including benzene. Nitric acid also reacts violently with a wide range of inorganic substances including many bases, reducing agents, alkali metals, copper, phosphorus, and ammonia. Nitric acid corrodes steel.

Storage and Handling

Nitric acid should be handled in the laboratory using the "basic prudent practices" described in Chapter 5.C. In particular, splash goggles and rubber gloves should be worn when handling this acid, and containers of nitric acid should be stored in a well ventilated location separated from organic substances and other combustible materials.


In the event of skin contact, immediately wash with 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 nitric acid is ingested, obtain medical attention immediately. If large amounts of this compound are inhaled, move the person to fresh air and seek medical attention at once.

In the event of a spill, soak up nitric acid with a spill pillow or absorbent material, place in an appropriate container, and dispose of properly. Respiratory protection may be necessary in the event of a large spill or release in a confined area.


Excess nitric acid 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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