Date: Mon, 5 Dec 2011 10:21:00 -0500
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From: "Secretary, ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety"

Subject: 4 RE: house hold refrigerators in labs with flamables
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From: "Muehlhausen, Al" 
Subject: RE: house hold refrigerators in labs with flamables


Best regards,

Al Muehlhausen, CIH
Senior Industrial Hygiene Specialist, Health Safety & Environmental and Business Continuity

==From: ILPI 
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] house hold refrigerators in labs with flamables

If you are talking about storing flammable materials inside them, no. You can make them explosion-resistant (rather than explosion-proof) if you have a technician who can remove the lights and door switches and relocate the temperature controls to the outside of the unit in a box that is physically sealed.  That's what I had in my lab for years. However, NEVER use a stock unmodified consumer fridge in a lab even if you don't store flammables in it because of the possibility that someone will do so months or years from now despite whatever warnings are on it.

If you're asking whether they pose an electrical spark source risk in the context of an overall laboratory environment, yes, they do.  But so does just about any other electrical product in the laboratory - heating/stirring plates, temperature controllers, cold baths, vacuum pumps, ovens, furnaces, radios, etc.  Then again, a fridge is located on the floor, a region where spills are likely to occur.  Obviously, it's wise to locate flammable solvent cabinets as far from such spark sources as possible.

Rob Toreki
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==Date: Mon, 05 Dec 2011 09:59:59 -0500
From: Barbara Foster 
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] house hold refrigerators in labs with flamables
Guidance on this subject can be found in the 2011 edition of Prudent Practices, pp. 153-154.

Barbara L. Foster, NRCC-CHOCertified Chemical Hygiene OfficerDirector of Laboratory Safety
C. Eugene Bennett Department of Chemistry West Virginia UniversityPhone (304) 293-2729

From: Michael Ng 
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] house hold refrigerators in labs with flamables

The threshold amount is 0mL. You can find this standard from NFPA 45 Section A.

Two problems will occur if flammables are stored in household refrigerators:
1. The temperature provided by a regular household refrigerator is higher than flash points of most flammable solvents.
2. Household refrigerators contain ignition sources such as the light bulb, light bulb switch, compressor, thermostat, etc.

If enough flammable vapors accumulate in the household refrigerator, the refrigerator may explode or catch on fire when the door is opened (the light bulb lights up) and if the temperature exceeds the flash point (0 Celsius exceeds many flammables flash points).

This standard was adopted by NYC Fire Department's Bureau of Fire Prevention, thus making it law in all laboratories in NYC.

Michael Ng
Environmental Health and Safety Manager
Long Island University Brooklyn Campus
Buildings and Grounds
1 University Plaza M101
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Tel: (718)-488-1608
Fax: (718)-488-3337**At_Symbol_Here**

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