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Table D: Selected general lists 

Poisonous gases | Shock Sensitive Chemicals | Pyrophoric Chemicals | Peroxide-forming Chemicals | Carcinogens and other Highly Toxic Chemicals

Table D1 Poisonous Gases

The gases on this list are either on the Department of Transportation's Category 1 list, or the Linde Specialty Gases company's Group 6 - Very Poisonous list. These chemicals are highly toxic gases at ambient temperature and pressure. They have an extremely high potential for causing significant harm if not adequately controlled.

Arsine Boron trichloride Chlorine pentafluoride

Chlorine trifluoride Cyanogen Cyanogen chloride

Diborane Dinitrogen tetroxide Fluorine

Germane Hydrogen selenide Nitric oxide

Nitrogen dioxide Nitrogen trioxide Nitrosyl chloride

Oxygen difluoride Phosgene Phosphine

Phosphorus pentafluoride Selenium hexafluoride Stibine

Sulfur tetrafluoride Tellurium Hexafluoride Tetraethyldithiopyrophosphate


Table D-2 Shock Sensitive Chemicals

The classes of chemicals listed below may explode when subjected to shock or friction. Therefore users must have appropriate laboratory equipment, information, knowledge and training to use these compounds safely.

Acetylenic compounds, especially polyacetylenes, haloacetylenes, and heavy metal salts of acetylenes (copper, silver, and mercury salts are particularly sensitive)

Acyl nitrates

Alkyl nitrates, particularly polyol nitrates such as nitrocellulose and nitroglycerine

Alkyl and acyl nitrites

Alkyl perchlorates

Amminemetal oxosalts: metal compounds with coordinated ammonia, hydrazine, or similar nitrogenous donors and ionic perchlorate, nitrate, permanganate, or other oxidizing group

Azides, including metal, nonmetal, and organic azides

Chlorite salts of metals, such as AgClO2 and Hg(ClO2)2

Diazo compounds such as CH2N2

Diazonium salts, when dry

Fulminates such as mercury fulminate (Hg(CNO)2)

Hydrogen peroxide (which becomes increasingly treacherous as the concentration rises above 30%, forming explosive mixtures with organic materials and decomposing violently in the presence of traces of transition metals

N-Halogen compounds such as difluoroamino compounds and halogen azides

N-Nitro compounds such as N-nitromethylamine, nitrourea, nitroguanidine, and nitric amide

Oxo salts of nitrogenous bases: perchlorates, dichromates, nitrates, iodates, chlorites, chlorates, and permanganates of ammonia, amines, hydroxylamine, guanidine, etc.

Perchlorate salts (which can form when perchloric acid mists dry in fume hoods or associated duct work. Most metal, nonmetal, and amine perchlorates can be detonated and may undergo violent reaction in contact with combustible materials)

Peroxides and hydroperoxides, organic

Peroxides (solid) that crystallize from or are left from evaporation of peroxidizable solvents (see the following Section 3)

Peroxides, transition-metal salts

Picrates, especially salts of transition and heavy metals, such as Ni, Pb, Hg, Cu, and Zn

Polynitroalkyl compounds such as tetranitromethane and dinitroacetonitrile

Polynitroaromatic compounds especially polynitrohydrocarbons, phenols, and amines (e.g., dinitrotoluene, trinitrotoluene, and picric acid)

Note: Perchloric acid must be used only in specially-designed perchloric acid fume hoods that have built-in wash down systems to remove shock-sensitive deposits. Before purchasing this acid, laboratory supervisors must arrange for use of an approved perchloric acid hood. None of the hoods in the biology department are rated for perchloric acid use.

Table D-3 Pyrophoric Chemicals

The classes of chemicals listed below will readily oxidize and ignite spontaneously in air. Therefore, users must demonstrate to the department that they have the appropriate laboratory equipment, information, knowledge and training to use these compounds safely.

Grignard reagents, RMgX

Metal alkyls and aryls, such as RLi, RNa, R3Al, R2Zn

Metal carbonyls such as Ni(CO)4, Fe(CO)5, Co2(CO)8

Alkali metals such as Na, K

Metal powders, such as Al, Co, Fe, Mg, Mn, Pd, Pt, Ti, Sn, Zn, Zr

Metal hydrides such as NaH, LiAlH4

Nonmetal hydrides, such as B2H6 and other boranes, PH3, AsH3

Nonmetal alkyls, such as R3B, R3P, R3As

Phosphorus (white)

Table D-4 Peroxide-Forming Chemicals

The chemicals listed below can form explosive peroxide crystals on exposure to air, and therefore require special handling procedures after the container is opened. Some of the chemicals form peroxides that are violently explosive in concentrated solution or as solids, and therefore should never be evaporated to dryness. Others are polymerizable unsaturated compounds and can initiate a runaway, explosive polymerization reaction. All peroxidizable compounds should be stored away from heat and light. They should be protected from physical damage and ignition sources. A warning label should be affixed to all peroxidizable materials to indicate the date of receipt and the date the container was first opened. Due to these special handling requirements, users must have the appropriate laboratory equipment, information, knowledge and training to use these compounds safely.

A. Severe Peroxide Hazard with Exposure to Air

(discard within 3 months from opening)

diisopropyl ether (isopropyl ether)

divinylacetylene (DVA)

vinylidene chloride (1,1-dichloroethylene)

potassium metal

sodium amide (sodamide)

potassium amide

B. Peroxide Hazard on Concentration

Do not distill or evaporate without first testing for the presence of peroxides (discard or test for peroxides after 6 months)

acetaldehyde diethyl acetal (acetal)

cumene (isopropylbenzene)



decalin (decahydronaphthalene)

diacetylene (butadiene)


diethyl ether (ether)

diethylene glycol dimethyl ether (diglyme)


ethylene glycol dimethyl ether (glyme)

ethylene glycol ether acetates

ethylene glycol monoethers (cellosolves)




methyl isobutyl ketone

tetrahydrofuran (THF)

tetralin (tetrahydronaphthalene)

vinyl ethers

C. Hazard of Rapid Polymerization Initiated by Internally-Formed Peroxides

(discard or test for peroxides after 6 months)

chloroprene (2-chloro-1,3-butadiene)

vinyl acetate



(discard after 12 months)


vinylacetylene (MVA)

tetrafluoroethylene (TFE)

vinyl chloride

Table D-5 Carcinogens, Reproductive Toxins or Highly Toxic Chemicals

The chemicals listed below are extremely hazardous. Workers must have knowledge of the dangers of these chemicals prior to use, and documentation of training in safe working procedures.

Biologically active compounds

protease inhibitors (e.g. PMSF, Aprotin, Pepstatin A, Leopeptin);

protein synthesis inhibitors (e.g. cycloheximide, Puromycin);

transcriptional inhibitors (e.g. a-amanitin and actinomycin D);

DNA synthesis inhibitors (e.g. hydroxyurea, nucleotide analogs (i.e. dideoxy nucleotides), actinomycin D, acidicolin);

phosphatase inhibitors (e.g. okadaic acid);

respiratory chain inhibitors (e.g. sodium azide);

kinase inhibitors (e.g. NaF);

mitogenic inhibitors (e.g. colcemid); and

mitogenic compounds (e.g. concanavalin A).

Castor bean lectin: Ricin A, Ricin B, RCA toxins

Diisopropyl fluorophosphate: highly toxic cholinesterase inhibitor; the antidote, atropine sulfate and 2-PAM (2-pyridinealdoxime methiodide) must be readily available

Jaquirity bean lectin (Abrus precatorius)

N-methyl-N'-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine: carcinogen (this chemical forms explosive compounds upon degradation)

Phalloidin from Amanita Phalloides: used for staining actin filaments

Retinoids: potential human teratogens

Streptozotocin: potential human carcinogen

Urethane (ethyl carbamate): an anesthetic agent, potent carcinogen and strong teratogen, volatile at room temperature