Peroxide Formers

The hazards and management of peroxide-forming compounds are discussed in the UI Chemical Hygiene Plan Section 10.7. It is important to carefully manage these materials because they can become very shock-sensitive with storage or concentration.

The following chemicals are examples of common compounds that form peroxides during storage. The sources for this list of chemicals are National Safety Council (1987). Recognition and Handling of Peroxidizable Compounds. Data Sheet I-655 Rev. 87. and National Research Council (1995). Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: Handling and Disposal of Chemicals, Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. Please refer to these resources for additional information.

List A – Chemicals that form peroxides, which may explode even without being concentrated (e.g., concentration such as by evaporation and distillation). Take extra care to manage these materials because they may become hazardous even if never opened.

  • Divinyl ether
  • Isopropyl ether
  • Potassium metal
  • Potassium amide
  • Sodium amide
  • Vinylidene chloride

List B – Chemicals that form hazardous levels of peroxides when concentrated such as by evaporation or distillation.

  • Acetal
  • t-Butyl alcohol
  • Cumene
  • Cyclohexene
  • Cyclooctene
  • Cyclopentene
  • Diacetylene
  • Dicyclopentadiene
  • Diethylene glycol dimethyl ether (Diglyme)
  • 1, 4-Dioxane
  • Ethyl ether (diethyl ether)
  • Ethylene glycol dimethyl ether (Glyme)
  • Furan
  • Methyl acetylene
  • Methyl cyclopentane
  • Methyl isobutyl ketone
  • Tetrahydrofuran
  • Tetrahydronaphthalene
  • Vinyl ethers
  • (More commonly used chemicals in bold)

List C – May polymerize violently and hazardously due to initiation by peroxide accumulation in solution. They are typically stored with polymerization inhibitors to prevent this from occurring.

  • Acrylic acid
  • Acrylonitrile
  • Butadiene *
  • Chlorobutadiene (Chloroprene) *
  • Chlorotrifluoroethylene
  • Methyl methacrylate
  • Styrene
  • Tetrafluoroethylene *
  • Vinyl acetate
  • Vinyl acetylene
  • Vinyl chloride
  • Vinyl pyridine
  • Vinylidene chloride

* When stored as a liquid, the peroxide-forming potential of certain monomers increases. They may become hazardous even if never opened.


Updated 07/2012