Lab Safety

Oxidizing Materials

What are oxidizing chemicals?

 Oxidizing chemicals are materials that react with other substances by giving off electrons and undergoing reduction. This reaction may result in fire or explosion. The intensity of the reaction depends on the oxidizing-reducing potential of the materials involved.

 Examples of oxidizing agents:


fluorine, chlorine, ozone, nitrous oxide, oxygen


hydrogen peroxide, nitric acid, perchloric acid, sulfuric acid


nitrites, nitrates, perchlorates, peroxides, chromates, picrates, bromates, chlorites, chlorates, permanganates

 What do I do when handling oxidizing materials?

  • Always wear safety goggles, gloves and lab coat
  • Know the reactivity of the materials you are using
  • Remove all extra materials to a place where it can not be involved in the reaction
  • Wash hands after handling oxidizing chemicals
  • Store away from other chemicals in a cool dry location
  • Dispose after use in proper hazardous waste containers
  • Never put extra chemicals back in the original container


 What do I do if the material spills?

  • Do not use paper towel or other possibly combustible materials
  • Vacate area  and call for assistance
  • If you come in contact with an oxidizing chemical, use the shower or eye wash station appropriately  

Page last modified December 2, 2010