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Hydrogen peroxide storage

Submitted by sat on 09 April 2019

Hydrogen peroxide should be stored in a dark, cool, dry, well-ventilated area, away from all incompatible substances. It is good practice to keep minimal stocks and replace as required.

Hydrogen peroxide decomposes exothermically to release oxygen gas and water according to the equation:

2H2O2(aq) → 2H2O(l) + O2(g)

Although the temperature of a refrigerator may slow the decomposition, there are other factors to consider. At room temperature, hydrogen peroxide is generally relatively stable and the rate of decomposition for hydrogen peroxide (20-50%), is approximately 0.5% per year1, so even after storage for a couple of years at room temperature, the concentration will only decrease slightly.

Hydrogen peroxide solutions of concentration 20% and above are classified as a Dangerous Goods Class 5.1 (Oxidising agent) with a subsidiary class 8 (Corrosive). There are therefore several incompatibilities to consider when deciding upon the most appropriate storage. The relevant Safety Data Sheets contain details for safe handling and storage and list several chemical incompatibilities, including with some chemicals classified as Dangerous Goods class 5.1.1

Hydrogen peroxide solutions of concentrations 3% and 6% are below the threshold for classification as dangerous goods.  However, they still have oxidising properties.

Hydrogen peroxide has been identified as a chemical of security concern.2  It is therefore important to keep it stored securely to prevent unauthorized access.

In the school setting:

Factors to consider:

Storage instructions according to the H2O2 concentration:

Considerations regarding storage of hydrogen peroxide in a refrigerator:

Considerations regarding storage of hydrogen peroxide in a 5.1 cupboard:

Decomposition of hydrogen peroxide (20-50%)

References and further reading

1 Chem-Supply. 2017. Hydrogen peroxide 20-50%, Safety Data Sheet, Chem-Supply website, https://www.chemsupply.com.au/documents/HL0011CH35.pdf

2 ‘Chemical Security’, Australian Government Australian National Security website,  https://www.nationalsecurity.gov.au/SECURITYANDYOURCOMMUNITY/CHEMICALSECURITY/Pages/default.aspx (Accessed April 2019)

3 Schott Duran. n.d. SCHOTT DURAN laboratory glass bottle and screw caps, Schott website, https://www.schott.com/d/uk/c260afa3-294c-41ee-a7eb-1855e88cdfee/1.0/bottles_caps.pdf.

4 Science ASSIST. 2018. Chemical Management Handbook Edition 3. Science ASSIST websitehttps://assist.asta.edu.au/resource/4193/chemical-management-handbook-australian-schools-edition-3

5 Chem Supply. 2015. Hydrogen peroxide 6%, Safety Data Sheet, Chem-Supply website, https://www.chemsupply.com.au/documents/HL0021CH7Z.pdf

6 Chem Supply. 2015. Hydrogen peroxide 3%, Safety Data Sheet,  Chem-Supply website, https://www.chemsupply.com.au/documents/HL0041CHIF.pdf

7 Environmental Health & Safety, University of Washington. 2018. Hydrogen peroxide SOP, University of Washington website, https://www.ehs.washington.edu/resource/hydrogen-peroxide-sop-684

8 ‘Hydrogen Peroxide, 30%, Reagent, 100mL’, Flinn Scientific website, https://www.flinnsci.com/hydrogen-peroxide-30-reagent-100-ml/h0037/ (Accessed April 2019)

9 Science ASSIST. 2018. AIS Refrigerators and freezers in science, Science ASSIST website, https://assist.asta.edu.au/resource/4278/ais-refrigerators-and-freezers-...

10 Solvay Interox. 1998. Hydrogen peroxide handling and storage, Solvay website, https://www.solvay.co.th/en/binaries/H2O2_Handling%20and%20Storage-191789.pdf

11 ‘Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) Safety and Handling Guidelines’, USP technologies website, http://www.h2o2.com/technical-library/default.aspx?pid=66 (Accessed April 2019)

 

Standards Australia. 2004. AS/NZS 2243 Safety in Laboratories, Part 10: 2004 Storage of chemicals. Sydney, Australia.