with flammable (Chapter 5.F) and reactive (Chapter 5.G) substances. In particular, LAH should be handled in areas free of ignition sources under an inert atmosphere. Safety glasses, impermeable gloves, and a fire-retardant laboratory coat are required. A dry powder fire extinguisher or pail of sand (and shovel) must be available in areas where LAH is to be handled or stored. Work with large quantities of powdered LAH should be conducted in a fume hood under an inert gas such as nitrogen or argon. Lithium aluminum hydride should be stored in tightly sealed containers in a cool, dry area separate from combustible materials. Dry LAH powder should never be exposed to water or moist air. Lithium aluminum hydride can be a finely powdered reagent that produces a reactive dust on handling. The older practice of grinding lithium aluminum hydride prior to use can cause explosions and should not be employed.


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 lithium aluminum hydride is ingested, obtain medical attention immediately. If large amounts of LAH dust are inhaled, move the person to fresh air and seek medical attention at once.

In the event of a spill, instruct others to maintain a safe distance; while wearing a face shield and goggles, laboratory coat, and butyl rubber gloves, cover the spilled material with sand. Scoop the resulting mixture into a container suitable for treatment or disposal as discussed below.


Small amounts of excess LAH can be destroyed by forming a suspension or solution in an inert solvent such as diethyl ether or hexane, cooling in an ice bath, and slowly and carefully adding ethyl acetate dropwise with stirring. This is followed by the addition of a saturated aqueous solution of ammonium chloride.

Excess lithium aluminum hydride and the products of the treatment described above 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.

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