Frequently asked questions

We have compiled the questions and answers that come up most frequently in the context of persulfate issues.

All persulfates dissolve to release the persulfate anion, which is a powerful oxidant. Many industries and applications use this key characteristic including:

  • The polymer industry uses aqueous solutions of persulfates as initiators in the polymerization of latex and synthetic rubber.
  • The electronics industry considers sodium persulfate an efficient microetchant in the manufacture of printed circuit boards.
  • The oil and gas industry uses persulfate during exploration process.
  • For environmental applications such as soil & groundwater remediation persulfates are the preferred products to remediate key contaminants of concern.
  • The hair care industry uses persulfates as a bleach.
  • Other applications include polymerization of plastics and rubbers, structural materials, oxidation in surface preparation, cosmetics and personal care, or organic synthesis.

All three act as oxidizing agents and can be used as a polymerization initiator in polymer chemistry. They can be applied in various markets and industries. Ammonium persulfate and sodium persulfate are for example used as etchants and cleaners in electronics manufacturing processes. Potassium persulfate and ammonium persulfate can act as gel breaker in the oil and gas industry or booster in hair bleaches. Sodium persulfate and potassium persulfate, under the KLOZUR® tradename, are used in the soil and groundwater market to remediate contamination. For more information and an overview of their key functions and related markets, please visit our product page.

The exact PPE to be used will depend upon the application. A qualified professional should consult the safety data sheet (SDS) prior to use. In general, wear chemical-type goggles or a face mask, protect your respiratory system and hands, wear proper clothing and footwear. Each material used should be chemically compatible with the persulfate or persulfate solution. When properly handled and stored, persulfates and their solutions do not present serious health hazards. The safety data sheet (SDS) provides information concerning exposure, emergency, first aid, and disposal of persulfates.

Persulfate is an oxidant and is most often measured by quantifying this characteristic and correlating the result to a mass of persulfate. For example, a known method is to apply a persulfate solution to a dissolved solution with a known mass of Fe (II). The residual Fe (II) is then quantified by titration using another oxidant with the mass of persulfate estimated as the difference. Several commercially available test chemistries exist for persulfate.

Persulfates should be stored and handled in a cool and dry facility and aware of other compounds with which it may react. Do not store persulfates near incompatible materials such as reducing agents, acids, bases, halide salt solutions, organics, ammoniacal solutions, alkaline cleansers, or other oxidizers. These materials can initiate decomposition. Do not store at ambient temperatures above 113 °F or 45 °C or near point sources of heat such as steam pipes, electrical appliances, heating vents, gas flames, welding sparks, or radiant heaters.

Keep persulfate dry as moisture significantly lowers the decomposition temperature of persulfates. Spilled or unused portions of persulfates should not be returned to the original container. Dirt, metal, moisture, or other contaminants can induce the decomposition of persulfates. Do not cross-contaminate with scoops, cups, or stirrers that may have been exposed to or used with other chemicals. Use only dedicated clean, dry plastic, or stainless steel scoops and utensils for transfer. Do not grind or dry mix in equipment or machines that develop frictional heat.

Persulfate crystals should never be discarded to trash bins. Contact with moisture, contaminants, and/or reducing agents can initiate a chemical reaction or decomposition. Persulfate crystals which become a waste material are classified as hazardous waste because they are oxidizers. Persulfates that are spilled on the floor, or otherwise contaminated, are best dissolved in copious quantities of water. An acceptable disposal method for spent persulfate solutions is to dilute with large quantities of water and dispose via a treatment system. Persulfate packaging, if sufficiently empty, can typically be disposed of as regular waste. Any disposal method of ammonium, sodium, or potassium persulfate or its packaging must be in full accordance with all local, state, and federal regulations.

Although our persulfate products have an extended shelf life there can be a slight decrease of active oxygen content over time and crystals may aggregate. If stored properly, sodium and ammonium persulfate usually hold their characteristics for up to 1 year while potassium persulfate usually holds its characteristics for up to 6 months. Product stored over a long time should be analyzed before use and dosing rates should be adapted accordingly. Inspect storage packaging before use.

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