The word “pesticide” is a general term used to describe a substance (or mixture) that kills a pest, or it prevents or reduces the damage a pest may cause. Pests can be insects, mice or other animals, unwanted plants (weeds), fungi, bacteria or viruses.

Pesticides can also include any substance that is used to modify a plant’s growth (regulator), drop a plant’s leaves prematurely (defoliant), or act as a drying agent (desiccant). Pesticides are usually chemicals, but they can also be made from natural materials such as animals, plants, bacteria, etc.

NOTE: The term “pesticide” describes a very large and diverse group of chemicals or products. It is very important to always get specific information about the exact product you are using.

Examples of pesticides:

Pesticides include a wide range of products – many of which you may use every day. The table below lists some common categories, their purpose, and what products they are normally found in. There are many, many more types of pesticides than what is listed here.

Different forms of pesticides:

Pesticides are formulated (prepared) in liquid, solid and gaseous forms.

  • Liquid formulations include suspensions (flowables), solutions, emulsifiable concentrates, microencapsulated suspensions, and aerosols.
  • Solid formulations include dusts, particulates, granulars, pellets, soluble granules, soluble powders, baits, tablets, dry flowables and wettable powders.
  • Gaseous pesticides are typically fumigants (can be sold as liquids or gases).

Abbreviations are often used with the trade name on the pesticide label to indicate the type of formulation. Some examples of words and abbreviations used for pesticide label formulation statements are:

D – Dust or Powder
DF – Dry Flowable
E or E C – Emulsifiable Concentrate
F – Flowable
G – Granular
P – Pellet
S – Solution
SC – Sprayable Concentrate
SP – Soluble Powder
WDG – Water Dispersible Granules
WP – Wettable Powder
WS – Water Soluble Concentrate

Health effects are associated with pesticides:

Pesticides are designed to kill “pests”, but some pesticides can also cause health effects in people. The likelihood of developing health effects depends on the type of pesticide and other chemicals that are in the product you are using, as well as the amount you are exposed to and how long or often you are exposed.

Most often, pesticides affect the nervous system (system in your body that controls your nerves and muscles). General health effects from acute (short-term) exposures or poisonings are listed in the table below.

NOTE: The term “pesticide” describes a very large and diverse group of chemicals or products. It is very important to always get specific information about the exact product you are using.

Some health effects from pesticide exposure may occur right away, as you are being exposed. Some symptoms may occur several hours after exposure. Other effects may not be noticed for years, for example cancer.

Some symptoms of pesticide exposure will go away as soon as the exposure stops. Others may take some time to go away. For people exposed to pesticides on a regular basis, long-term health effects are a concern.

Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding should check with their doctors before working with pesticides as some pesticides may be harmful to the fetus (unborn baby) or to breast-fed infants.

Certified pesticide applicators or people who work with pesticides are encouraged to have regular medical check-ups. Tell your doctor which pesticides you are working with and/or exposed to.

Pesticides enter our bodies:

Pesticides can enter your body during mixing, applying, or clean-up operations. There are generally three ways a chemical or material can enter the body:

  • through the skin (dermal),
  • through the lungs (inhalation), or
  • by mouth (ingestion).

Dermal (absorption through skin)

In most work situations, absorption through the skin is the most common route of pesticide exposure. People can be exposed to a splash or mist when mixing, loading or applying the pesticide. Skin contact can also occur when you touch a piece of equipment, protective clothing, or surface that has pesticide residue on it.

Inhalation (through the lungs)

Inhalation may occur when working near powders, airborne droplets (mists) or vapours. The hazard from low-pressure applications is fairly low because most of the droplets are too large to remain in the air. Applying a pesticide with high pressure, ultra low volume, or fogging equipment can increase the hazard because the droplets are smaller and they can be carried in the air for considerable distances. Pesticides with a high inhalation hazard will be labelled with directions to use a respirator.

Ingestion (by mouth)

While ingestion (by mouth) is a less common way to be exposed, it can result in the most severe poisonings. There are numerous reports of people accidentally drinking a pesticide that has been put into an unlabelled bottle or beverage cup/container (including soft drink cans or bottles). Workers who handle pesticides may also unintentionally ingest the substance when eating or smoking if they have not washed their hands first.

Can people become allergic to pesticides?

Fortunately, few of the thousands of pesticides used today cause true allergies. This is because pesticides are tested for their potential to cause allergies prior to being put on the market. However, over time, an allergic reaction to some pesticides or chemicals used in the formulation of some pesticides can develop in some people.

There are two types of allergic sensitization: skin and respiratory. Symptoms of skin sensitization may include swelling, redness, itching, pain, and blistering. Respiratory sensitization symptoms may include wheezing, difficulty in breathing, chest tightness, coughing and shortness of breath. In some cases, respiratory sensitization can produce a severe asthma attack.

As the allergy develops, the reaction can become worse with each exposure. Eventually, even a short exposure to a low concentration of the pesticide can cause a very severe reaction. Although it is rare, it is important to be aware that pesticides may have the ability to cause life threatening allergic reactions in some people.

Information is found on a pesticide label:

Important information is found on the labels of pest control products, and includes:

Symbols and signal words mean:

The symbols and signal words on the pesticide label give you some quick information about the acute toxicity of the product. See Table 2 for the different types of hazard symbols

Work safely with pesticides:

The importance of working safely with or near pesticides cannot be over emphasized. Always read the label and follow the directions. Always follow all of the safety instructions. Many incidents occur when pesticides are being mixed or prepared for use.


  • Use the right pesticide for the job. Make sure the label lists the pest you wish to control.
  • Select the least hazardous pesticide that will still be effective.
  • Always wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) as recommended on the label, Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) or product fact sheet. PPE may include coveralls, long pants, long sleeved shirts, gloves, boots, goggles, face shield, hat, and/or a respirator.
  • Always read the label. Keep the label “intact” and make sure it is readable.
  • Keep the pesticide in its original container. If you must pour the pesticide in a new container, clearly label any new container holding the pesticide. Do not transfer pesticides to cups, bowls or any other container that may be confused with containers for drinking or eating.
  • Clean up spills immediately and dispose of the waste according to directions on the label.
  • Dispose of empty containers according to directions on the label.


  • Do not use products for uses other than what they are intended for.
  • Do not use more pesticide than is recommended (twice the product will not have more effect).
  • Never burn pesticides or pour them down a drain.

When mixing pesticides?


  • Be sure there is good ventilation and lighting in the area where you are mixing the pesticide.
  • Always mix the pesticide at the recommended rate and amounts. Do not “guess” with the measurements.
  • Calculate how much product you will need ahead of time so you don’t make too much. Apply the minimum amount of pesticide that is effective.
  • Keep the container below your eye level to help avoid splashing or spilling the pesticide into your eyes and face.
  • Many spray pesticides are flammable. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully.
  • Have a knife or scissors that are used ONLY for opening pesticide bags.


  • Do not create dusts or splashes when opening a container or pouring liquids. Do not tear bags open.
  • Do not use the same knife or scissors to open the bags that you use with food.

When applying pesticides:


  • Keep equipment in good working order. For example: do not use sprayers with leaking hoses or loose connections.
  • Post signs in areas where pesticides are going to be applied, and when re-entry is recommended.
  • Schedule applications when other workers are least likely to be exposed – after hours or when people are not present – at the end of the day, or weekends.
  • Always apply the pesticide at the recommended time and under favourable weather conditions. Never spray on a very windy day, and make sure the spray blows away from you or anyone else.
  • Minimize drift by reducing the distance between the nozzle and the target area. Use the type of nozzle that gives the largest but still effective droplet size.
  • Provide temporary extra ventilation, where necessary, to remove pesticide vapour or aerosol when spraying indoors.
  • After applying, keep away until the pesticide has dried or until the “re-entry” time indicated on the label as passed.
  • Always follow the recommended waiting time between pesticide application and the harvest (picking or eating) of fruits or vegetables.
  • Clearly label treated surfaces where pesticide residues may remain.
  • After spraying, all surfaces that may contact food must be washed and rinsed with water before re-use.


  • Do not use your mouth to siphon liquids from containers or to blow out clogged lines, nozzles, etc.
  • Do not mix, spray, or dust “into” the wind.
  • Be careful when working or spraying near other people, livestock, other crops or when near streams, ponds, lakes and other bodies of water. Pesticides can easily run off or drift into other areas.
  • Do not spray near other people, pets/animals, children’s toys, food, dining dishes, etc.
  • Never place rodent or insect baits and traps where children or pets can reach them.

Pesticide spills:

  • Isolate the spill area and ventilate if indoors.
  • Wear the correct personal protective equipment – unauthorized people and those without protection should be kept out of the spill area.
  • Use an absorptive material for liquid spills such as activated charcoal, or vermiculite.
  • After a spill has been absorbed, the contaminated area should be scrubbed with a bleach/ detergent mixture at least two times.
  • For specific clean up and disposal information, read the MSDS. Contact the pesticide manufacturer if you need more information.

Organic Peroxide


An organic peroxide is any organic (carbon-containing) compound having two oxygen atoms joined together (-O-O-). This chemical group is called a “peroxy” group. Organic peroxides can be severe fire and explosion hazards. This question-and-answer document summarizes these and other hazards; another document provides information on how to work safely with organic peroxides.

The plastics and rubber industries are the heaviest users of organic peroxides. Organic peroxides and mixtures containing an organic peroxide are used as accelerators, activators, catalysts, cross-linking agents, curing agents, hardeners, initiators and promoters. Organic peroxides and mixtures containing an organic peroxide are often referred to by these terms. However, using terms like accelerator, activator, etc. to mean “organic peroxide” can be misleading since they can also refer to materials that do not contain organic peroxides. This can cause confusion and a serious accident could result if these substances were mixed with organic peroxides.

Organic peroxides are available as solids (usually fine powders), liquids or pastes. Some materials, such as water, odourless mineral spirits, and some phthalate esters do not react with organic peroxides and are often used to dilute them. The diluted mixtures or formulations are less likely to explode when exposed to heat or physical shock than the undiluted organic peroxide. Dilution makes the unstable peroxides safer to produce, handle, and use. We use the term “organic peroxide” to refer to both undiluted and diluted organic peroxides, unless otherwise specified. Check the supplier labels on chemical product containers.

The Canadian WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System) 1988 classifies organic peroxides as oxidizing materials. WHMIS 1988 also classifies many other materials that are not organic peroxides as oxidizing materials. Other hazard symbols may also be present, depending on the particular material.

It is wise to treat any unknown material as very hazardous until it is positively identified.

How are organic peroxides hazardous:

The main hazard related to organic peroxides are their fire and explosion hazards. Organic peroxides may also be toxic or corrosive. Depending on the material, route of exposure (inhalation, eye or skin contact, or swallowing) and dose or amount of exposure, they could harm the body. Corrosive organic peroxides can also attack and destroy metals.

It is the double oxygen of the “peroxy” group that makes organic peroxides both useful and hazardous. The peroxy group is chemically unstable. It can easily decompose, giving off heat at a rate that increases as the temperature rises. Many organic peroxides give off flammable vapours when they decompose. These vapours can easily catch fire.

Most undiluted organic peroxides can catch fire easily and burn very rapidly and intensely. This is because they combine both fuel (carbon) and oxygen in the same compound. Some organic peroxides are dangerously reactive. They can decompose very rapidly or explosively if they are exposed to only slight heat, friction, mechanical shock or contamination with incompatible materials.

Organic peroxides can also be strong oxidizing agents. Combustible materials contaminated with most organic peroxides can catch fire very easily and burn very intensely (i.e., deflagrate). This means that the burn rate is very fast: it can vary from 1 m/sec to hundreds of metres per second. Also the combustion rate increases as the pressure increases and the combustion (or reaction) zone can travel through air or a gaseous medium faster than the speed of sound. However, the speed of combustion in a solid medium does not exceed the speed of sound.

This is one characteristic that distinguishes deflagration from detonation. We mention these two terms because they are used in classifying organic peroxide formulations (see next question). Deflagrations and detonations are similar chemical reactions except that in detonations the burn rate in a solid medium is faster than the speed of sound. This supersonic speed results in a shock wave being produced. They can transmit the shock wave at speeds of about 2,000 to 9,000 m/sec and is not dependent on the surrounding pressure. This is another difference between detonation and deflagration: deflagration rates increase as the pressure becomes greater.

Explosive decomposition is a rapid chemical reaction resulting in almost instantaneous release of energy. This term includes both deflagration and detonation.

Organic peroxides may also have a self accelerating decomposition temperature (SADT). SADT represents the lowest temperature in which that particular organic peroxide formulation in its commercial packaging will undergo self-accelerating decomposition (begin the chemical process that leads to explosion). The SADT value will vary with each organic peroxide formulation and the size and shape of its packaging. Storage requirements will generally be 10 to 20 degrees below the SADT.

Is it important to have an MSDS for organic peroxides:

The MSDSs and the container labels should explain all of the hazards of the organic peroxides with which you work. For example, the MSDS should describe the conditions that cause an organic peroxide formulation to undergo dangerous chemical reactions and cause explosions. They also should state if there are any special storage requirements. Some should be stored in a refrigerator to reduce the possibility of fire and the refrigerator should meet the electrical code requirements for the products being stored (e.g., should be “explosion-proof”). The MSDS should say if there is a minimum temperature under which the product should not be stored. If the temperature is too low, crystals of the peroxide may form. These crystals could be an explosion hazard since they can be very sensitive to shock.

Example of an organic peroxide:

An example of an organic peroxide is methyl ethyl ketone peroxide (also known as 2-butanone peroxide, ethyl methyl ketone peroxide, or MEKP). It is used as a polymerization catalyst in the manufacture of polyester and acrylic resins and as a hardening agent for fiberglass reinforced plastics. It is a colorless liquid with a characteristic odour. It is considered a combustible liquid and vapour. There is an extreme risk of an explosion from exposure to shock, friction, flame, or other sources of ignition. It is dangerously reactive and may decompose violently. Contact with water or moist air liberates irritating gases. Contents may develop pressure if exposed to water. It is also very toxic. It may be fatal if inhaled, absorbed through the skin or swallowed and it is corrosive to the eyes, skin and respiratory tract. It may cause lung injury although the effects may be delayed.

Organic peroxides form spontaneously:

  • Yes, some chemicals can form explosive peroxides when they are stored (e.g., isopropyl ether, vinylidene chloride). Exposure to light and heat can increase the rate of peroxide formation. Others form peroxides that become hazardous when concentrated (e.g., by distillation). Some examples include ethyl ether, tetrahydrofuran (THF), p-dioxane, some secondary alcohols like 2-propanol and 2-butanol, and some unsaturated hydrocarbons like propyne (an acetylene compound), cyclohexene, and tetra-and deca-hydronaphthalenes.
  • Another kind of peroxide-forming compound are unsaturated monomers that, in the presence of a peroxide, can polymerize exothermically (i.e., produces heat when it reacts). For example, uninhibited styrene can form a peroxide that can cause the styrene to polymerize. It can occur explosively under certain conditions. Other examples of some unsaturated monomeric compounds are acrylic acid, acrylonitrile, butadiene, methyl methacrylate, and vinyl chloride.
  • To generalize, the kinds of chemicals that can form peroxides include aldehydes, ethers, and numerous unsaturated hydrocarbon compounds (i.e. hydrocarbon compounds having double or triple bonds). Examples in this group include allyl compounds, haloalkenes, dienes, monomeric vinyl compounds, vinylacetylenes, unsaturated cyclic hydrocarbons like tetrahydronaphthalene or dicyclopentadiene.
  • This is not a comprehensive list. The intention of mentioning these examples is to point out the importance of learning about the hazards of the chemicals you handle by reading the MSDSs and any relevant safety bulletins that the chemical producers provide. They should recommend how frequently they should be tested for the presence of peroxides (e.g., once every 3 months for diisopropyl ether or vinylidene chloride; once every 12 months for ethyl ether). Follow their directions regarding the safe disposal or repurifications procedures (if recommended).
  • So if, for example, you see crystals inside a bottle of a “pure” ether, suspect the presence of an ether peroxide. Do not handle the container. Do call your emergency response group. They should contact the local bomb squad after assessing the situation. Ether peroxides, like other peroxides, are very sensitive to shock and could explode if handled improperly – just like a bomb.

Classification system used for organic peroxides by the US National Fire Protection Association:

The U.S. National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has developed a hazard classification system for typical organic peroxide formulations. The NFPA classification system describes the fire and explosion hazards of these formulations in their normal shipping and storage containers that have been approved by the Transport Canada or the U.S. Department of Transport (DOT).

If a formulation is transferred to a different container, the given hazard classification may no longer apply. See the NFPA 432 “Code for the Storage of Organic Peroxide Formulations” (2002) for details. In general:

  • Class I formulations are capable of deflagration but not detonation.
  • Class II formulations burn very rapidly and are a severe reactivity hazard.
  • Class III formulations burn rapidly and have a moderate reactivity hazard.
  • Class IV formulations burn in the same manner as ordinary combustibles and have a minimal reactivity hazard.
  • Class V formulations burn with less intensity than ordinary combustibles or they do not support combustion and present no reactivity hazard.

Storing organic peroxide:

  • Before storing, inspect all incoming containers to ensure that they are undamaged and properly labelled. Do not accept delivery of defective containers.
  • Store organic peroxides in the containers that the chemical supplier recommends. Normally, these are the same containers in which the material was shipped. Repackaging can be very dangerous, especially when using contaminated or incompatible containers.
  • Make sure containers are suitably labelled. For organic peroxides requiring temperature control, the recommended storage temperature range should be plainly marked on the container. It is also a good practice to mark the date that the container was received and the date it was first opened. Store according to self accelerating decomposition requirements (SADT) as well.
  • Protect containers against impact or other physical damage, when storing, transferring or using them. Do not use combustible pallets, such as wood, for storing organic peroxide containers.
  • Normally, keep containers tightly closed to avoid contamination in storage except when the supplier’s instructions state otherwise.
  • Storing open or partly open containers of peroxides diluted with solvents, including water, can lead to evaporation of the solvent. This can expose the more hazardous dry peroxide.
  • Some liquid organic peroxides, however, such as methyl ethyl ketone peroxide, gradually decompose giving off gas. These peroxides are shipped in containers with specially vented caps. Use no other type of cap for containers of these organic peroxides. The vent caps relieve the normal buildup of gas pressure that could shatter an unvented container. Check vent caps regularly to ensure that they are working properly. Keep vented containers in an upright position. NEVER stack vented containers on top of each other.

Aware of in the organic peroxide storage area:

Store organic peroxides separately, away from processing and handling areas. Keep them away from incompatible materials such as strong acids and bases, other oxidizing materials, flammable or combustible liquids and materials that can be oxidized (often called reducing materials or agents). Separate storage can reduce personal injury and damage caused in case of fires, spills or leaks.

Check the reactivity data and storage requirements sections of the MSDS for details about what materials are incompatible with a specific organic peroxide.

Construct walls, floors, shelving and fittings in storage areas from noncombustible materials that are compatible with the organic peroxides.

Ensure that floors are resistant to penetration by the organic peroxides in storage. Floors should have no cracks in which chemicals could lodge if spilled.

Since liquid organic peroxides flow easily, provide dikes around large liquid storage areas and sills or ramps at door openings. Store smaller amounts in trays made from compatible materials to contain spills or leaks.

Store containers at a convenient height for handling, below eye level if possible, to reduce the risk of dropping them. Avoid overcrowding in storage areas. Do not store containers in out-of-the-way locations where they could be forgotten.

Store containers away from doors. Although it is convenient to place frequently used materials next to the door, they could cut off the escape route if an emergency occurs.

Store organic peroxides in areas which are:

  • Well ventilated.
  • Out of direct sunlight and away from steam pipes, boilers or other heat sources.
  • At temperature as recommended by manufacturer/supplier. Always keep the storage area within the recommended temperature range.
  • Supplied with adequate firefighting equipment, including sprinklers.
  • Supplied with suitable spill clean-up equipment and materials.
  • Free of ignition sources such as open flames, hot surfaces, burning tobacco and spark-producing tools and devices.
  • Accessible at all times.
  • Labelled with suitable warning signs.

At all times:

  • Allow only trained, authorized people into storage areas.
  • Keep the amount of organic peroxides in storage as small as possible.
  • Inspect storage areas regularly for any deficiencies including damaged or leaking containers and poor housekeeping.
  • Correct all deficiencies as soon as possible.

Dispensing or transferring organic peroxides:

  • Open and dispense containers of organic peroxides in a special room or area outside the storage area. Do not allow any ignition sources in the vicinity. Take care that the organic peroxides do not contact combustible or other incompatible materials when they are dispensed.
  • Use containers and dispensing equipment such as drum pumps, scoops or spatulas that the chemical supplier recommends. These items must be made from non-sparking materials compatible with the peroxides used. Keep them very clean to avoid contamination.
  • When transferring organic peroxides from one container to another, avoid spilling or contaminating your skin or clothing. Spills from open, unstable or breakable containers during material transfer have caused serious accidents.
  • Never transfer liquids by pressurizing their usual shipping containers with air or inert gas. The pressure may damage ordinary drums and barrels. Moreover, if air is used, it may create a flammable atmosphere inside the container.
  • Glass containers with screw-cap lids or glass stoppers may not be acceptable for some organic peroxides, especially those sensitive to friction and grinding. Never transfer materials stored in a vented container into a tightly sealed, non-vented container. The buildup of gas pressure could rupture it. Dispense from only one container at a time. Finish all the dispensing of one material before starting to dispense another. Dispense the smallest amount possible, preferably only enough for immediate use. Keep containers closed after dispensing to reduce the risk of contaminating their contents.
  • Never return unused material, even if it does not seem to be contaminated, to the original container.
  • If a water-based formulation freezes, do not chip or grind it to break up lumps of material, or heat it to thaw it out. Follow the chemical supplier’s advice.
  • Avoid dropping, sliding or skidding heavy metal containers such as drums or barrels of friction- or shock-sensitive material.

Handling organic peroxides:

Make sure that all areas where organic peroxides are used are clean and free of combustible and other incompatible materials and any ignition sources. Temperatures in peroxide use areas should be controlled so as to not become high enough to cause rapid decomposition.

Processing Equipment:

Ensure that processing equipment is clean, properly designed and made from materials compatible with the organic peroxide being used. Find out from the chemical supplier what materials are suitable for the specific peroxide. Copper, brass or lead equipment is dangerous in contact with some organic peroxides at higher temperatures. Some steels and aluminum alloys, zinc and galvanized metal can also cause rapid decomposition of certain organic peroxides.

Diluting Organic Peroxides

Some jobs require diluting organic peroxides prior to use. Do this strictly according to the chemical supplier’s advice. Using the wrong solvent or a contaminated solvent could cause an explosion. For example, methyl ethyl ketone peroxide and cyclohexanone peroxide may explode if they are mixed with acetone, a common solvent. Using reclaimed solvents of uncertain composition can also be hazardous. They may contain dangerous concentrations of contaminants that are incompatible with the organic peroxide.

Hazardous Operations:

Some operations involving organic peroxides can be especially hazardous. Accidents have occurred during distillation, extraction or crystallization, because these processes concentrated the organic peroxides. Filtering friction- or shock-sensitive chemicals with materials and devices that produce heat, such as sintered glass filters, can be hazardous.

Before using a new material in an operation, find out as much as possible about the potential hazards of the particular peroxide and operation.

Using Organic Peroxides with Resins:

Organic peroxides are often used as catalysts to activate resins in plastics production. Never mix organic peroxides directly with any accelerators or promoters. A violent explosion may result. Thoroughly mix the accelerator or promoter in the resin mixture before adding the organic peroxide.

It is dangerous to dissolve peroxides in very small amounts of monomer (such as styrene) before adding them to the resin mixture. These “small quantity” mixtures can undergo rapid polymerization giving off a lot of heat. This may result in a fire.

Regular workplace inspections can help to spot situations in which organic peroxides are stored, handled or used in potentially hazardous ways.

Handle emergencies:

Act fast in emergencies like chemical fires, spills and leaks.

  • Evacuate the area at once if you are not trained to handle the problem or if it is clearly beyond your control.
  • Alert other people in the area to the emergency.
  • Call the fire department immediately.
  • Report the problem to the people responsible for handling emergencies where you work.
  • Obtain first aid if you have been exposed to harmful chemicals and remove all contaminated clothes.

Check that emergency eyewash stations and safety showers are available wherever accidental exposure to organic peroxides that can damage skin or eyes might occur.

Only specially trained and properly equipped people should handle emergencies. Nobody else should go near the area until it is declared safe.

Planning, training and practicing for emergencies help people to know what they must do. Prepare a written emergency plan. Update it whenever conditions in the workplace change.

The MSDSs for the materials used are a starting point for drawing up an emergency plan. MSDSs have specific sections on spill clean-up procedures, first aid instructions, and fire and explosion hazards including suitable fire extinguishing equipment and methods. If the directions in each MSDS section are unclear or seem incomplete, contact the material’s supplier for help.

It is very important to know the best ways to fight fires involving organic peroxides. The “built-in” supply of oxidizing gas in organic peroxides makes extinguishing methods based on smothering ineffective (for example, foam or carbon dioxide). Often, cooling with large amounts of water is the only suitable method.

Basic safe practices concerning organic peroxides:

Following these basic safe practices will help protect you from the hazards of organic peroxides:

  • Read the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) for all of the materials used in your work.
  • Know all of the hazards (fire/explosion, health, corrosive, chemical reactivity) of the materials used in your work.
  • Know which of the materials you work with are organic peroxides.
  • Always follow safe work practices for temperature, avoiding contamination, storage, and quantity (of use).
  • Store organic peroxides in suitable, labelled containers (usually their shipping containers).
  • Follow the chemical supplier’s advice about maximum and minimum storage and use temperatures.
  • Know the SADT “danger temperature” and what to do if the organic peroxide is reaching this temperature.
  • Inspect containers for damage or leaks before handling them.
  • Store, handle and use organic peroxides in well-ventilated areas and away from incompatible materials.
  • Eliminate ignition sources (sparks, smoking, flames, hot surfaces) when working with organic peroxides.
  • Handle containers safely to avoid damaging them.
  • Keep containers closed when not in use.
  • Keep only the smallest amounts possible (not more than one day’s supply) in the work area.
  • Dispense organic peroxides carefully, using compatible equipment, into acceptable containers.
  • Do not grind or subject organic peroxides to any type of friction or impact.
  • Be careful when performing operations such as distillations or separations that concentrate organic peroxides.
  • Never return unused or contaminated organic peroxides to their original containers.
  • Return unopened containers to the proper storage area and opened containers to a dispensing or premixing area at the end of the day.
  • Practice good housekeeping, personal cleanliness and equipment maintenance.
  • Handle and dispose of organic peroxide wastes safely.
  • Wear the proper personal protective equipment for each of the jobs you do.
  • Know how to handle emergencies (fires, spills, personal injury) involving the organic peroxides you work with. Have trained personnel and planned emergency procedures specific to organic peroxides.
  • Follow the health and safety rules that apply to your job.

Click the below link to download the Organic Peroxide guidelines