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Subject: Storing chemicals

Storing chemicals

From: Tom Dixon <tom.dixon>
Date: Wednesday, March 10, 2004
Mark Ryan <mryan [at] plainsart__org> writes

>I'm interested in hearing from those responsible for the storage of
>organic solvents and/or acids and bases in their respective
>institutions and labs.

The key issue is to separate all flammable material from all the
toxic but non-flammable materials and store them well away from each
other.  The fear is in event of a fire flammable materials can
volatilise into a cocktail of acids and/or bases and your local fire
fighters walk into a lethal skin burning cloud.  In your case, I'd
be moving the sodium carbonate out of the flammable store on the
principle that only flammable materials are stored there.  Check
that the capacity of the containment area for spilled liquid in the
bottom of your flammable materials storage cabinet well exceeds the
total of all the material stored in it.  I prefer to isolate acids
from bases, but that is less urgent than isolation of flammables
from everything else.  A good way to reduce risk of these materials
is to adopt a just-in-time supply strategy where you only get the
materials you need in small quantities when you actually need them
and then discard them at the end of the job.  This might not be
applicable in your case, but in a large lab with lots of people
doing a wide range of treatments it is easy to accumulate a large
volume of material we really don't need.

Tom Dixon
Chief Conservator
National Gallery of Victoria
Melbourne Australia

                  Conservation DistList Instance 17:59
                  Distributed: Tuesday, March 16, 2004
                       Message Id: cdl-17-59-002
Received on Wednesday, 10 March, 2004

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