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Free Tool: Do You Need Sodium Azide Decontamination?

What do you know about sodium azide? Sodium azide is used in many hospitals and labs. When discharged improperly into metal piping, it can create metal azide salts that can cause an explosion. 

Do you know if your facility is in danger? To help, we’ve made a tool that will assess whether you need a decontamination. Just click on the answers to the questions that best represent your facility to receive personalized answers based on your reponse.

Do You Need a Sodium Azide Decontamination?

Still not sure if an azide decontamination makes sense for your institution or organization? Meet with your team and go over the following questions and answers:

What is sodium azide?

A poisonous crystalline salt (NaN3) used in many hospitals, labs and other healthcare facilities.

Why would I need a decontamination?

Metal azide presents a severe explosion risk when shocked or heated. When sodium azide is improperly discharged into metal piping (lead and copper) it can create metal azide salts that cause an explosion. 

When sodium azide containing equipment leaks or discharges and contacts metals, it can create metal azide salts that can cause an explosion. 

When is sodium azide used?

Sodium azide may be used as a chemical preservative of samples and reagents in hospitals and laboratories. It's also used in chemistry and hematology.

If no one knows if you’re using sodium azide the best thing to do is review your Safety Data Sheets for suspect materials and review constituents for sodium azide. 

How do I know if I'm discharging sodium azide?

When we say discharging, we mean getting rid of the sodium azide by pouring, pumping, or draining into wastewater piping. If you’re containerizing instead of discharging; make sure you’re taking the appropriate precautions. Not sure what those are? Ask an expert. 

What plumbing should I be discharging in to?

Plumbing made of non-metal material that won't react with lab chemicals. Plumbing that is designed to safely manage laboratory wastewater containing chemicals. If you’re not sure, have someone come in to inspect it for you. 

If I have metallic plumbing, what do I do?

Understand and follow the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) guidance and regulations. 

Follow best management practices, such as disposing of azide only into designated sinks and flushing azide with copious amounts of water right after discharge for at least 15 minutes. For safety reasons if you’re not sure if you have been following procedure, assume you haven’t. 

Ask those responsible for sodium azide discharge if they’re aware of the proper procedures and if they have been following them without fail. If you are discharging or have equipment which uses sodium azide containing solutions, make certain you know how spent reagents are handled and are being careful of leaks. 

Proper sodium azide hazard labeling should be visible, clear and concise. Everything containing/using sodium azide should be labeled, and all should be made aware of the potential hazards.