5.4.2 Spill Absorbent Materials
Note: The following materials are EHS approved/recommended spill absorbent materials, however, they are not appropriate for every possible chemical spill – when in doubt, contact EHS at askEHS@cornell.edu or 607-255-8200 for advice.
For acid spills (except Hydrofluoric acid):
- Sodium carbonate
- Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)
- Calcium carbonate
- Calcium bicarbonate
- Do not use absorbent clay for acid spills
For Hydrofluoric acid (HF) spills:
- Use Calcium carbonate or Calcium bicarbonate to tightly bind the fluoride ion.
For liquid base spills:
- Use Sodium bicarbonate to lower the pH sufficiently for drain disposal.
For oil spills:
- Use ground corn cobs (SlikQwik), vermiculite, or absorbent clay (kitty litter).
For most acqueous solutions:
- Use ground corn cobs (SlikQwik)
For most organic liquid spills:
- Use ground corn cobs (SlikQwik). If the liquid is flammable, be sure to use an excess of SlikQwik.
For oxidizing liquids:
- Use absorbent clay, vermiculite, or some other nonreactive absorbent material. Do not use SlikQwik or paper towels. Note: Most nitrate solutions are not sufficiently oxidizing for this requirement.
For mercury spills:
- Do not dispose of mercury or mercury contaminated spill debris in the regular trash or down the drain.
- There is no absorbent material available. Physical removal processes are best for removing and collecting mercury.
- If you need help collecting Mercury from a spill, contact EHS spill responders by calling (607) 255-1111 or 911. Note: While powdered sulfur will help reduce mercury vapors, the sulfur greatly complicates the spill cleanup.