Environmental Health & Safety

Piranha Solution Safety Guidance


Recent incidents involving the disposal of acidic 'piranha' solution (sulfuric acid, H2SO4 and hydrogen peroxide, H2O2) indicates a heightened potential for serious injury to campus researchers, EH&S staff and staff of hazardous waste disposal vendors for UCR that handle piranha waste for final disposal.  As a result, increase safety procedures are required.

  • Piranha solution should only be used when there are no other alternatives.
    • Substitutes such as potassium hydroxide/ethanol bath or NochromixTM solution are safer alternatives and present less difficulty in disposing.
  • Piranha solution should never be used or handled by individuals working alone in the laboratory.
  • Principal Investigators are responsible for developing standard operating procedures for using piranha solution specific to their laboratory.
    • Ensure each researcher is trained on the following:

Distribution of Waste Management Supplies

As part of the waste management safety supplies distribution process, researchers must be provided guidance on the safe storage and handling of piranha solution. Research groups that have been identified as piranha solution users will be contacted by EH&S to schedule an in-person consultation.  Each participating research group will receive the following waste management supplies for piranha solution waste:

  • 2.5 L safety coated glass bottle
  • Pressure vent cap
  • Piranha hazard use/waste labels



Procedures must be implemented by all campus research groups that use piranha solution in order to help ensure the safe handling and disposal.

Cool Solution

No visible evolving gas.

Transfer Solution

Use clear poly-coated bottle. (EH&S provided)

Use Vented Caps

Cap poly-coated bottle with a vented cap. (EH&S provided)

Fill Line

Leave at least 2" of head space in each container.

Post Signage

Place signage next to the bottle of piranha waste to warn others of its presence.


Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)

Piranha Solution Safety Guidance

Need More Information?

Contact EH&S at (951) 827-4254 or email us.



More Information

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Environmental Health & Safety
Environmental Health & Safety

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