Appendix K - Incompatible Chemicals


Incompatible Chemicals

Substances in the left-hand column should be stored and handled so they cannot contact corresponding substances in the right-hand column. The following list contains some of the chemicals commonly found in laboratories, but it should not be considered exhaustive. Information for the specific chemical you are using can usually be found in the “REACTIVITY” or “INCOMPATIBILITIES” section of the Safety Data Sheet. EHS has a copy of Rapid Guide to Chemical Incompatibilities, by Pohanish and Greene, which lists the incompatibilities of hundreds of chemicals. You may come to our office at 395 Pine Tree Road, Suite 210 and use this valuable reference at any time.


Alkaline and alkaline earth metals, such as Sodium, Potassium, Cesium, Lithium, Magnesium, Calcium

Carbon dioxide, Carbon tetrachloride and other chlorinated hydrocarbons, any free acid or halogen. Do not use water, foam or dry chemical on fires involving these metals.


Acetic acid

Chromic acid, Nitric acid, hydroxyl compounds, Ethylene glycol, Perchloric acid, peroxides, permanganates.


Acetic anhydride

Chromic acid, Nitric acid, hydroxyl-containing compounds, Ethylene glycol, Perchloric acid, peroxides and permanganates.



Concentrated Nitric and Sulfuric acid mixtures.



Copper, Silver, Mercury and halogens, Fluorine, Chlorine, Bromine.


Alkali & alkaline earth metals (such as powdered Aluminum or Magnesium, Calcium, Lithium, Sodium, Potassium)

Water, Carbon tetrachloride or other chlorinated hydrocarbons, Carbon dioxide, and halogens.


Aluminum alkyls

Halogenated hydrocarbons, water.


Ammonia (anhydrous)

Silver, Mercury, Chlorine, Calcium hypochlorite, Iodine, Bromine, Hydrogen fluoride, Chlorine dioxide, Hydrofluoric acid (anhydrous).


Ammonium nitrate

Acids, metal powders, flammable liquids, chlorates, nitrites, Sulfur, finely divided organics or combustibles.



Nitric acid, Hydrogen peroxide.


Arsenical materials

Any reducing agent.






Benzoyl peroxide

Chloroform, organic materials.



Ammonia, Acetylene, Butadiene, Butane and other petroleum gases, Sodium carbide, Turpentine, Benzene and finely divided metals, Methane, Propane, Hydrogen.


Calcium carbide

Water (see also Acetylene).


Calcium hypochlorite



Methyl carbitol, Phenol, Glycerol, Nitromethane, Iron oxide, Ammonia, activated carbon.


Calcium oxide



Carbon, activated

Calcium hypochlorite, all oxidizing agents.


Carbon tetrachloride




Ammonium salts, acids, metal powders, Sulfur, finely divided organics or combustibles.






Ammonia, Acetylene, Butadiene, Butane, Propane, and other petroleum gases, Hydrogen, Sodium carbide, Turpentine, Benzene and finely divided metals, Methane.


Chlorine dioxide

Ammonia, Methane, Phosphine and Hydrogen sulfide.


Chlorosulfonic acid

Organic materials, water, powdered metals.


Chromic acid & Chromium trioxide

Acetic acid, Naphthalene, Camphor, Glycerin, Turpentine, alcohol and other flammable liquids, paper or cellulose.



Acetylene, Hydrogen peroxide, Ethylene oxide.


Cumene hydro


Acids, organic or mineral.





Ethylene oxide

Acids, bases, Copper, Magnesium perchlorate.


Flammable liquids

Ammonium nitrate, Chromic acid, Hydrogen peroxide, Nitric acid, Sodium peroxide, halogens.



Almost all oxidizable substances.


Hydrocarbons (such as Bromine, Butane)

Fluorine, Chlorine, Chromic acid, Sodium peroxide.


Hydrocyanic acid

Nitric acid, alkalis.


Hydrofluoric acid (anhydrous)

Ammonia (aqueous or anhydrous).


Hydrogen peroxide

Copper, Chromium, Iron, most metals or their salts, any flammable liquid, combustible materials, Aniline, Nitromethane, alcohols, Acetone, organic materials, Aniline.



Water, air, Carbon dioxide, chlorinated hydrocarbons.


Hydrofluoric acid, anhydrous

(Hydrogen fluoride)

Ammonia (anhydrous or aqueous), organic peroxides.


Hydrogen sulfide

Fuming Nitric acid, oxidizing gases.


Hydrocarbons (Benzene, Butane, Propane, Gasoline, Turpentine, etc.)

Fluorine, Chlorine, Bromine, Chromic acid, Sodium peroxide, fuming Nitric acid.



Barium oxide, Lead dioxide, Phosphorus pentachloride and trichloride, Zinc, Potassium dichromate.




Acids, activated Carbon.



Acetylene, Ammonia (anhydrous or aqueous), Hydrogen.


Maleic anhydride

Sodium hydroxide, Pyridine and other tertiary amines.



Acetylene, Fulminic acid, Ammonia, Oxalic acid.



Acids, metal powders, flammable liquids, chlorates, sulfur, finely divided organics or combustibles, Sulfuric acid.


Nitric acid (concentrated)

Acetic acid, Aniline, Chromic acid, Hydrocyanic acid, Hydrogen sulfide, flammable liquids, flammable gases, nitratable substances, organic peroxides, chlorates, Copper, brass, any heavy metals.



Inorganic bases, amines.



Oil, grease, Hydrogen, flammable liquids, solids, or gases.


Oxalic acid

Silver, mercury, organic peroxides.






ric acid

Acetic anhydride, Bismuth and its alloys, alcohol, paper, wood, grease, oil, organic amines or antioxidants.


Peroxides, organic

Acids (organic or mineral); avoid friction, store cold.


Phosphorus (white)

Air, Oxygen, alkalis, reducing agents.


Phosphorus pentoxide

Propargyl alcohol.



Carbon tetrachloride, Carbon dioxide, water.


Potassium chlorate

Acids, Sulfuric acid (see also chlorates).


Potassium perchlorate

Sulfuric & other acids (see also Perchloric acid, & chlorates).


Potassium permanganate

Glycerin, Ethylene glycol, Benzaldehyde, any free acid, Sulfuric acid.



Reducing agents



Acetylene, Oxalic acid, Tartaric acid, Fulminic acid, ammonium compounds.



Carbon tetrachloride, Carbon dioxide, water. See alkaline metals (above).


Sodium amide

Air, water.


Sodium nitrate

Ammonium nitrate and other ammonium salts.


Sodium oxide

Water, any free acid.


Sodium peroxide

Any oxidizable substance, such as Ethanol, Methanol, glacial Acetic acid, Acetic anhydride, Benzaldehyde, Carbon disulfide, Glycerine, Ethylene glycol, Ethyl acetate, Methyl acetate and Furfural.





Sulfuric acid

Chlorates, perchlorates, permanganates, organic peroxides. Potassium chlorate, Potassium perchlorate, Potassium permanganate (similar compounds of light metals, such as Sodium, Lithium).




UDMH (1,1-Dimethylhydrazine)

Oxidizing agents such as Hydrogen peroxide and fuming Nitric acid.



Prohibit water, Carbon tetrachloride, foam and dry chemical on zirconium fires.



  Previous Appendix  Back To Top Next Appendix