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Topic: Chemical Safety questions  (Read 2077 times)

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Offline cookes3

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Chemical Safety questions
« on: May 13, 2015, 10:21:08 AM »
I am a new biology/chemistry teacher at a very small school.  My background is primarily in biology with enough chemistry to successfully teach it.  However, as embarrassing as it is to say, I have little knowledge of chemical storage safety.  I have plenty of knowledge on handling chemicals during experimentation, but this is the first time I have had to maintain corrosives, flammables, and poisons.  I inherited a really nasty corrosive storage unit.  Inside, several of the acids have crystallized on the outside of their containers and the paint is corroding.  My question is "Is there any information available for the proper cleaning and handling of stored materials for corrosives, flammables, and poisons?".  I mean, how do I even go about cleaning this stuff in a safe manner and storing it more successfully?

Offline Corribus

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Re: Chemical Safety questions
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2015, 11:46:54 AM »
If it's that old, particularly if identifying information is not able to be read, you should contact a chemical disposal expert and just get rid of it. Don't try to dispose of chemicals yourself if you don't know how. For one thing, it can be dangerous. For another, there are a lot of laws governing disposal of chemicals. If you don't know who to call, first try your local waste disposal company (usually found at your local administration webpage); they can probably point you in the right direction if you explain the situation. You might consider getting rid of the corrosive storage unit as well - new ones aren't that expensive.

Corrosives, oxidizers and flammables should be stored separately in appropriately rated storage cabinets. Peroxide forming chemicals (e.g., ethers, THF) should also not be kept indefinitely. "Poisons" is a rather vague term, not sure what you mean by that. Unless the substance is particularly toxic, usually you don't have to treat it in a special way, although it is customary to store inorganics separately from organics.

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Offline cookes3

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Re: Chemical Safety questions
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2015, 12:19:45 PM »
Thanks for the help.  They are stored separately so it is really only the corrosive container that needs an overhaul.

Offline Borek

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Re: Chemical Safety questions
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2015, 02:08:40 PM »
Note: there are probably quite strict state regulations in place defining how these things should be organized/done. I would suggest asking teachers in other schools about details.
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