Why Are Chemicals in The Laboratory Stored in Plastic Containers?

Most science laboratories use chemicals. If they focus on synthesis research, compound production, basic acid digestions, etc. Therefore, there are various types of chemicals used. Unfortunately, reports of incidents error from the storage of chemicals are far too frequent. Individuals handling chemicals must remain diligent in properly handling. Moreover, keep these hazardous materials in proper containers. So, here we gather some general information for storing chemicals in the laboratory.

It is crucial to take regulation in accordance with federal, state, and local regulations that may include specific requirements for storing chemicals.  They will also have regulations that banned toxic chemicals to be used. These requirements can range from simple locked storage and specific waste containers. That is way, If your labs are using potentially hazardous substances, determine which regulations apply. State building and how to dispose of chemicals are among the most common regulations.

Another issue equally important is the fact that labs evolve and change over time. We need to raise awareness on lab facilities. In addition, make a regular review to ensure overall safety stays up to date.

Chemicals stored in plastic containers

Before we start assorting plastic containers of chemicals and reorganizing our labs, it important to have the proper PPE. Any labs should have the right equipment, such as chemical-resistant gloves and eye protection, closed-toe shoes, and lab coats.

Chemical substances stored in containers made of different materials, such as plastics, metals, and glass depending on the substance. Plastic materials with slippery materials such as Teflon mean that PTFE (Teflon) will not absorb the chemicals that come in contact with, and the carbon-fluorine bonds make it non-reactive.

Therefore, plastic containers is great to contains some unique chemicals. Some of these plastic containers used in labs, includes:

  • Polypropylene and Hi-Density Polyethylene Containers that blocks some strong aromatic and halogenated
  • Squeeze plastic bottles have varying resistances to different chemicals. They are mostly made from plastics, such as high-density polyethylene, low-density polyethylene and polypropylene). Moreover, they may deteriorate over time if exposed to direct sunlight or UV sources.
  • Plastic containers caps and lids prevent evaporation of contents. The material ensure it is closed tightly. Therefore,  it avoid any leakage and durable when it falls.  Plastic containers from Teflon or PVC may provide a better seal.

Type of plastics containers

Storing chemicals in the right containers ensure the safety when handling them. There is a variety of material for plastic containers. Each of the can accommodate different properties of every chemical. Here are some type of plastic containers.

1. Polyethylene (PE)

Why are chemicals in the laboratory stored in plastic containers? The most common base for plastic containers. It chemically suitable for most substances especially with strong oxidizers. It means it block any strong smells chemicals.  That is way, you shouldn’t put chemicals containers in to your nose   it can create health issues.

Therefore, you find this substance in grocery bags, dust bags, even for the bulletproof vest. However, for chemical usage, it can stand various temperature, in cool mode and reheat it will not change the chemicals form. Therefore, makes perfect plastic containers that don’t break easily and prevent any spills. 

2. Polymethylpentene (PMP)

This transparent with high chemicals resistance makes excellent labs containers. The clear container yet strong makes it easy to see inside but to be safe enough for chemical storage.  In addition, it is also can be shatterproof and make it very durable if it falls. A very important feature for containers to avoid any leakages.

3. Teflon

It has a hydrophobic property that makes chemicals unable to stick to its surface. The most common reaction is the use of household appliance Teflon pan, that food finds hard to stick. This type of plastic containers resists to corrosion which is great when storing any acid-base chemicals. The slippery surface will not absorb any chemicals that come in contact that ensure safe storage for labs.

Other variations of plastic container base develop from these plastic includes :

  • LDPE – low-density polyethylene
  • HDPE – high-density polyethylene
  • PET, PETG, and PETE – polyethylene terephthalate
  •  PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene)
  • FEP (fluorinated ethylene propylene)
  • TFE (tetrafluoroethylene)
  • PFA (polyfluoroalkoxy)
  • Tetrafluoroethyleneethylene-chlorotrifluoroethylene copolymer
  • ETFE (ethylene-tetrafluoroethylene)
  • FLPE – fluorinated polyethylene
  • Polycarbonate
  • PVC – polyvinyl chloride

These plastic base containers serves as a great storage for some chemicals.  There are no good and bad containers. You just need to find the suitable match.  Some strong aromas and odor chemicals great with plastic containers. Other chemicals may suits brown bottles better.  You just need to make the right chemicals storage. Here are more about Why Should Chemicals Never Be Placed Directly on A Balance?

Chemicals storage

Safely storing chemicals in a laboratory requires careful consideration. Correct use of containers and lab equipment is critical. To store chemicals safely, DO the following;

  • Provide a specific storage space for each chemical, and check up after each use. Some chemicals need to be store in chemical refrigerator,  Chemicals should be put away from food,  it can be very dangerous.
  • Store volatile toxic chemicals in ventilated cabinets. Always use your environmental health and safety personnel for specific guidance.
  • Store flammable liquids in approved storage cabinets.
  • Separate all chemicals, especially liquids, to compatible groups. Follow all precautions regarding storage materials.
  • Use appropriate resistant containers for corrosive materials. This protects the cabinets come in handy due to breakage.

These careful chemical storage regulations help to keep things in order. All labs has their own considerations when it comes to handling chemicals.

Storage regulation safety lies on putting the right chemicals into the right containers. Moreover,  the proper awareness on how to keep,  organize and clean chemical containers are also crucial. Here are more about Why Should An Individual Working with Chemicals Understand The Hazard

Chemicals compatible with plastic containers

The chemical substances are stored in containers made of plastic materials also have different features. Some locks strong odors,  other have slippery surface that suits certain chemicals,  and some is very easy to transport chemicals.

No matter what you use it for,  you need to know the right compatibility from each chemicals to its storage. Here are some of the chemicals that compatible with plastics containers, include :

  • Isopropanol (Teflon or PP)
  • Acetone (PP and Teflon)
  • Methanol (PP and Teflon)
  • Hydrofluoric acid (all type of plastic containers)

Following these simple guidelines will have an efficient, organized, and safely operating the laboratory. Ignore them and you may be picking through ashes or rubble that you will regret one day. Laboratories check up on a regular basis, can avoid any major incidents with chemical storage. As always put safety first.

Right from production to consumption, each labs process has to be carefully taken in order that the chemical is effectively put to use. Therefore,  you need to be careful on to select the right container for various chemicals. Indeed, that’s the explanation about why are chemicals in the laboratory stored in plastic containers.