Schools' Chemical Hygiene Officers

Chemical Disposal

There have been several state-funded chemical clean-outs for high schools. Schools with chemicals on the state banned-chemicals list should have them properly disposed of as soon as possible. For private chemical disposal services, there are several companies certified to transport hazardous waste. For information on specific companies, consult the SAFECHEMRI listserv to find out who other Chemical Hygiene Officers have used in the past. You may want to call several companies to compare costs.

Chemical Storage

Common mistakes made in the utilization of acid storage cabinets

  • Incompatible storage of concentrated nitric acid (oxidizer) with glacial acetic acid (a flammable acid).
  • Incompatible storage of concentrated nitric acid (oxidizer) with ethyl alcohol or acetone (flammable, but not acids).
  • Storage of multiple bottles of the same reagent (EPA regulations allow storage of no more than one year’s supply of any one hazardous chemical)
  • Storage of acids in bottles with glass stoppers instead of vapor-proof screw-on plastic caps.
  • Storage of bases in acid cabinets (mixing concentrated acids and bases results in an extremely exothermic reaction).
  • Storage of concentrated acids with concentrated ammonia (also a base). Acid and ammonia vapors mix and form a white coating of ammonium chloride on everything in the cabinet.
  • Storage of acid bottles without appropriate secondary containment such as plastic tubs.
  • Use of a metal cabinet to store acids. Corrosive acid vapors are best contained by a cabinet made out of coated wood or plastic laminate.