Peroxide Forming Chemicals

Organic peroxides are highly dangerous compounds that form in some chemicals over time, generally with exposure to oxygen and UV light. These peroxides are highly unstable and can detonate easily, especially upon addition of heat, friction or impact.

The best way to minimize peroxide hazards is to:

  • Date all peroxide forming chemicals with date received and date opened
  • Dispose of peroxidizable chemicals at expiration date or after 18 months if unopened

A few examples of substances that can form peroxides include diethyl ether, dioxane, and tetrahydrofuran (THF).

Smaller levels of peroxides are typically dissolved in the liquid, but high peroxide levels can lead to solid peroxides precipitating out of solution.

*-* SPECIAL NOTE *-*

If a container of a peroxidizable chemical has solid formation around the lid, DO NOT OPEN IT. The friction of opening the container could potentially cause it to detonate. Arrange for disposal.

If there is significant solid formation inside the bottle, DO NOT MOVE THE BOTTLE. Depending on the substance, the solid could be a highly sensitive organic peroxide that could detonate with a small amount of shock. Arrange for disposal.

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Earlham College, an independent, residential college, aspires to provide the highest-quality undergraduate education in the liberal arts, including the sciences, shaped by the distinctive perspectives of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

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Richmond, Indiana
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