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Peroxide-Forming Chemicals

Certain chemicals may form explosive peroxides when exposed to air, or may autopolymerize due to accumulation of peroxides when exposed to air. It is critical to minimize quantities of these materials in the laboratory, and dispose of unused materials before they present an explosion risk. All unopened chemicals should be disposed through Environmental Safety, Sustainability and Risk eighteen months after manufacture.


The following chemicals can form explosive levels of peroxides without concentrating. Containers should be dated when opened and disposed through Environmental Safety,Sustainability and Risk after three months:

  • Butadiene
  • Chloroprene
  • Divinylacetylene
  • Isopropyl Ether
  • Tetrafluoroethylene
  • Vinylidene chloride

The following chemicals can form explosive peroxides on concentration (e.g., after evaporation). Containers should be dated when opened and disposed through Environmental Safety,Sustainability and Risk after twelve months:

  • Acetal
  • Acetaldehyde
  • Benzyl alcohol
  • 2-Butanol
  • Cumene
  • Cyclohexanol
  • 2-Cyclohexen1-ol
  • Cyclohexene
  • Decahydronaphthalene
  • Diacetylene
  • Dicyclopentadiene
  • Diethylene glycoldimethyl ether
  • Dioxanes
  • Ethylene glycoldimethyl ether
  • Ethyl ether
  • Glyme
  • 4-Heptanol
  • 2-Hexanol
  • Methylacetylene
  • 3-Methyl-1-butanol
  • Methylcyclopentane
  • Methyl isobutyl ketone
  • 4-Methyl-2-pentanol
  • 2-Penten-1-ol
  • 4-Penten-1-ol
  • 1-Phenylethanol
  • 2-Phenylethanol
  • 2-Propanol
  • Tetrahydrofuran
  • Tetrahydronaphthalene
  • Vinyl ethers
  • other secondary alcohols

The following chemicals may autopolymerize due to peroxide accumulation after exposure to air. Containers of these inhibited chemicals should be dated when opened and disposed through Environmental Safety,Sustainability and Risk after twelve months. These reagents are typically produced with inhibitors to prevent dangerous polymerization reactions. If these chemicals are synthesized in the laboratory and are uninhibited, storage is safe for no more than twenty-four hours:

  • Acrylic acid
  • Acrylonitrile
  • Butadiene
  • Chloroprene
  • Chlorotrifluoroethylene
  • Methyl methacrylate
  • Styrene
  • Tetrafluoroethylene
  • Vinyl acetate
  • Vinyl acetylene
  • Vinyl chloride
  • Vinyl pyridine
  • Vinylidene chloride

CRC Handbook of Laboratory Safety
5th Edition