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A Guide to Chemicals and Chemical Grades

Almost every laboratory uses chemicals in one form or another. Knowing where to buy them, what grade to purchase, and what labelling is required can be confusing. This guide will help you navigate some of those challenges:

Chemical Grades

Most laboratory chemicals are labelled with a grade which generally indicates the purity of the chemical. There are many different standards used in grading, however, the three you are most likely to encounter are: ACS, Reagent Grade and Laboratory Grade. Varying terminology is often used by different chemical manufacturers but as a general rule of thumb, ACS and Reagent Grades are usually the purest with Laboratory Grade being less pure. Since ACS Grade chemicals are supported by a batch specific Certificate of Analysis, these tend to be higher priced than the lower grades. Laboratory Grade chemicals are often used in less critical analyses and educational labs as a middle tier quality.

ACS Grade

• Alternate Names: American Chemical Society

• Purity Level: Very High purity, ACS means that it meets the standard set out by the American Chemical Society.

• Applications: Suitable for use in many laboratory and analytical applications

Reagent Grade (R/G)

• Alternate Names: Analytical Reagent (AR), Guaranteed Reagent (GR), UNIVAR, AnalaR, Premium Reagent (PR)

• Purity Level: Very high purity, meets or exceeds standards set by American Chemical Society (ACS). Batch specific Certificates of Analysis. Assay printed on label.

• Applications: Can be used in all scientific areas where quality is critical. Quantitative analysis in QA environments. Research laboratories. Producing primary standards (buffers, volumetric solutions)

Laboratory Grade (L/G)

• Alternate Names: Laboratory Reagent (LR), UNILAB, Chemically Pure (CP)

• Purity Level: Relatively high purity, exact levels of impurity unknown. Often meets BP, USP or FG standards – certification needs to be checked if suitable for use in these applications. Product specs generally available.

• Applications: Excellent for teaching and educational labs, not pure enough for food, drug or medicinal use. Often used for general lab work where an analytical reagent is not required.

Technical Grade

• Alternate Names: Tech Grade (TG), Commercial Grade

• Purity Level: Contains impurities. Basic product specs usually available. Sometimes complies with Food Grade certification.

• Applications: Used in low grade applications and/or qualitative testing. Often supplied in bulk for industrial or commercial applications.

Other Grades

These grades are application specific, extensive data is available from key manufacturers and distributors.

• HPLC grades – often available in varying degrees of purity
• Ultra Pure reagents
• AAS/ICP Standards
• Ultrapure reagents
• Molecular Biology grade
• Reference Standards for USP, EP and BP testing.
• Food Pharmaceutical grades (BP, EP, FG)

Labelling of Chemicals

All chemical labeling should be GHS compliant and contain all the information you need to know about what’s inside the container. This should include:

• Product Specifications or Assay
• Clear product name
• Hazard and Precautionary statements
• Pack size
• Chemical Formula and molecular weight
• UN number and shipping name
• Product code and barcode
• Batch number
• GHS pictograms

Most manufacturers will colour code their labels according to the grade for quick and easy identification.

Packaging of Chemicals

Packaging of chemicals is constantly evolving with the changing needs of laboratories. A few newer features that are available from reputable manufacturers include:

• Outer Cartons – easy to open and close.
• Environment – environmentally friendly packaging for 4×2.5L Glass Bottles
• Dry Reagent Bottles – Square, tamper-evident, plastic with wide neck access.
• Stronger Plastic Bottles – 2.5L Plastic Bottles with a more robust design.
• 500ml bottles to 20L drums (metal and plastic)
• 500G containers to 20Kg buckets

Purchasing of Laboratory Chemicals

There are a variety of chemical suppliers from General laboratory distributors to specialty manufacturers and bulk chemical producers. Many laboratories prefer to combine their chemical requirements with general purchases and often require very fast delivery and hassle-free sourcing to ensure continuity of supply. Most suppliers will charge a small Dangerous Goods (DG) delivery fee to cover the costs of compliance in transportation and documentation. Safety Data Sheets (SDS) should be available online for easy download and should be in a compliant format specific to the chemical manufacturer.

Aluminium Potassium Sulfate 12-Water, Aluminium (III) Chloride Hexahydrate, Ammonia Solution, Ammonium Chloride, Ammonium Peroxodisulfate, Antimony(III) Chloride, Barium Chloride Dihydrate, Cobalt(II) Chloride Hexahydrate, Copper(I) Chloride, Copper(II) Chloride Dihydrate, Hydrochloric Acid, Hydrogen Hexachloroplatinate(IV) Hexahydrate, Hydrogen Peroxide, Hydroxyl ammonium Chloride, Iron(II) Chloride Tetrahydrate, Iron(III) Chloride Hexahydrate, Lead(II) Oxide, Magnesium Chloride Hexahydrate, Magnesium Perchlorate, Manganese(II) Chloride Tetrahydrate, Nickel(II) Chloride Hexahydrate, Palladium(II) Chloride, Perchloric Acid, Potassium Chlorate, Potassium Chloroplatinate, Potassium Chromate, Potassium Dihydrogen phosphate, Potassium Periodate, Potassium Peroxodisulfate, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Hydrogen sulfite, Sodium Nitrite, Sodium Perchlorate Monohydrate, Sodium Periodate, Sodium Sulfite, Strontium Chloride Hexahydrate, Tin(II) Chloride Dihydrate, Titanium(III) Chloride Solution, Zinc Chloride, Sulfuric Acid, Fuming, Sulfuric Acid, Fuming, Ammonium Vanadate(V), Potassium Disulfate, Sodium Diphosphate Decahydrate, Potassium Hexacyanoferrate(III), Potassium Hexacyanoferrate(II) Trihydrate, Sodium Hydroxide for Nitrogen Compounds Analysis, Potassium Iodide for Oxidant Analysis, Disodium Hydrogen phosphate 12-Water for Oxidant Analysis, Boric Acid, Sodium Tetraborate Decahydrate, Sodium Tetraborate Decahydrate, Silicon Dioxide, Ammonium Molybdate Tetrahydrate, Ammonium Molybdate Tetrahydrate, Disodium Molybdate(VI) Dihydrate, Potassium Iodide, Hydriodic Acid, Iodine, Potassium Iodate, Sulfuric Acid, Sulfuric acid, Zinc Sulfate Heptahydrate, Ammonium Sulfate, Potassium Sulfate, Silver(Ⅰ) Sulfate, Potassium Hydrogen Sulfate, Tetra ammonium Cerium(IV) Sulfate Dihydrate, Iron(II) Sulfate Heptahydrate, Ammonium Iron(II) Sulfate Hexahydrate, Iron(III) Sulfate n-Hydrate, Ammonium Iron(III) Sulfate 12-Water, Copper(II) Sulfate Pentahydrate, Copper(II) Sulfate, Sodium Sulfate Decahydrate, Sodium Sulfate, Nickel(II) Sulfate Hexahydrate, Hydrazinium Sulfate, Lithium Sulfate Monohydrate, Magnesium Sulfate Heptahydrate, Manganese(II) Sulfate Pentahydrate, Ammonium Thiocyanate, Potassium Thiocyanate, Sodium Thiocyanate, Phosphoric Acid, Ammonium Dihydrogenphosphate, Potassium Dihydrogen Phosphate, Zinc Powder, Zinc, Zinc Oxide, Magnesium Oxide, Potassium Bromide, Hydrotropic Acid, Sodium Bromide, Potassium Dichromate, Nitric Acid (1.42), Nitric Acid (1.40), Nitric Acid (1.38), Aluminium Nitrate Nonahydrate, Ammonium Nitrate, Potassium Nitrate, Calcium Nitrate Tetrahydrate, Silver Nitrate, Cobalt(II) Nitrate Hexahydrate, Strontium Nitrate, Diammonium Cerium(IV) Nitrate, Iron(III) Nitrate Enneahydrate, Sodium Nitrate, Lead(II) Nitrate, Barium Nitrate, Bismuth Nitrate Pentahydrate, Magnesium Nitrate Hexahydrate, Manganese(II) Nitrate Hexahydrate, Potassium Hydroxide, Calcium Hydroxide, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Hydroxide, Barium Hydroxide Octahydrate, Tin, Amidosulfuric Acid, Ammonium Amidosulfate, Selenium, Soda Lime, Soda Lime, Sodium Tungstate(VI) Dihydrate, Ammonium Carbonate, Potassium Carbonate, Calcium Carbonate, Potassium Hydrogen Carbonate, Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate, Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate, Sodium Carbonate Decahydrate, Sodium Carbonate, Sodium Carbonate, Sodium Thiosulfate Pentahydrate, Sodium Thiosulfate, Devarda’s Alloy, Titanium (IV) Oxide, Sodium Pentacyanonitrosylferrate(III) Dihydrate, Sulfuric Acid, Fuming, Potassium Dihydrogen Phosphate, Sodium Dihydrogenphosphate Dihydrate, Potassium Dihydrogen Phosphate, Sodium Dihydrogenphosphate Dihydrate, Potassium Dihydrogen Phosphate, Sodium Dihydrogenphosphate Dihydrate, Diammonium Hydrogenphosphate, Dipotassium Hydrogenphosphate, Disodium Hydrogenphosphate 12-Water, Disodium Hydrogenphosphate 12-water, Disodium Hydrogenphosphate, Disodium Hydrogenphosphate, Sodium Azide, Barium Perchlorate, Aluminon, L-Asparagine Monohydrate, Acetylacetone, Acetonitrile, Acetone, Acetonitrile for Pesticide Residue And Polychlorinated Biphenyl Analysis, Acetone for Pesticide Residue And Polychlorinated Biphenyl Analysis, Acetone, Aniline, 4-Aminoantipyrine, 1-Amino-2-naphthol-4-sulfonic Acid, 3-Methyl-1-butanol, Alizarin Red S, Benzoic Acid, 2 3-Indolinedione, Indigo Carmine, Ethanol for Pesticide Residue And Polychlorinated Biphenyl Analysis, Ethanol, Ethylene Glycol, 2-Aminoethanol, Ethyl Acetate, Dichloromethane for Pesticide Residue And Polychlorinated Biphenyl Analysis, Dichloromethane, Dibutyl Disulfide for Analysis of Sulfur Content, Dichloromethane, N N-Dimethyl-p phenylenediammonium Dichloride, N-1-Naphthylethylenediamine Dihydrochloride, 1 10-Philanthropist Hydro chloride Monohydrate, Phenylhydrazine Hydrochloride, 1-Octanol, Agar, Formic Acid, Formic Acid (about 88.0%), Sodium Formate, Citric Acid Monohydrate, Diammonium Hydrogen Citrate, Diammonium Hydrogen Citrate,Trisodium Citrate Dihydrate, Cupferron, Glycine, Crystal Violet,Glycerol,o-Cresol,p-Cresol,Cresol Red, Sodium p-Toluenesulfonchloramide Trihydrate,Chloroform,Acetic Acid, Zinc Acetate Dihydrate, Diethyl Ether for Pesticide Residue And Polychlorinated Biphenyl Analysis, Ammonium Acetate, Ethyl Acetate, Potassium Acetate, Calcium Acetate Monohydrate, Sodium Acetate Trihydrate, Sodium Acetate, Barium Acetate, Butyl Acetate,Sucrose,Salicylaldehyde,Sodium Salicylate,2 2′-Iminodiethanol, Sodium N,N-Diethyldithiocarbamate Trihydrate,1 4 Dioxane,Cyclohexanol,Cyclohexanone,L-Cysteine Hydrochloride Monohydrate, Potassium Trihydrogen Dioxalate Dihydrate,2 2′-Bipyridyl,1,5 Diphenylcarbonohydrazide, Dithizone, 2 6-Dibromo-N-chloro-p-benzoquinone Monoimine, Methyl Yellow,5-(4-Dimethylaminobenzylidene)rhodanine,p-Dimethylaminobenzaldehyde,Dimethylglyoxime,N,N-Dimethylformamide,N,N-Dimethylformamide,Oxalic Acid Dihydrate, Ammonium Oxalate Monohydrate, Potassium Oxalate Monohydrate, Sodium Oxalate, L(+)-Tartaric Acid, Bis[(+)-tartrato]diantimonate(III) Dipotassium Trihydrate, Potassium (+)-Tartrate-Water (2/1),Potassium Sodium (+)-Tartrate Tetrahydrate, Potassium Hydrogen (+)-Tartrate, Sodium (+)-Tartrate Dihydrate,5-Sulfosalicylic Acid Dihydrate, Petroleum Ether, Petroleum Benzine, Mercaptoacetic Acid, Thiourea, Thymolphthalein,Thymol Blue, Starch, Corn, Trichloroethylene(no stabilizer),Trichloroacetic Acid, L-Tryptophan, Toluene, p-Toluenesulfonic Acid Monohydrate, p-Naphtholbenzein, 1-Naphthol, 2-Naphthol, p-Nitrophenol, Nitrobenzene, Lactic Acid, Lactose Monohydrate, Urea, Hydroquinone, Palmitic Acid,Pyridine,Pyrogallol,1 10-Phenanthroline Monohydrate, Phenol, Phenolphthalein, Phenol Red, Potassium Hydrogen Phthalate, 1-Butanol, 2-Methyl-1-propanol, 2-Butanol, D(+)-Glucose, Hexane for Pesticide Residue And Polychlorinated Biphenyl Analysis, Uranine, Brucine n-Hydrate, Propylene Glycol, 1-Propanol, 2-Propanol, Bromocresol Green, Bromocresol Purple, Bromothymol Blue, Bromophenol Blue, Hexamethylenetetramine, Hexane, Benzaldehyde, Benzene, Ninhydrin, Formaldehyde Solution, Formamide, D(-)-Mannitol, Metacresol Purple, Methanol, Methyl Orange, 2-Methoxyethanol, Methyl Red, Methylene Blue, Chloroacetic Acid, 2-Butanone, 4-Methyl-2-pentanoneLigroin, Liquid Paraffin, Resorcinol, Pararosolic Acid, Rhodamine B, L-Aspartic Acid, L-Glutamic Acid, L(-)-Cystine, L-Histidine Hydrochloride Monohydrate, L-Leucine, Sulfanilamide, L-Alanine, L-Hydroxyproline, L(+)-Glutamine, L-Serine, L-Valine, L(-)-Proline, L(+)-Ascorbic Acid, 1 1 2 2-Tetrachloroethane, Di isopropyl Ether, Bis(3-methyl-1-phenyl-5-pyrazolone), Phenylfluorone, 3-Methyl-1-phenyl-5-pyrazolone, Polyvinyl Alcohol, N-Bromosuccinimide, Heptane, Dimethyl Sulfoxide, 2 2 4-Trimethylpentane, 2-Amino-2-hydroxymethyl-1,3-propanediol, Tetrahydrofuran