Flammability and Explosibility

Bromine alone is a noncombustible substance (NFPA rating = 0).

Reactivity and Incompatibility

Bromine reacts violently with easily oxidized substances, including many organic compounds and a number of metals. Explosions have been reported to occur, for example, on addition of bromine to methanol, acetaldehyde, and DMF. Fires and/or explosions may result from the reactions of bromine with hydrogen, acetylene, ammonia, aluminum, mercury, sodium, potassium, and phosphorus.

Storage and Handling

Bromine should be handled in the laboratory using the "basic prudent practices" described in Chapter 5.C. In particular, work with bromine should be conducted in a fume hood to prevent exposure by inhalation, and splash goggles and rubber gloves should be worn at all times when handling this corrosive substance. Containers of bromine should be stored at room temperature in a secondary container separately from readily oxidizable substances.


In the event of skin contact, immediately wash with soap and water and remove contaminated clothing. If irritation or burns develop, seek medical attention. In case of eye contact, promptly wash with copious amounts of water and obtain medical attention. If bromine is ingested, give the person large amounts of milk or water to dilute the bromine (do not attempt to induce vomiting) and obtain medical attention immediately. If a significant amount of bromine is inhaled, move the person to fresh air and seek medical attention at once.

Treat small spills of bromine with sodium thiosulfate and an inert absorbent, place in an appropriate container, and dispose of properly. Large spills may require evacuation of the area and cleanup using full protective equipment.


Excess bromine and waste material containing this substance should be placed in an appropriate container, clearly labeled, and handled according to your institution's waste disposal guidelines. Special care should be taken not to mix bromine with incompatible waste materials. For more information on disposal procedures, see Chapter 7 of this volume.

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