• Posted by: Ecospill Spill Kits

Aerosol Cans: Hidden Dangers and How to Store Safely

The pressurized gas and propellants in aerosol cans can make them extremely dangerous. Learn suitable storage practices and how to lower your risk in this article.

Aerosol spray cans are a common item you may not think twice about. But aerosol cans can potentially be hazardous and life-threatening when not correctly stored.

What are aerosol cans?

Aerosol cans are self-contained dispensing systems that store substances inside a metal canister. The substance is then pushed out as a fine mist, spray, or foam.

Australians use more than 250 million aerosol cans each year. These cans are used for things like:

  • Spray paint
  • Antiseptics
  • Whipped cream
  • Shaving cream
  • Paint
  • Antibiotics
  • Cooking oil

Why are aerosol cans dangerous?

There are a few key reasons why aerosol cans are dangerous, such as:

The ingredients are hazardous

Some of the ingredients contained in aerosol cans are hazardous:

  • Adhesives
  • Insecticides 
  • Automotive sprays
  • Solvents
  • Cleaners
  • Paints
  • Varnishes
  • Deodorants
  • Air fresheners

They can cause harm if they are inhaled or absorbed into the body.

The cans may overheat

When aerosol cans are left in direct sunlight, in the car, or close to a hot machine, they can overheat and become extremely dangerous. This is particularly true if the can gets shaken before it is used. Overheated aerosol cans may cause burns and shrapnel injuries.

Punctured aerosol cans

When an aerosol can is punctured, a sudden release of pressure can turn the can into an unguided missile, which is extremely dangerous for the safety of everybody in the vicinity.

The cans may rupture

If the cans are shaken, dropped, or otherwise impacted, they can explode or rupture. When this happens, there are two main dangers:

  1. Toxic substances inside the can could go flying and harm workers or damage expensive equipment.
  2. The can itself and pieces of the can may go flying, injuring bystanders. This can happen if a can is dropped or knocked over. 

The cans are flammable 

Aerosol cans are highly flammable. You should never place aerosol cans near fires or heat sources, as this can also lead to an explosion. The propellant may also be flammable.

How to store aerosol cans safely?

Storing aerosol cans safely takes a bit of preparation. Consider the following tips to keep all of your aerosol spray cans safe:

Aerosol can storage cabinet

Aerosol can storage cabinets provide secure and safe storage of aerosol cans. This is the most efficient and cost-effective solution for storing aerosols. It lets you store the aerosols safely on-site so you can access them while you need them, reducing the risk of something going wrong.

Store in a dry area

Whether you store your aerosol spray cans in a storage cabinet or elsewhere, you must ensure they are kept in a cool and dry area to ensure they aren’t exposed to excessive heat or cold, which could cause them to burst.

As the temperature increases, the pressure inside the can also increase and could cause an explosion. This is why you are highly discouraged from storing aerosols in the car or truck where they may be exposed to direct sunlight — even if it’s just for a couple of hours.

Avoid garbage compactor

When you are done storing your aerosol cans, you must make sure you dispose of them correctly because the leftover materials may be hazardous waste. Avoid placing them in garbage compactors because if the can is still pressurized, it may explode when placed in the garbage compactor. 

Ecospill Can Help

Aerosol cans are a hidden danger lurking in many workplaces and households. The good news is you can take the steps above to reduce the risks posed by aerosol cans and the dangerous goods inside them, many of which are ignition sources and harsh chemicals. To ensure your aerosols don’t cause any significant damage to your team or equipment, it’s critically important to store them properly. Check out Ecospill’s aerosol can storage cabinets here.