Reactivity and Incompatibility

Chromium trioxide and certain other chromium(VI) compounds are useful as strong oxidizing agents in the laboratory, but appropriate precautionary measures should be taken when conducting these reactions. Chromium trioxide has been reported to react violently with a variety of substances, including readily oxidized organic compounds such as acetone, acetaldehyde, methanol, ethanol, diethyl ether, ethyl acetate, acetic acid, and DMF, and violent reactions may also occur on reaction with alkali metals, gaseous ammonia, phosphorus, and selenium.

Storage and Handling

Because of their carcinogenicity, chromium(VI) compounds should be handled using the ''basic prudent practices" of Chapter 5.C, supplemented by the additional precautions for work with compounds of high toxicity (Chapter 5.D). In particular, chromium trioxide should be handled in a fume hood to avoid the inhalation of dust, and impermeable gloves should be worn at all times to prevent skin contact. The practice of using chromate solutions to clean glassware should be avoided. Chromium trioxide should be stored in areas separated from readily oxidized materials.


In the event of skin contact, immediately wash with soap and water and remove contaminated clothing. In case of eye contact, promptly wash with copious amounts of water for 15 min (lifting upper and lower lids occasionally) and obtain medical attention. If chromium trioxide or other chromium compounds are ingested, give the person large amounts of water or milk and obtain medical attention immediately. If dust or aerosols of these compounds are inhaled, move the person to fresh air and seek medical attention at once.

In the event of a spill, remove all combustibles from the area, sweep up the chromium compounds, place in an appropriate container, and dispose of properly. In the event solutions containing chromium compounds are spilled, neutralize (if possible) with aqueous base, soak up with a spill pillow or appropriate noncombustible absorbent material, place in an appropriate container, and dispose of properly. Respiratory protection may be necessary in the event of a large spill of powder, particularly in a confined area.


Excess chromium compounds and waste material containing these substances should be placed in an appropriate container, clearly labeled, and handled according to your institution's waste disposal guidelines. For more information on disposal procedures, see Chapter 7 of this volume.

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