Mixing Incompatible Wastes

A laboratory worker was cleaning out chemicals from an old refrigerator. Wearing gloves, chemical splash goggles and a lab coat (over shorts), the worker was segregating the chemicals into several different waste containers. He found a small bottle of iodine monochloride, and not knowing the physical properties of the chemical, began to pour it into a jar with other liquid wastes. The waste container suddenly began fuming vigorously, startling the worker and causing the worker to drop the bottle of iodine monochloride. Several drops of the chemical splashed onto the worker's leg, causing a second degree burn.  

The iodine monochloride reacted with a chemical in the waste container. The worker was fortunate that the reaction did not produce significant amounts of hazardous vapors. Had the worker been wearing long pants, the burn might have been avoided.

  • Never mix chemicals unless you are certain of the consequences and are prepared to control the hazard. 

  • Do not mix incompatible waste chemicals together. 

  • Know the hazards of each chemical before working with it.

  • Wear pants and a closed lab coat when working with hazardous materials