High Hazard Chemical Audits

Tufts Environmental Health and Safety (TEHS) contracts with an outside vendor to assist with the semi-annual high hazard audit of chemicals. The audit entails visiting each wet lab to review chemical stock. During this review, chemicals that are or could become unstable will be identified and communicated to the lab. Common examples are old ether and tetrahydrofuran.

The purpose of this assessment is to identify any potentially energetic materials that may pose a safety risk to laboratory personnel, and dispose of them if necessary. This assessment also includes an inspection of storage practices of more common hazardous chemicals, and cites incidences of improper chemical storage that could also pose a safety risk for laboratory personnel

1. Pyrophoric-Ignitable
– Zinc Dust/Powder
– Diethylzinc
– tert-Butylithium

2. Water reactive-Toxic gas generation
– Trifluoroacetic anhydride
– aluminium phosphide
– phosphorus pentasulphide

3. Water reactive-Spontaneous ignition
– Sodium borohydride
– Lithium hydride
– Potassium (elemental)

4. Explosive/Shock Sensitive
– RDX
– TNT
– Picric Acid
– 1H-Tetrazole

5. Temperature Sensitive material
– Organic Peroxide, 5.2/Self-reactive, 4.1
– Self reactive solid, 4.1 – ex. Azobisisobutyronitrile (AIBN)
– Organic Peroxide, 5.2 – ex. Benzoyl peroxide (not always temp sensitive, mostly found in some Luperox mixtures. Depends on the SADT)

6. Can cause fatality upon contact
– Hydrofluoric acid
– Diethyl mercury,
– Methyl Mercury

A detailed list of explosive and unstable chemicals can be found here.