Oxidizing Agent

Last updated: September 29, 2018

What Does Oxidizing Agent Mean?

An oxidizing agent is a liquid or solid chemical that acts as a catalyst, or reactive source, in forming oxygen when exposed to combustible and/or flammable materials, products, and substances creating a volatile state. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) subdivides oxidizing agents into four classes based on variables that include combustibility rate, spontaneous ignition, and proximity to foreign oxidizers deemed chemically unstable. While natural air increases the risk potential for oxidizing agents to ignite fires and/or cause explosions, they can still release synthetic oxygen to adjacent combustible and/or flammable chemical containers.


WorkplaceTesting Explains Oxidizing Agent

The highly volatile nature associated with oxidizing agents requires proper designation, handling, disposal, and storage procedures by authorized and trained personnel. Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) placards furnish instructions covering details of responsible and safe use of oxidizing agents in preventing injury(s) and/or death.

Oxidizing agents are incompatible with a number of chemical solutions and/or organic materials such as bromine, grease, metal, oil, paper, and wood. Health and safety measures to control or limit oxidizing agent exposure involves available protective eyewear, hand/eyewash stations, isolated storage compartments, and fume hood installations.

Individuals who ingest, inhale, or touch an oxidizing agent can experience a broad range of symptoms affecting different parts of the body. These can include headache episodes, impaired eyesight, localized skin irritation/rash, moderate to severe burns, nausea/vomiting spells, respiratory infections, and in some cases, death.


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