The Toxic Waste Bottle Hall of Shame

The worst of the worst! As a public service, the Toxic Waste Bottle Hall of Shame features waste bottles that not only are unlovely and toxic, but also dangerous to life or health. Unlabelled, or filled with incompatible wastes, these bottles are something you hope you only see on a website.

For more information about explosions involving toxic waste bottles, refer to the following sites – not all have pictures but all have explanations about the most common incidents that lead to explosions in waste bottles.


From UC Berkeley in a “Lessons Learned” page on their EH&S website comes this example of all the things not to do:


This bottle exploded when a researcher added 2-propanol to this waste bottle, which was labelled “2-propanol” but actually contained nitric acid waste containing copper ions. Perhaps the blue color of the bottle should have tipped the guy off but a correct waste label would have been nice!


From Georgia Tech’s EH&S site comes a reminder of why nitric acid should not be combined with organic solvents…


There was a waste label on this bottle, but it was blown off during the explosion that occurred because of the mixing of incompatible wastes in the capped bottle. And doesn’t it look like the bottle melted??!!