may also cause explosions of this substance. Violent reactions may occur on exposure of diazomethane to alkali metals.

Reactivity and Incompatibility

Explosions may occur on exposure of diazomethane to alkali metals and calcium sulfate (Drierite).

Storage and Handling

Because of its high toxicity and explosibility, diazomethane should be handled using the "basic prudent practices" of Chapter 5.C, supplemented by the additional precautions for work with compounds of high chronic toxicity (Chapter 5.D) and for work with reactive and explosive substances (Chapter 5.G). In particular, diazomethane should preferably be handled in solution using glassware specially designated for diazomethane (e.g., with Clear-Seal joints) and should be used as soon as possible after preparation. Storage of diazomethane solutions (even at low temperature) is not advisable. All work with diazomethane should be conducted in a fume hood behind a safety shield, and appropriate impermeable gloves, protective clothing, and safety goggles should be worn at all times.


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 this compound is inhaled, move the person to fresh air and seek medical attention at once.

In the event of a spill, remove all ignition sources and close off the hood. Diazomethane solutions can be soaked up with a spill pillow or an absorbent material such as clay or vermiculite, placed in an appropriate container, and disposed of properly. Respiratory protection may be necessary in the event of a large spill or release in a confined area.


Small amounts of excess diazomethane can be destroyed by carefully adding acetic acid dropwise to a dilute solution of the diazomethane in an inert solvent such as ether at 0ºC. Excess diazomethane solutions 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. For more information on disposal procedures, see Chapter 7 of this volume.

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