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Chemical Storage

General Storage Rules

Specific Storage Requirements

Solvents (flammable and combustible liquids)
Water-Reactive Chemicals
Pyrophoric Substances
Light-Sensitive Chemicals
Peroxide-Forming Chemicals
Toxic Chemicals
Flammable Liquid Storage

All flammable and combustible liquids and solids must be stored in an appropriate manner to ensure that people and property are protected from fire and explosion hazards presented by these classes of chemicals. In Case laboratories, if there is more than 2 gallons (7.6 liters) net volume in an area of flammable liquids or solids, all flammable material must be stored in a certified flammable storage cabinet when it is not in use.

Flammable storage cabinets are an important component of fire safety because they will extend the amount of time it takes for a fire to spread to other areas, thus allowing personnel time to escape and time for fire protection to arrive. The following information can be found in the Case EHS Standard Operating Procedure for Flammable Safety Cabinets (PDF attachment):

Why should solvents never be stored in a domestic refrigerator?

ChemicalFlash point (°F)ChemicalFlash point (°F)
Acetonitrile42Petroleum Ether20
Benzene12.2Propyl Alcohol74
Ethyl Acetate24Toluene40
Ethyl Alcohol 55Triethylamine20
Ethyl Ether-49Xylene84

Chemical compatibility

Storing chemicals by compatibility will prevent certain accidents from occurring in the laboratory. Chemicals can be stored by compatibility by following these four easy steps for each chemical that you wish to store together.

1. Identify the Chemical Hazard

Physical: Corrosive, Flammable, Oxidizer, Reactives
Health: Toxic

Segregate chemicals into like type hazards. Be aware that some chemicals have multiple hazards and therefore require further segregation.

2. Determine the pH Value

Acid, Neutral, Base

Continue to segregate the chemical groups by identifying if they are acidic (pH < 4), neutral (pH 4 - 10), or basic (pH > 10).

3. Inorganic or Organic

Identify whether a chemical is an inorganic or organic compound. Organic compounds have carbon (C) in the chemical formula. (The C must not be followed by another lowercase letter: Cd is cadmium, Ca calcium, Cl chlorine (Cl), etc.). This step is extremely important for the segregation and storage of corrosives and oxidizing chemicals.

4. Solid or Liquid

Solid and liquid chemicals should be stored separately to minimize the involvement of chemicals in the event of a liquid spill.

Once all information has been complied for the chemical you want to place into storage, compare the information. The chemicals that have the same answers in all 4 categories can be stored in the same secondary containment. If one category is different, other storage options must be examined such as segregation with spill trays or storage in different areas.

This quick guide to chemical compatibility (pdf) is available in a printable version which includes a table that can be used to compile the necessary information and safely store laboratory chemicals.

A more elaborate chemical compatibility chart (pdf) is also available.

If you have any questions you should contact EHS at (216) 368-2907.

EHS | Service Building, first floor | 2220 Circle Dr | Cleveland, Ohio 44106 | 216.368.2906/2907 | does@case.edu
© 2011 Case Western Reserve University | Cleveland, Ohio 44106 | 216.368.2000 | legal notice