Characteristic Hazardous Waste


Chemicals also require management as hazardous waste if they exhibit one or more of the four EPA-defined characteristics of ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, or toxicity.


Ignitable Wastes

  1. Liquids having a flash point below 140F
    a.  alcohol solutions which contain more than 24% alcohol by volume
    b.  HPLC liquids (which often contain highly flammable solvents such as Acetonitrile)
    c.  glass-cleaning solvent rinses
  2. Spontaneously combustible solids
    a.  metal powders
    b.  activated charcoal
  3. Ignitable compressed gases
    a.  gas cylinders for lab burners (butane, propane, etc.)
  4.  Oxidizers
    a.  nitrate compounds
    b.  peroxide compounds
    c.  perchlorate compounds


Corrosive Wastes

  1. Any liquid having a pH less than 2 or higher than 12.5
    a. inorganic acids (hydrochloric, phosphoric, nitric, sulfuric, etc.)
    b. organic acids (formic, acetic, lactic, etc.)
    c. alkaline compounds (hydroxides, amines, etc.)


Reactive Wastes

  1. compounds which are normally unstable and readily undergo violent change without detonating
    a. diethyl zinc
    b. organometallic gases
  2. compounds which will violently react with water
    a. anhydrous metal salts
    b. alkali metals
    c. metal powders, shavings, or turnings
  3. compounds which form potentially explosive mixtures with water
    a. calcium carbide
    b. metal hydrides
    c. chlorosilanes
  4. compounds which are capable of detonation or explosive reaction
    a. dry picric acid
    b. Azo-, dinitro-, or trinitro compounds
  5. cyanide- and sulfide-bearing compounds


Toxic Wastes

EPA Toxicity Characteristic List

Heavy Metals Pesticides Common Organic Chemicals
Arsenic (5 ppm) Endrin (0.02 ppm) Benzene (0.5 ppm)
Barium (100 ppm) Lindane (0.4 ppm) Carbon Tetrachloride (0.5 ppm)
Cadmium (1 ppm) Methoxychlor (10 ppm) Chlorobenzene (100 ppm)
Chromium (5 ppm) Toxaphene (0.5 ppm) Chloroform (6 ppm)
Lead (5 ppm) 2,4-D (10 ppm) o-Cresol (200 ppm)
Mercury (0.2 ppm) 2,4,5-TP (Silvex) (1 ppm) m-Cresol (200 ppm)
Selenium (1 ppm) Chlordane (0.03 ppm) p-Cresol ( 200 ppm)
Silver (5 ppm) Heptachlor (0.008 ppm) Cresols (200 ppm)
  Pentachlorophenol (100 ppm) 1,4-Dichlorobenzene (7.5 ppm)
  Hexachlorobenzene (0.13 ppm) 1,2-Dichloroethane (0.5 ppm)
    1,1-Dichloroethylene (0.7 ppm)
    2,4-Dinitrotoluene (0.13 ppm)
    Hexachlorobutadiene (0.5 ppm)
    Hexachloroethane (3 ppm)
    Methyl Ethyl Ketone (200 ppm)
    Nitrobenzene (2 ppm)
    Pyridine (5 ppm)
    Tetrachloroethylene (0.7 ppm)
    Trichloroethylene (0.5 ppm)
    2,4,5-Trichlorophenol (400 ppm)
    2,4,6-Trichlorophenol (2 ppm)
    Vinyl chloride (0.2 ppm)