There are a number of basic chemical storage principles. Here are some of them:
It is very important that you do not store chemicals near each other that when placed together can spontaneously burst into flames, emit toxic or totally lethal gases, explode, poison you or otherwise do bad things because you put them next to each other. People in earthquake zones really have to worry about this sort of thing. I heard about a plating facility in San Francisco in the last big earthquake that slopped a foot-deep chemical stew onto the floor, including cyanides and acids that can generate hydrogen cyanide gas, the gas of choice in executions.
So, when you store chemicals you had better take notice of their type, how you have stored them, what the venting is like, and very important: are they incompatible?
In general it is suggested that you store the chemicals according to “hazard classes.” You will no doubt be glad to note that the average jewelry workshop does not have to deal with the hundreds of chemicals that are the norm for chemistry labs to have on hand. The major classes of chemicals in terms of storage are:
Acids, bases, flammables, oxidizers, water-reactive chemicals, pyrophoric substances (catch on fire when in contact with air), light-sensitive chemicals, peroxide-forming chemicals (they make their own explosives), toxic compounds, carcinogens and teratogens (cause birth defects and cell mutations).
Do not store the following chemicals next to, or bring them in contact with, each other. Some reactions are slow and others very rapid. There are, of course, other incompatible mixtures possible; these are just examples. Numerous sites on the internet, and all university chemical labs will have lists of incompatible chemicals for you to refer to. The ones given below are likely inhabitants of jewelry shops.
|Acetic acid:||ethylene glycol, nitric acid, peroxides, bases, carbonates, hydroxides, metals, oxidizers|
|Acetone:||concentrated sulfuric and nitric acid mixtures|
|Acetylene:||chlorine, copper, mercury, silver (forms explosive acetylides with longer exposure)|
|Alkalis:||alcohols, ketones, acids, halogens, hydrogen, plastics, sodium chloride, sulfur|
|Anhydrous Ammonia:||mercury, chlorine, iodine, acids, halogens, oxidizers, plastics, sulfur|
|Chlorates:||ammonium salts, acids, metal powders, sulfur, combustible materials|
|Chlorine||ammonia, acetylene, hydrocarbons, hydrogen, turpentine, finely divided metals, alcohols, hydrogen peroxide, iodine, metals, sodium hydroxide|
|Copper||acetylene, hydrogen peroxide, calcium, hydrocarbons, oxidizers|
|Flammable liquids||ammonium nitrate, hydrogen peroxide, nitric acid, halogens, alcohols, ammonia, ketones|
|Hydrofluoric acid||aqueous or anhydrous ammonia|
|Hydrogen Peroxide||copper, chromium, iron, most metals or their salts, alcohols, acetone, organic materials, flammable liquids, oxidizing gases|
|Hydrogen sulfide||fuming nitric acid, oxidizing gases|
|Iodine||acetylene, ammonia, hydrogen|
|Nitrates||sulfuric acid, acids, reducing agents|
|Nitric acid||acetic acid, cyanides, hydrogen sulfide, flammable liquids, flammable gases|
|Oxygen||oils, grease, hydrogen, flammable liquids, solids or gases|
|Potassium permanganate||glycerin, ethylene glycol, sulfuric acid|
|Silver||acetylene, oxalic acid, tartaric acid, ammonium compounds|
|Sulfuric acid||potassium chlorate, potassium perchlorate, potassium permanganate|
If you see the following terms in a chemical’s name, realize that these terms are linked with chemicals that have the potential to be explosive:
acetylide, hypohalite, amine oxide, nitrate, azide, nitrite, chlorate, nitro, diazo, nitroso, diazonium, ononide, fulminate, perchlorate, N-halomine, peroxide, hydroperoxide, picrate. Common materials known to be shock-sensitive and explosive (can detonate when touched) include: ammonium perchlorate, ammonium nitrate, copper acetylide, dinitrotoluene, fulminate of mercury, lead azide, nitroglycerine, dry picric acid, trinitrotoluene and dried crystals of perchloric acid.
(the above lists derived from: http://www.c-f-c.com/charts/chemchart.htm)
Interested in obtaining the Brain Press book on safety in the jewelry studio? The Jewelry Workshop Safety Report