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Limit Amounts of Flammable Liquids

There seems to be a special law of nature that leads to the accumulation of chemicals in laboratories.

by James A. Kaufman
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There seems to be a special law of nature that leads to the accumulation of chemicals in laboratories. When these chemicals are flammable, the safety of the lab's residents can be seriously compromised. Maintaining only those minimum amounts needed for the day's work is the best way to address this common problem.

The National Fire Protection Association (Batterymarch Park, Quincy, MA 02169) has developed guidelines for the amounts of flammable liquids that should be kept in laboratories. These guidelines are contained in their valuable publication #45, "Fire Protection for Laboratories Using Chemicals." Besides establishing limits for the total volume of flammables per 100 square feet of lab space, code 45 recommends maximum container sizes and material of construction (glass, metal, etc.) for various classes of flammable liquids. Less is better.

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