Handling, Storing and Disposing of Materials

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For the following materials state how they are handled, stored and disposed.


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When handling mercury never use a mercury thermometer in a lab oven.

Don’t keep more mercury than you need only buy amounts that you will need.

To contain spills that occur you should use steel, plastic and glass trays.

Mercury should not be used where it is possible that it could contact a hot surface and vaporise.

Gold and silver should not be worn when working with mercury. When using mercury wear standard lab clothing for example a lab coat, safety glasses and gloves.

Mercury containing products should always be contained in a large container with a lid that’s tight fitting. Furthermore there should be oil absorbent matter around the mercury/product to protect it from shocks and breaking. Not be able to tip over.

Many states and local agencies have programs which will come and collect and dispose of mercury safely.

Concentrated HCl

When handling Concentrated HCl wear a chemical-resistant apron and also chemical resistant gloves furthermore chemical splash goggles should also be worn.

Hydrochloric Acid should be stored in a wood cabinet as wood does not corrode form hydrochloric acid fumes. Neutralise the Hydrochloric acid and then pour it down the sink if it is a small amount then you just need to dilute it. Or you can call a professional company to dispose of the acid for you if it is a big quantity.


When handling Sodium it is recommended to have 2 people involved it should only be handled by professional/trained personnel that are wearing protective clothing it should be handled under dry gas such as argon all equipment that is used whilst handling this material should be dry also keep combustible materials away. Avoid contact with eyes and skin, avoid breathing dust or fumes.

Keep sodium away from oxygen and water and also moisture and humidity furthermore store in dry inert gas e.g. argon and also store in a sealed container.

To dispose of sodium it is recommended to use a registered company to get rid of it safely.You could also store the waste in tightly sealed containers under toluene or kerosene this was is to be disposed of as hazardous/dangerous waste.

Radioactive Source

When handling radioactive sources you should wear safety glasses and your wrists should be covered by something such as tape furthermore lab coats should be worn and also keep an extra set of clothes and shoes in case your clothes become contaminated. You should keep radioactive sources in lead lined boxes as this reduced the radiation they give out and stops it reaching other people.

To dispose of radioactive material you should call a registered company.

Nitric Acid

When handling nitric acid the user should wear safety goggles and gloves furthermore the user must be trained appropriately when using this chemical

The chemical is corrosive so when storing nitric acid you should use a wooden box as it doesn’t corrode like metal does. To dispose of nitric acid you should contact the poison waste management group in your county to safely dispose of this chemical.

Copper Sulphate (20g)

When handling copper sulphate appropriate clothing should be worn such as a lab coat, gloves and safety goggles. This should be kept in a sealed container with labels on it to show what it is. To dispose of copper sulphate crystals can be thrown in the trash however you can flush small quantities down the drain however use plenty of water when doing this.

Inoculated agar plates

Do not remove the lid without reason or for long times also do not just lay the lid down on the counter. Store in a fridge or cold room upside down. You can also put it in an incubator

When disposing identify what is growing on the plate and then put the plate into correct biohazard bags. Also you can Altercate the plate in 121 degrees for 15 minutes and bin.

Ethanol (500ml)

Keep away from heat sparks and flames also use it with ventilation and the container should be closed.

Should be stored in a dry place which is cool and away from direct sunlight. It should be disposed of as a hazardous waste in the correct waste container.

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