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Subject: Storing chemicals

Storing chemicals

From: Rachel White <rachel.white>
Date: Tuesday, March 9, 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 safe storage of chemicals is often a complicated issue. A
serious concern is potential incompatibilities with other chemicals
stored in the same area. In order to store chemicals properly, a
register of chemicals in the laboratory should be made (most
universities and institutes have a standard chemical register system
used in all labs). This is a list of all chemicals and their
location, some people sort this list alphabetically, by location and
by chemical name. In the same folder, or at least kept in the same
place a full set of Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for all
chemicals is required. In the area chemicals are used and stored
there should be another set of MSDSs for those chemicals, this
allows for people to access information about the chemicals they are
about to use.

MSDSs are available from the supplier of the chemical and it is best
to ask for this when you are having the chemical delivered to you.
You should pay special attention to incompatible chemicals, some
chemicals should not be stored with others as they can come into
contact with each other (even without damage to containers) and
cause dangerous situations. Lists of these are available from large
chemical suppliers as well as government agencies.

I only have experience with the Australian requirements for chemical
safety. The best thing to do is contact your government agency on
chemical safety, there will be guidelines that laboratories must
follow for the safe storage of chemicals. I believe the US has a
standard system of registering, storing and labelling chemicals so
that laboratories can be consistent with one another. This sort of
system would be worth looking into as much of the work has been done
for you, generally these can be bought for a reasonable price from
scientific and chemical suppliers (Cole-Palmer is the only US
scientific supplier that I have heard of but there would be many

I'll add that only flammable liquids should be stored in a flammable
liquids cabinet, it is unsafe to store any other chemical within the
cabinet or to exceed the flammable liquid volume maximum that the
cabinet recommends.

Rachel White
Science PhD student
University of Technology, Sydney
Sydney, Australia

                  Conservation DistList Instance 17:59
                  Distributed: Tuesday, March 16, 2004
                       Message Id: cdl-17-59-003
Received on Tuesday, 9 March, 2004

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