ABC of Safety in the Biological Sciences




Acetic acid with chromic acid, nitric acid, hydroxyl containing compounds, ethylene glycol, perchloric acid, peroxides and permanganates
Acetic anhydride with hydroxyl containing compounds, ethylene glycol and perchloric acid
Acetone with conc. sulphuric and nitric acid mixtures
Acetylene with copper (tubing), fluorine, bromine, chlorine, iodine, silver, mercury and their compounds
Alkali metals such as calcium, potassium and sodium with water, carbon dioxide, carbon tetrachloride, and other chlorinated hydrocarbons
Aluminium ammonium sulphate reacts vigorously with strong bases
Aluminium chloride reacts violently with water, explosively with strong bases and vigorously with strong oxidisers
Aluminium potassium sulphate reacts vigorously with strong bases
Aluminium sulphate forms acids with water
Ammonia, anhydrous with mercury, halogens, calcium hypochlorite, and hydrogen fluoride
Ammonium chloride violent explosion with potassium chromate and halogens, explosive with strong bases, organic matter, metals and polymerizable material, vigorous reaction with strong oxidizing agents
Ammonium nitrate with acids, metal powders, flammable liquids, chlorates, nitrates, sulphur and finely divided organic or combustible material
Ammonium oxalate reacts violently with sodium hypochlorite and ammonium acetate
Ammonium sulphide with acids forms toxic hydrogen sulphide
Aniline possibly explosive reaction with nitric acid, hydrogen peroxide, ozone, chloromelamines, oxidizing agents and mixtures of formaldehyde and perchloric acid
Arsenic trioxide reacts vigorously with mercury, chlorine and sodium trichloride
Benzoyl peroxide violent reaction with inorganic and organic acids, alcohols, chloroform, methyl methacrylate, amines and polymerization accelerators
Bismuth subnitrate with reducing agents and combustible materials
Bromine explosive reaction with ammonia, acetylene, butadiene, butane, hydrogen, potassium, sodium carbine, turpentine and finely divided metals. Violent reaction with many organic compounds
1-butanol vigorous reaction with oxidizing agents and attacks aluminium
Calcium oxide with water
Carbon, activated with calcium hypochlorite and all oxidising agents
Carbon tetrachloride reacts vigorously with fluorine and aluminium and explosively with sodium and potassium metals
Chlorates with ammonium salts, acids, metal powders, sulphur, finely divided organics or combustibles and carbon
Chlorine with ammonia, acetylene, butadiene, benzene and other petroleum fractions, hydrogen, sodium carbide, turpentine and finely divided powdered metals
Chlorine dioxide with ammonia, methane, phosphine, and hydrogen sulphide
Chloroform explosive with alkaline metals, aluminium and mixtures of strong bases and methanol or other ketones, reaction with strong oxidizing agents release phosgene and chlorine
Chromic acid with acetic acid, naphthalene, camphor, alcohol, glycerol, turpentine, and other flammable liquids
Chromium oxide vigorous reaction with glycerol and lithium
Chromium trioxide with most organic substances, acids, metals, combustibles, halogens and reducing substances
Copper with acetylene and hydrogen peroxide
Copper sulphate explosive reaction with acetylene and hydroxylamine
Cyanides with acids and alkalis
Dichloroethane with strong oxidizers, aluminium, ketones, ammonia, bases. Peroxides, alkali metals and nitric acid
Dipotassium hydrogen phosphate violent reaction with acids
Disodium hydrogen orthophosphate violent reaction with acids
Epoxypropane with strong oxidizers, metal salts and strong bases
Ethanediol (ethylene glycol) with strong oxidizers, acids and bases
Ferric chloride explosive reaction with ethylene oxide
Ferric and ferrous salts hazardous catalytic reactions with many chemicals
Ferrous sulphate with alkalis, soluble carbonates, lead acetate, potassium and sodium tartrate and sodium borate
Flammable liquids with ammonium nitrate, chromic acid, hydrogen peroxide, nitric acid, sodium peroxide and halogens
Fluorine should be isolated from everything
Formaldehyde with strong acids, oxidizing agents and alkalis
Glutaraldehyde with alcohols, ketones and amines
Glycerol violent reaction with strong oxidizing agents, can be explosive when mixed with nitric acid
Hydrazine with hydrogen peroxide, nitric acid and other oxidants
Hydrocarbons with fluorine, chlorine, bromine, chromic acid and sodium peroxide
Hydrochloric acid should never be stored with alkalis or active metals
Hydrocyanic acid with nitric acid, and alkalis
Hydrofluoric acid with ammonia, aqueous or anhydrous
Hydrogen peroxide with copper, chromium, iron, most metals or their salts, flammable liquids and other combustible materials, aniline and nitromethane
Hydrogen sulphide with fuming nitric acid and oxidising gases
Iodine explosive reaction with aluminium, magnesium, zinc, antimony, potassium, fluorine, halogens, carbides, acetylene, ammonia, some metal acetylides and mixtures of copper sulphate/ethanol and phosphorus/ethanol. Violent reaction with pyridine
Iron oxide violent reaction with aluminium and ethylene oxide
Lead acetate some reactions can be explosive
Lead nitrate explosive reaction with ammonium thiocyanate, carbon and lead hypophosphate
Magnesium oxide violent reaction with fluorochlorides and other halogens
Mercuric chloride with formates, sulphites, hypophosphites, phosphates, sulphides, albumin, gelatin, alkalis, alkaloid salts, ammonia, lime water, antimony, arsenic, bromides, borax, carbonates, reduced iron, copper, iron, lead and silver salts as highly explosive compounds may be formed
Mercuric oxide reacts violently with chlorine, hydrazine hydrate, hydrogen peroxide, magnesium, phosphorus, sulphur and reducing materials
Mercury with acetylene, fulminic acid and hydrogen.
Nitric acid with acetic, chromic and hydrocyanic acids, aniline, carbon, hydrogen sulphide, fluids or gases and substances that are readily nitrated. Can be explosive with organic materials. Corrodes most metals
Nitroparaffins with inorganic bases, and amines
Oxalic acid vigorous reaction with strong bases, alkali metals, acid chlorides and ferric salts. Explosive reaction with silver and mercury
Oxygen with oils, grease, hydrogen, flammable liquids, solids and gases
Paraformaldehyde with strong oxidizers and bases, isocyanites, anhydrides, strong acids and reducing agents, brass, steel, bronze, copper and copper alloys
Perchloric acid may explode or ignite spontaneously. Explosive reaction with acetic anhydride, bismuth and its alloys, alcohol, paper, fluorine, hydriodic acid, nitrogen triiodide, hypophosphites, sodium iodide, wood and other organic materials
Periodic acid explosive reaction with dimethyl sulphoxide, vigorous reaction with reducing agents
Peroxides, organic with acids (organic or material), avoid friction and store cold
Phenylhydrazine hydrochloride violent explosion with lead dioxide
Phosphorus pentoxide with water
Picric acid high explosive with metals
Potassium with glycerine, ethylene glycol, benzaldehyde, sulphuric acid, carbon tetrachloride, carbon dioxide, and water
Potassium bromide violent reaction with fluorines
Potassium carbonate violent reaction with fluorochlorides
Potassium chlorate may react explosively with reducing agents, charcoal, combustible materials, acids, ammonium compounds and finely divided metals
Potassium cyanide violent reaction with acids and liberates hydrogen cyanide. Explosive with strong oxidants
Potassium dihydrogen orthophosphate violent reaction with strong bases
Potassium ferricyanide explosive in high temperature reactions with ammonia
Potassium ferrocyanide violent reaction with copper nitrate
Potassium hydroxide violent reaction with acids, metals and organohalogens. Explosive reaction with maleic anhydride and nitro and chloro organic compounds
Potassium iodate violent reaction with aluminium, arsenic, carbon, copper, metals, sulphides, organic matter, phosphorus and sulphur
potassium metabisulphite forms toxic gas with acids
Potassium nitrate vigorous reaction with reducing materials, antimony, arsenic, zinc and their sulphides, sodium acetate, sodium hypophosphate and trichloroethylene
Potassium perchlorate with acids
Potassium permanganate reacts violently with concentrated acids and hydrogen peroxide, glycerol, ethylene glycol and benzaldehyde. Explosive reaction with some metals
Pyridine violent reaction with iodine and sulphur trioxide. Vigorous reaction with oxidizing agents
Silver with acetylene, oxalic acid, tartaric acid, and ammonium compounds
Resorcin with strong oxidizing agents, acetanilide, albumin, camphor, ferric salts, menthol and urethane
Sodium with carbon tetrachloride, carbon dioxide, and water
Sodium azide this chemical, commonly used as a preservative in clinical laboratories, forms unstable explosive compounds when exposed to lead, copper and other metals. If disposed of by flushing into sinks, the trap can explode when worked upon by a plumber
Sodium borohydride with oxidizing agents, water, acids, metal salts and combustible materials
Sodium carbonate violent reaction with phosphorus pentoxide, sulphuric acid, and fluorine. Ignites magnesium and is explosive with hot aluminium
Sodium chromate explosive reaction with acetic anhydride and hydrazine. Violent reaction with combustible materials, organic compounds and oxidizing agents
Sodium dihydrogen orthophosphate reacts violently with strong bases
Sodium dithionite with moisture, oxidizing agents, combustible materials and organic compounds
Sodium hydroxide can react violently with water and ignite combustible materials. Explosive reaction with nitro and chloro compounds and some metals
Sodium iodate with reducing agents, combustible materials, aluminium, copper and metal sulphides
Sodium metabisulphite with acids liberates toxic gas
Sodium nitrate with combustible materials, reducing agents and strong acids
Sodium nitrite with ammonium nitrate and other ammonium salts, strong acids and reducing agents, organic materials, cyanides, cellulose, sodium thiosulphate, acetanilide, chlorates, hypophosphite, iodides, mercury salts, permanganate, sulphites and tannic acid
Sodium peroxide with any oxidisable substance, e.g. methanol, glacial acetic acid, acetic anhydrite, benzaldehyde, carbon disulphide, glycerol, ethylene glycol
Sodium silicate violent reaction with acids, corrodes aluminium and zinc
Sodium sulphate violent reaction with aluminium
Sodium sulphite forms acids with water and steam
Sodium thiosulphate with acids produces toxic gas
Succinic anhydride with strong oxidizing agents, water, acids, alcohols and amines
Sulphuric acid with chlorates, perchlorates, permanganates and water
Tannic acid with sodium nitrite
Thionyl chloride reacts explosively with ammonia and dimethyl sulphoxide. With water forms toxic gas
Urea can be explosive with strong oxidizing agents such as nitric acid, sodium nitrite and hypochlorites
Zinc chloride violent reaction with potassium and with acids produces toxic gas

Table 9: Incompatible Chemicals


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