FAQ'S - most frequently asked questions

1. How do I dispose of Organic solvents?
2. How do I dispose of hazardous waste other than organic solvents?
3. Where can I find MSDS sheets?
4. Are safety glasses or goggles required in the lab?
5. What kind of gloves offer the best protection while working with chemicals?
6. How should I clean up a chemical spill?
7. Who should I call for problems concerning ventilation, temperature, housekeeping, repairs?
8. What procedures should I follow in case of an accident or injury?
9. How can I obtain a respirator?
10. How can I update the sign on the laboratory door?
11. Are there any Safety videos available for viewing?











1.How do I dispose of Organic solvents?

Common organic solvents should be collected in special 5 gallon safety cans. The red, wide- mouth Polyethylene cans can be purchased from laboratory supply companies.

Small amounts of organic solvents can be stored in gallon sized glass bottles and disposed of as hazardous waste if a Safety can is not available

Guidelines for the Chemical Waste Solvent Pickup - Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry


1. Organic solvents are accepted for disposal by the Office of Environment, Health and Safety (EH&S) at the Molecular Sciences loading dock on Tuesdays and Fridays from 9:00 to 9:15 a.m. You must be present to pass your container to the technicians.

2. A completed Hazardous Substance Manifest form or Hazardous Waste ID Tag is required for each container of waste. Forms are available from EH&S personnel during the pickup or from the Chemical Safety Office.

3. The emptied container will be returned to the Emergency Equipment Cage near the Receiving dock by 1:00 p.m. of the same day. The D340 graduate sub-master key will open the cage.


1. ONLY organic solvent wastes will be accepted.

2. DO NOT add to solvent containers any of the following: Oxidizers, Corrosives (acids and bases), Inorganics, Water Reactives, Sulfur-containing solvents, amines, or greater than 20% water.

3. HALOGENATED and NON-HALOGENATED solvents have to be segregated into separate, labeled containers.

4. DO NOT overfill the 5-gallon solvent containers beyond the 20 liter (5 gallon) mark.

5. Maintain a completed , up-to-date, waste manifest form with the waste container while in the lab. Don't try to fill out the manifest form after the container is filled. It is a violation of state waste handling regulations to store any hazardous wastes without the materials being properly labeled and dated on the manifest form.

6. The red 5-gallon waste solvent containers require an intact, non-clogged, flame arrestor screen. These are sold in the Research Equipment Storeroom, Young Hall 3056.



2. How do I dispose of hazardous waste other than organic solvents?

Hazardous Waste is collected at Room 2104, Molecular Sciences, Monday - Friday from 3:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m.

Tony Lee will be present to take the waste at these times.


Guidelines for handling hazardous waste other than organic solvent waste:

1. Hazardous Waste must be collected and stored in the same or adjacent room to where it is generated before it is transported to the Chemistry Hazardous Waste facility. At the present time, Molecular Sciences, Room 2104 is the first area of the Chemistry Hazardous Waste Facility.

2. Waste containers must be controlled by the designated person(s) who must know and control all waste going into the collection container. The person(s) must also sign the Hazardous Waste Identification Tag or Manifest. Each research group should assign a responsible person or persons for this duty.

3. All containers used for the storage or transport of chemicals must be suitable for that type of chemical. The containers must be tightly closed and in good condition, without leakage, rusting, or other defects.

4. All waste containers must be labeled using the "Hazardous Waste Identification Tag" or the "Hazardous Waste Manifest". These can be obtained at the Chemical Safety Office (Young Hall 4204), and from the EH&S technicians.

5. Environment Health and Safety (EH&S) has only 90 days to ship waste off campus. Since the 90 days begins at the first day of collection in some cases, it is important to remove full or partially full waste containers from the laboratory to Mol Sci 2104 frequently.

6. Hazardous Waste Identification Tag and Hazardous Waste Manifest

Either a Hazardous Waste Identification Tag or Hazardous Waste Manifest (identical except for size) must be filled out for each bottle, jar or container of hazardous waste. The Tag or Manifest should be secured to the container at the beginning of collection and a running record of contents should be listed. Where this is not convenient, the Manifest should be under or next to the container, and a running total kept. Hazardous Waste tags and Manifests should be labeled using the following guidelines:

1. List the first date on which any waste was placed in the container.

2. List the Department (Chemistry and Biochemistry).

3. List the Principal Investigator

4. The Contact Person is the person responsible for the collection of the waste.

5. Lab / Facility location is the Building and Room number where the waste has been generated.

6. The funding source should be indicated.

7. Substance identification is the NAME of the chemical involved, NOT the chemical formula OR structure.

Example- hydrochloric acid, NOT HCl. Water, NOT H2O.

8. List all the components of a mixture.

9. Check the Hazard Classification Box to the best of your knowledge for each component.

10. List the volume or the weight for each component, not the percentage. Estimate the volume. Use metric units.

11. Indicate whether the waste is a gas, liquid, solid or sludge.

12. Sign and date the form. This is done by the person bringing the waste to the Chemical Safety Office.

7. Should you have any questions, please contact the Chemical Safety Office or stop by the office or the Lab. If you need Hazardous Waste Tags or Manifests, please call the Chemical Safety Office at Ext. 63661.


3.Where can I find MSDS sheets?

Hard copies of MSDS sheets are kept in a filing cabinet in the Chemical Safety Office, room 4204 Young Hall, telephone (20)6-3661. They are filed alphabetically in cabinets labeled "MSDS ".

The Chemical Safety Office is open Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For after hours entrance, the Faculty master key will open the office door.

A more convenient way to obtain MSDS sheets is through the Internet. There is a link on the Chemistry Home Page to the University of Utah's MSDS database. Fisher Scientific has a database of MSDS also. The University of California office of the President, has MSDS's from various manufacturer's, including Sigma/Aldrich


4. Are safety glasses or goggles required in the lab?

Yes, safety glasses are required in labs at UCLA. Safety glasses can be obtained in the Research Storeroom, Young Hall 3056. Employees can get the first pair of Safety glasses free by ordering them through Kyra Marsh in the Business Office, telephone 53865.


5. What kind of gloves offer the best protection while working with chemicals?

The selection of gloves is not as straight-forward as it seems. Certain gloves are protective against certain solvents, while useless against others.

Some gloves can be used for total immersion in a solvent while others will withstand less permeating chemicals in intermittent contact. Various thickness' have different protective factors. Factors such as flexibility, cut and tear resistance, and temperature range should be considered.

Anyone purchasing gloves for protection should become familiar with the various protective materials from which gloves are made and look at Glove Selection Charts for applicability. Glove selection charts can be obtained from the manufacturers of the gloves and from the laboratory supply catalogues. There are also good references in textbooks, such as "Fundamentals of Industrial Hygiene", "Prudent Practices in the Laboratory" and other sources. An important point to remember is that disposable gloves are not suitable for use with hazardous or aggressive chemicals. The disposable nitrile gloves carried by the Research storeroom are suitable for brief or intermittent chemical exposure to some chemicals. The manufacturer provides a chart of suitability. If there are questions about suitability of gloves, please call Bill Peck at 63661.


6. How should I clean up a chemical spill?


For chemical spills involving large quantities of hazardous materials or highly toxic chemicals, the UCLA Hazardous Materials Team should be contacted. The number to reach them is 825-5689, or 911 in an emergency. The Chemical Safety Office should also be notified at 206-3661. The Haz Mat Team will do the cleanup

In the event of a fire emergency or after hours, please call 911.

Spill Response Procedure for Large or Major Spill

1. Alert people in the area to evacuate.

2. If spilled material is flammable, turn off ignition and heat sources if it is safe to do so.

3. Either call the Hazardous Materials Team (825-5689) or activate the building fire alarm and call 911.

4. Close doors to affected area and leave the immediate area.


Small or less toxic chemical spills can be handled by trained personnel in the department. For the purposes of this policy, a small spill can be defined as a volume of less than a liter. In many cases, the use of a respirator will be appropriate. If a respirator is to be used during a spill cleanup, the chemical to be cleaned up must have good warning properties. This could be a recognizable odor perceived at low concentrations, or a visual observation of fine particulates.

Before attempting to clean up spills, the laboratory personnel should consult the MSDS to determine the hazards associated with the chemical. Laboratory personnel should pay attention to special handling requirements, spill clean up procedures, and recommended personal protective equipment indicated on the MSDS. Examples of materials which can be safely cleaned up by laboratory personnel are the following:

Laboratory personnel must have the proper personal protective equipment to clean up a spill. Any questions regarding the ability to safely clean up spills should be addressed to the Chemical Safety Office at 206-3661 or to the Office of Environment Health and Safety at 825-5689.

Spill Response Procedure for small or minor spills

Materials for cleanup can be obtained from the Spill Response Cart, located in Molecular Sciences, Room 3114. The spill response cart has a number of supplies on it including brooms, mops, vermiculite, sand, absorbent pads, spill control pillows, sodium bicarbonate, and citric acid. In addition, there are yellow hazardous waste bags for trash and paper generated from the cleanup. There are additional supplies available in the Emergency Cage (Young Hall, first floor, near the Receiving area).

1. Alert people in the immediate area of the spill.

2. Determine chemical nature of the spill. Check the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet). If the material spilled is highly hazardous, treat it as a major spill, and call the Haz Mat Team (825-5689) or 911.

3. If a volatile, toxic or flammable material is spilled, immediately warn everyone nearby to extinguish flames and turn off all electrical and spark producing equipment.

4. Wear the proper protective equipment; at a minimum, gloves and safety goggles.

5. Dike the spill by surrounding the area with absorbents, such as vermiculite, sand, absorbent pads or spill control pillows for organic liquids. Clean up the spill using the same materials.

6. Neutralize acids with sodium bicarbonate and bases with citric acid.

7. After cleanup, all materials used in the cleanup, including paper towels, must be disposed of as wastes and placed in the yellow hazardous material disposal bags. Double bag the waste as needed. Label the bags to indicate the chemicals inside.

8. Wash the surfaces with soap and water and clean up by ordinary means.


7. Who should I call for problems concerning ventilation, temperature, housekeeping, repairs?

Call the Mail and Information Center at 54219. The Facilities Trouble desk for after-hours problems is 59236.


8. What procedures should I follow in case of an accident or injury?

The procedures are different for undergraduate students than they are for graduate students, teaching assistants, research assistants and employees.

For undergraduates:

During normal business hours (8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.), go to Student Health Services, located at the Arthur Ashe Student Health and Wellness Center, formerly the Plaza Building, adjacent to Wooden Center, Monday - Friday, from 8:00 am - 7:00 p.m. X54073

After 5:00 p.m., go to the Emergency Medicine Center, Room BE-324, Center for the Health Sciences (CHS) X52111

Each student must have a referral slip. A Student Referral Slip for Day Time Lab Injury is required from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. while a Student Referral Slip for Night Lab Injury is required for after hours or weekend injuries. These forms can be obtained from the Personnel Office at Young Hall, Room 3021; Chemical Safety Office, Room 4204; Lab Support, Room 1072; First Year Chem. Office, Room 1039; Mail and Information Services, Room 3034.

For Graduate Students, Teaching Assistants, Research Assistants, Employees:

During normal business hours (8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Mon.-Fri.) go to the Occupational Heath Facility, Medical Plaza 200, room 224, Monday-Friday.   7:30 am -4:00 PM. X56771

After 5:00 p.m. or weekends, go to the Emergency Medicine Center, Room BE-324, Center for the Health Sciences (CHS) X52111

An Employee Referral Slip for Industrial Injury is required for treatment in the Employee Medical Facility. A Departmental ID is required for treatment in the Emergency Facility.

Considerations regarding proper handling of injuries:


9. How can I obtain a respirator?

All persons planning on using a respirator on a regular basis must receive training in the proper use, maintenance, storage and fit of the respirator. This training requirement includes those persons who have purchased their own respirators, as well as the respirators provided by the Department.

The training is given in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry on an annual basis. Disposable respirators are provided to participants in the Respirator Program. It is anticipated that the respirators provided will be used for emergency use, when cleaning up spills, or when cleaning out refrigerators or cabinets. Please call the Chemical Safety Office at phone: 63661 for the scheduled training. Training can also be provided on an individual basis as needed.

For further information, refer to the Respiratory Protection Policy of the Department.


10. How can I update the sign on the laboratory door?

The sign on the Laboratory door is an NFPA sign and is updated at least yearly, usually in the Spring. If there are major changes or reasons to update the sign, speak to the Principal Investigator and he can request the Chemical Safety Office to update it. Don't attempt to update it yourself, since that update will not change the database where the information is stored.


11. Are there any Safety videos available for viewing?

The Office of Environment Health and Safety has numerous videos available for viewing. Please contact them at (82)55689. The Chemical Safety Office has a smaller selection which are available for checkout.

1. Laboratory Fume Hood Safety

Kaufman and Associates, 17 min. 1992

2. Stop That Dose! Working Safely with Toxic Chemicals

ACS Lab Safety Series, 22 min. 1996

3. Saf-T-Training: Chemical Safety Training

Saf-T-Training, 45 min. 1987

4. An Introduction to Reactive and Explosive Materials

Hazards Productions, 1988

5. Radionuclide Hazards

Howard Hughes Medical Institute, 12 min.

6. Chemical Hazards

Howard Hughes Medical Institute, 10 min.

7. Emergency Response

Howard Hughes Medical Institute, 12 min.

8. ACS Laboratory Safety Video Courses (Preview)

American Chemical Society, 1996