Safety with Sodium Hypochlorite

The Chlorine Institute Inc. (CI) has published an updated version of its online Sodium Hypochlorite Incompatibility Chart, which provides guidance to avoid accidental mixing of sodium hypochlorite (commonly known as bleach) that could lead to dangerous conditions.

"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, CI 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 include:

  • Acids and acidic compounds;
  • Chemicals and cleaning compounds containing ammonia;
  • Organic chemicals and chemical compounds;
  • Metals;
  • Hydrogen peroxide;
  • Reducing agents; and
  • Oxidizing agents.

In addition, 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 CI initiative to provide a vast majority of its informative technical resources free to help improve chlor-alkali safety and security.

The Sodium Hypochlorite Incompatibility Chart is free and can be downloaded as a PDF.

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