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Chemical Safety

The Chemical Hygiene Officer for the University of Maryland is Miriam Sharp (301-405-3960; 

UMD Chemical Information

Pyrophoric Chemicals

Editions of NFPA 45 Standard on Fire Protection for Laboratories Using Chemicals after 2015 have instituted new regulations for management of pyrophoric chemical use. Relavent sections within the standard are 6.6 and 11.2.6. 

  • Fire-retardant lab coats and gloves are required when pyrophoric chemicals are used outside a glovebox.
  • Natural-fiber street clothing is also required when pyrophoric chemicals are used outside a glovebox.
  • Pyrophoric chemicals must be handled in systems or enclosures that prevent the chemicals from igniting when a dry/inert atmosphere is required by a safety data sheet.
  • Pyrophoric chemicals must only be handled only by those with experience in their hazards and properties or under close, direct supervision by those with experience in their hazards and properties.
  • No one should work alone with pyrophoric chemicals.
  • Pyrophoric liquids dispensed in a chemical fume hood must be from sure-seal-type bottles with syringes or double-tipped needles in accordance with best practices.
  • Open dispensing of pyrophoric liquids must be performed inside of a glove box.
  • Pyrophoric solids must be handled/dispensed inside of a glove box.
  • Residual moisture and contaminates must be cleaned from reaction vessels, glassware, needles, and other lab equipment that will be exposed to pyrophoric chemicals. Equipment must be purged with a high-purity dry inert gas prior to use.
  • The void space at the top of containers of pyrophoric chemicals shall be backfilled with a high-purity dry inert gas as the material is removed.
  • Needles, spatulas, wipes, and tools that have been in contact with pyrophoric chemicals must be stored in an inert atmosphere or neutralized in accordance best practices.
  • Pyrophoric chemicals in glove boxes must be sealed in airtight containers when the chemicals are not in use.

For more information on developing specific SOPs for pyrophoric use see:

  1. University of California Irvine Procedures for Safe Use of Pyrophoric Reagents
  2. University of California Procedures for Safe Use of Pyrophoric Solids
  3. University of California Riverside Procedures for Safe Use of Pyrophoric Organolithium Reagents
  4. Sigma Aldrich Technical Bulletin Handing Air-Sensitive Reagents
  5. Cornell University, EHS Safe Handling of Pyrophoric Chemicals
  6. University of Pennsylvania, EHRS SOP: Pyrophoric Chemicals
  7. National Academies of Sciences Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: Handling and Management of Chemical Hazards

Additional Information