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Chemical Compatibility

Hazardous chemical reactions can occur from a variety of reasons including improper storage, incompatible chemicals mix because of accidental breakage, container failure, natural disasters, mixing of vapors from poorly closed containers, incompatibles being mixed by to failure to segregate chemicals when not properly labeled.  Store chemical groups below separately from one another, either in separate cabinets or in appropriate tubs or secondary containers.  Do not store your entire chemical inventory together in alphabetical order.   Please separate incompatible classes of chemicals

This is not a comprehensive list of compatibility. Please refer any applicable SDS before working with any materials.  Reach out to the CBC Safety office or EHS if you have any questions.

Selected Hazard Groups

Examples:  alcohols, acetone, acetaldehyde, acetonitrile, benzene, cyclohexane, dioxane, diethyl ether, ethyl acetate, hexane, toluene. 

  • Flammable liquids are incompatible with ammonium nitrate, chromic acid, hydrogen peroxide, nitric acid, sodium peroxide, halogens


Examples:  Oxygen, nitrogen, Argon, hydrogen, and acetylene

  • Secure gas cylinders properly
  • Segregate oxygen from flammable gases
  • Store acutely toxic and toxic gases in gas cabinets or fume hoods
  • Segregate from chemicals that could generate toxic or flammable gases upon contact (cyanide salts, metal sulfides, calcium carbide) and reactive metals (sodium, potassium, magnesium), flammables, Nitrates, and reactive sulfides.
  • Store in non-corrosive secondary container, if possible.
  • Avoid contact with bases!!

Mineral Acids

Oxidizing Mineral Acids

Examples:  Sulfuric, nitric, chromic, perchloric

  • Store separately from organic acids
  • Highly reactive with most compounds
  • Store Nitric acid in its own non-corrosive secondary container
  • Store perchloric acid in its own non-corrosive secondary container.  Isolate perchloric acid from acetic acid , acetic anhydride, bismuth and bismuth alloys, alcohol, ketones, other organic materials, oxidizers, and pyridine, paper, wood, ether, grease, and sulfuric acid. 
Non-oxidizing Mineral Acids

Examples: Hydrochloric, Hydrofluoric, phosphoric, hydroiodic

  • Hydrofluoric is very hazardous.  Store HF in its own non-corrosive secondary container.  Make sure the lab has Calcium gluconate on hand for skin exposures.

Organic acids

Examples:  Acetic, butyric, formic, propionic

  • Store separately from oxidizing mineral acids
  • Make sure to keep Acetic acid away from perchloric acid

Examples:  Sodium hydroxide, ammonium hydroxide, calcium hydroxide, glutaraldehyde

  • Store in tubs in a normal cabinet
  • Avoid contact with acids

 Examples:  hydrogen peroxide, ammonium persulfate

  • Oxidizing liquids react with nearly everything.  Double contain

Examples:  Sodium Borohydride, calcium hydride, lithium aluminum hydride

  • Most metal hydrides reactive violently with water
  • Make sure a Type D Fire extinguisher is available.
  • Store in a waterproof double container in a cabinet

Common Incompatible Chemicals 


GHS information on Pictograms, Hazard Statements, and Precautionary Statements