Chart Helps Avoid Accidental Mixing of Sodium Hypochlorite

The Chlorine Institute, Inc. has published online an updated version of its free “Sodium Hypochlorite Incompatibility Chart,” which provides guidance to avoid accidental mixing of sodium hypochlorite that could lead to dangerous conditions.

The chart may be downloaded in PDF format. Click on the “About Chemical Stewardship” button on the left side of the home page, and from the drop-down menu, click on “Sodium Hypochlorite Stewardship.”

“Sodium hypochlorite – or bleach as it is often called – should not be mixed with any other chemical unless adequate engineering controls are in place and personal protective equipment is used,” said Shane Fast, Chlorine Institute vice president of customer stewardship and technical services. “Accidental mixing may cause dangerous conditions that could result in injury to people and damage to property or the environment.”

Incompatible materials addressed in the chart are:

  • acids and acidic compounds;
  • chemicals and cleaning compounds containing ammonia;
  • organic chemicals and chemical compounds;
  • metals;
  • hydrogen peroxide;
  • reducing agents, and
  • oxidizing agents.

Also, sodium hypochlorite should not be exposed directly to sunlight or ultraviolet light.

“Common locations where accidental mixing of incompatible chemicals can occur include containment systems, drains, sinks, unloading piping and warehouse storage areas,” Fast said. “The chart covers the more common industrial chemicals where incompatible mixing can occur and explains briefly the potential hazards that can result. It is intended primarily for industrial sodium hypochlorite users.”

Sodium hypochlorite is used for water and wastewater disinfection; a weak solution is used for household bleach. Notification about this updated chart is part of a new Chlorine Institute initiative to provide its technical resources free of charge to help improve chlor-alkali safety and security.

Twenty-six other publications may be downloaded without charge from the online “Bookstore,” including 19 of potential interest to water operations.