Science, Tech, Math › Science What Is an Oxidizing Agent? Share Flipboard Email Print nitiwa / Getty Images Science Chemistry Chemical Laws Basics Molecules Periodic Table Projects & Experiments Scientific Method Biochemistry Physical Chemistry Medical Chemistry Chemistry In Everyday Life Famous Chemists Activities for Kids Abbreviations & Acronyms Biology Physics Geology Astronomy Weather & Climate By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Chemistry Expert Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Updated April 05, 2020 An oxidizing agent is a reactant that removes electrons from other reactants during a redox reaction. The oxidizing agent typically takes these electrons for itself, thus gaining electrons and being reduced. An oxidizing agent is thus an electron acceptor. An oxidizing agent may also be viewed as a species capable of transferring electronegative atoms (especially oxygen) to a substrate. Oxidizing agents are also known as oxidants or oxidizers. Examples of Oxidizing Agents Hydrogen peroxide, ozone, oxygen, potassium nitrate, and nitric acid are all oxidizing agents. All of the halogens are oxidizing agents (e.g., chlorine, bromine, fluorine). Oxidizing Agent Versus Reducing Agent While an oxidizing agent gains electrons and is reduced in a chemical reaction, a reducing agent loses electrons and is oxidized during a chemical reaction. Oxidizer as a Dangerous Material Because an oxidizer may contribute to combustion, it may be classified as a dangerous material. The hazard symbol for an oxidizer is a circle with flames on top of it.