What are unstable chemicals?

Unstable or self-reactive substances are chemicals which have the potential to vigorously polymerize, decompose, condense, or become self-reactive under conditions of shock, pressure, temperature, light, or contact with another material. Major types of highly reactive chemicals are explosives, peroxides, water-reactives, and pyrophorics.

What should I do when handling unstable chemicals?

  • Always wear safety goggles, closed toe shoes, and gloves
  • Handle under a hood if the reaction has the potential of creating gases
  • If there is a chance of explosion, use barriers or other forms of isolation methods
  • For some heat sensitive materials, temperature should be controlled.
  • Date all containers when received or opened

Page last modified March 2, 2015