidizers, and highly toxic chemicals.

Acids. Acids should be stored in trays that will catch any spill and provide adequate segregation. Many labs store only mineral acids, including nitric acid, in the chemically resistant acid cabinets.

Organic acids, organic bases, and flammables. Organic acids and organic bases may be stored with the flammables, but acid resistant plastic trays must carefully segregate them.

Oxidizers. Oxidizers are highly reactive. They should be separated from other chemicals.

A Table of Suggested Chemical Storage Groups

Large volumes of chemicals and/or those stored in glass containers, should be grouped into the following hazard groups first before they are placed in alphabetical order:


Hazard Group

Common Chemical Examples

Solid explosive picric acid (dried), picrates
  oxidizer chlorates, dichromates, nitrates, perchlorates, permanganates, peroxides
  very reactive (w/ water or other chemicals) aluminum chloride (anhydrous), calcium, calcium carbide, lithium, phosphorus pentachloride, phosphorus pentoxide, potassium, sodium, white phosphorus
Liquid strong acid hydrogen fluoride, hydrochloric acid
  strong caustic sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide
  flammable acetaldehyde, acetic acid, acetone, acetonitrile, acrylonitrile, allyl alcohol, n-amyl acetate, sec-amyl acetate, n-amyl alcohol, tert-amyl alcohol, benzene, 1-butanol, tert-butyl alcohol, carbon disulfide, chlorobenzene, cyclohexane, cyclohexene, 1,1- and 1,2-dichloroethane, 1,1-and1,2-dimethylhydrazine, dioxane, ethanol, ethyl acrylate, ethylenediamine, ethyl formate, n-heptane, n-hexane, hydrazine, isoamyl alcohol, isobutanol, isobutyl alcohol, isopropyl acetate, isopropyl alcohol, methyl alcohol, isopropylamine, methyl ethyl ketone, morpholine, nitromethane, 2-nitropropane, pentane, propylene oxide, pyridine, TEMED, toluene, triethylamine, vinyl acetate, xylene
  oxidizer acid dichromate, chromic acid, chromium trioxide, hydrogen peroxide (>30%), nitric acid, sodium peroxide, sulfuric acid
  perchloric acid --
  very reactive/explosive chlorosulfuric acid, chlorates, organic peroxides
Gas strong acid/caustic ammonia, hydrogen chloride
  flammable acetylene
  oxidizer chlorine, nitrous oxide

Last Modified: 4/4/2007
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