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Storage of Sodium & Phosphorus

Submitted by sat on 02 June 2016


Science ASSIST recommends that sodium metal is:

The use of a sand bath is not considered necessary for storage of sodium. It could mask the loss of storage fluid. For safe handling procedures see SOP: Demonstrating the reaction of alkali metals lithium and sodium with water


Phosphorus is not on our list of recommended chemicals because of the significant risks associated with its storage and use. This includes the following:

Science ASSIST strongly recommends the disposal of phosphorus by a licenced chemical disposal contractor. See our list of School science suppliers for contact details.

If your school decides to keep phosphorus we recommend that a site specific risk assessment be conducted concerning its storage, handling and emergency response procedures.

White Phosphorus:

Red phosphorous is more easily managed and less hazardous than white phosphorus. It should be stored with other flammable solids away from oxidising agents, alkalis and other incompatible chemicals.


Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Public Health Statement White Phosphorus CAS#: 7723-14-0 (Last accessed: December 2016)

CLEAPSS. Phosphorus: (Hazcard 73A) (updated March 2017) (login required)

CLEAPSS. Sodium. (Hazcard CLP88) (updated March 2017) (login required)

‘How should I store reactive metals like sodium, potassium, lithium, etc?’ On Flinn scientific website's FAQ: (updated January 2017)

'Kerosene', Safety Data Sheet, Chem-Supply website, (August 2013)

‘Phosphorous, red’ Safety Data Sheet, Sigma-Aldrich website,

‘Sodium metal’, Safety Data heet, Chem-Supply website, (May 2013)

Standard Australia. 2012. AS/NZS 5026:2012 (Incorporating Amendment No. 1): The storage and handling of Class 4 dangerous goods. Sydney, Australia.

'White phosphorus incident management' Public Health England website. (January 2016)