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High Hazard & Reactive Chemicals Management
November 6, 2023

There are numerous dangers to both the environment and people without a proper reactive chemicals management program in place at your facility. Reactive materials services are available through Environmental Marketing Services. Our technicians have been specially trained and are qualified to handle all your high-hazard and reactive chemicals management to ensure your facility complies with all regulations and laws.

What are Considered Highly Reactive Chemicals?

Highly reactive chemicals include those that have the ability or potential to create an oxidation-reduction reaction, undergo vigorous condensation, polymerize, or become self-reactive due to temperature, pressure, shock, contact with another chemical, light, or temperature.
Some examples of highly reactive chemicals include:

-Peroxides
-Explosives
-Pyrophoric
-Water-reactive

Anyone working with these types of highly reactive chemicals should have a laboratory supervisor’s approval prior to handling any of these or others.

How Highly Reactive Chemicals Should Be Handled

Any highly reactive chemical needs to be handled with caution. This cautious handling includes the prohibition of mixing even small quantities of them with other chemicals and segregating them for storage. Any handling of reactive chemicals requires the use of appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment.)

When working in areas where pressures or temperatures are below or above normal conditions, you must take measures to minimize hazards such as a vigorous reaction, or explosion. These measures include providing a mechanism to control the temperatures and dissipate any excess pressure and heat.

A shield should be in place to prevent any personnel from being harmed by an explosion. The facility should also be protected with the use of barricades from damage which includes implosion or over-pressurization.

When working with highly reactive chemicals, you should always use the smallest amount possible. Limit the reactions when conducting reactions involving explosive chemicals to no more than 0.5 g in the vessel being used. There should also not be more than 0.1 g synthesized in a product run.

The only exception to these rules is if the handling has been approved by a laboratory supervisor. This approval needs to include appropriate written procedures, mitigation controls, and training has to have been completed by the handler. If the equipment being used is glass, and the process involves pressure or vacuum conditions, the glass equipment needs to be wrapped with tape or other means to protect against shattering.

High Hazard Waste Management Disposal Process

Numerous types of materials are considered high hazards. Handling these materials for disposal requires special chemical engineering techniques. These techniques need to be applied on your site by a professional, or transported to a remote facility by Environmental Marketing Services and managed there.
A few types of high hazard materials include:

-Poisonous gasses
-Biological agents
-Explosives
-Banned pesticides
-Many others

Once materials have been identified as high hazard there are steps that must be followed for safe high-hazard waste management disposal:

Remediation Procedures
The first step after identification as high hazard, is remediation. The professionals handling the materials are required to put on PPE (personal protection equipment.) This equipment includes Kevlar suits made from fire-resistant material. A breathing apparatus is also needed as these are some of the most hazardous materials a professional can handle.
Stabilization Procedures
Once the remediation procedures are complete, stabilization is needed for explosive materials on-site, or the materials cannot be transported. Other forms of high-hazard waste need to be expertly packaged before they are able to be transported.
Acid Base Neutralization
High-hazard wastes can be neutralized with agents to bring their ph to a non-hazardous level. Sodium bicarbonate is the typical agent used to bring the ph of the materials down between 5 and 9.
Oxidation Reduction
Oxidation/reduction (Redox) is a reaction that chemically converts hazardous wastes to a less toxic compound and makes them less inert and/or mobile. Sodium bisulfite, sodium hydrosulfite, and ferrous sulfate are the reducing agents typically used in this process.
Hydrolysis
Hydrolysis is a chemical process where a molecule of water is added to hazardous waste that will cause it to split into two parts. This process breaks the bond in the hazardous waste chemicals and makes them less hazardous.

Specific Reactive Chemicals Management for Disposal

Cyanide Disposal

Cyanide compounds that release cyanide anion or are capable of metabolizing in a body are particularly hazardous or highly toxic. Typical cyanide compounds include salts, such as sodium cyanide, or potassium cyanide, and are commonly in the form of crystalline solids or white granules. Other forms can be liquids, such as trimethylsilyl cyanide.

The hazards of cyanide include being inhaled, absorbed into the skin, or accidentally ingested or injected. Unused ampoules have to be disposed of as surplus chemicals when your facility no longer needs them, or they have gone beyond their expiration date.

If your facility has cyanide compounds that need disposal, they should be handled as hazardous waste. Store cyanide waste in dedicated containers only used for cyanide waste. Solid waste, such as matting, paper towels, gloves, etc should be stored separately from liquid cyanide waste.

Create hazardous waste tags and contact Environmental Marketing Services for pick up and disposal of these materials.

Expired Ethers Stabilization and Disposal

Peroxides form within two weeks in unstabilized or freshly distilled ethers. Old samples of ether can contain peroxides because of an oxidation process in the presence of light. Ethers commonly form peroxides when they are stored. Once a chemical becomes peroxidized, it can explode when concentrated or when impacted by friction or heat.
Expired ether stabilization and disposal require the lab to be vacant. A professional team will create site-specific safety measures for disposing of the material. During the typical disposal process, the team will wear PPE. Remote opening may be required to remotely open the containers and chemically treat the materials to destroy the peroxides. After this stabilization process, the materials can then be removed by Environmental Marketing Services.

PCB Waste Disposal

Certain PCB (polychlorinated biphenyl) waste materials require approval from the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency.) Talk to the experts at Environmental Marketing Services or check Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations, part 761, subpart D to learn whether or not your PCB waste disposal requires approval.
Typically, PCBs are disposed of in an incinerator that has been authorized as a PCB burner. There are other disposal methods, such as a TSCA chemical waste landfill, or RCRA hazardous waste landfill which you can learn more about from Environmental Marketing Services.

Picric Acid Stabilization and Disposal

Picric acid has to be disposed of properly through a safety department if the chemical is no longer in crystal formation and hydrated. If the picric acid is in crystal formation or dry, you need to call the experts at Environmental Marketing Services to learn how to stabilize and dispose of the waste.

Make sure any picric acid your facility stores is kept wet. When containers of this material are opened, clean the bottleneck, threads, and cap with a wet cloth before resealing. Never put this material in a metal container, and do not use metal spatulas when working with picric acid. Label all containers with the date they are first opened.

When your facility is ready or has questions about disposal, contact the experts at Environmental Marketing Services.

Reactive Chemicals Management

Reactive chemicals include strong reducers and oxidizers and water/air reactive chemicals and these require reactive chemicals management. Waste materials are considered reactive if they can react violently or explode when handled under normal conditions to water. Disposal of these materials requires training and experience.

Environmental Marketing Services will come to your site during all phases of your reactive chemicals management and use the most advanced and up-to-date technology methods to dispose of your reactive chemicals. We welcome the opportunity to help you develop an innovative and cost-effective solution to all your recycling and disposal needs.

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