Chemical Storage in the Science Classroom
How do I organize and store the chemicals in my science classroom / storeroom?
The best place to go for this information is the 2014 Edition of the Science Safety Handbook for California Public Schools. Starting around page 129, you will find information about storing chemicals.
Another website with good information is from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Chemical Hygiene and Safety Plan and Flinn Scientific
Please note that you should generally keep your chemicals in the containers that they arrived in. The following is some general information from pages 130 and 131 of the Science Safety Handbook:
1. Metals. All metals except mercury. Phosphorus should also be stored here (red only; white or yellow phosphorus is not recommended for school usage). Flammable solids should be stored in the flammables cabinet. Location: Keep separate from oxidizers (including ammonium nitrate), halogens, organic compounds, and moisture.
2. Oxidizers. All except ammonium nitrate. Includes nitrates, nitrites, permanganates, chlorates, perchlorates, peroxides, and hydrogen peroxide (30 percent or greater). Location: Keep separate from metals, acids, organic materials, and ammonium nitrate. Preferably, isolate oxidizers from the flammable liquids storage cabinet by a minimum of eight meters (25 feet) or by a one-hour fire wall.
3. Ammonium nitrate. Store in isolation from all other chemicals, especially acids, powdered
metals, flammable liquids, chlorates, nitrites, sulfur, and finely divided organic combustible
4. Bases. Strong bases—sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, and other regulated bases—and
ammonium hydroxide. Store in a dedicated corrosive- chemicals storage cabinet that has an
interior constructed entirely of corrosion-resistant materials.
5. Acids. Inorganic (except nitric acid) and regulated organic acids. Location: Store in a dedicated
corrosive-chemicals storage cabinet that has an interior constructed entirely of corrosion-
6. Nitric acid. Must be stored separately from acetic acid. Location: Store either in an isolated
compartment in the acids cabinet or in special Styrofoam containers available for that purpose
from vendors of chemicals. Fuming nitric acid should never be used.
7. Flammables. Preferably, isolated from all oxidizers by a minimum of eight meters (25 feet) or by
a one-hour fire wall. Location: Store in a dedicated flammables storage cabinet painted with
heat- or flame-resistant paint.
8. Compressed gases. Cylinders must be chained or strapped to the wall, with caps on tight.
Location: (a) keep oxidizing gases remote from flammable liquids, metals, and flammable gases;
(b) keep flammable gases remote from oxidizers and oxidizing gases by a distance of eight meters
(25 feet) or by a one-hour fire wall.
9. Low-hazard chemicals. Many of the salts not otherwise specified (of course, not the nitrates),
weak bases, oxides, carbonates, sulfides, dyes, indicators, stains, noncorrosive organic acids,
amino acids, sugars, and so forth. Store on open shelves that have earthquake barriers.
Please Contact Judy (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any specific questions you have. Thanks!