UCLA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry                                                    Chemical Safety Office/ EH&S

Safety Notes

Newsletter #7                                                                     April 1998



The Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), under the authority of the California EPA, administers and is the principal enforcement agency of the state’s hazardous waste program. Some new regulatory changes have been made, while some older provisions have been reinforced. The biggest change concerns treatment of waste in a laboratory.  Previously, no treatment of hazardous waste was allowed, not even neutralization of dilute acid or base wastes. That has changed. Now the DTSC will allow labs to conduct limited bench top treatment of wastes without regulation, provided the lab complies with the following conditions:

  1. The treatment occurs in the lab.
  2. The purpose of the treatment is to minimize the generation of hazardous waste or enhance lab safety.
  3. The quantity of hazardous waste and treatment methods comply with "Prudent Practices in the Laboratory", National Research Council , 1995, p. 160-171.
  4. The hazardous waste treated is from one experiment, or a set of experimental processes, and is of similar composition with no mixing of incompatible waste.
  5. The person conducting the bench top treatment complies with requirements concerning the disposal of treated materials.
  6. The person conducting the bench top treatment is one of the operators of the experimental process.
  7. The bench top treatment is conducted within ten (10) working days of completion of the laboratory process.

It is important to keep in mind that there may be little benefit in carrying out a procedure that will simply produce another kind of waste with similar risks and challenges for disposal. This change in regulatory requirements will probably be most useful for neutralization of acids and bases at the bench level. After neutralization, the waste mixture can be poured down the sink, provided no toxic metals are present. The concentration of neutral salts disposed of in the sanitary sewer should be below 1%.

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Remember, it may still be easier and safer to dispose of ALL Hazardous Waste by calling the Chemical Safety Office at 6-3661 or 6-5847


Some of the older provisions, which have been re-emphasized and clarified, concerning hazardous waste are:

  1. Labeling. All waste containers must be labeled with: the words "hazardous waste" or "laboratory waste", the chemical composition of the waste, its hazard class, and the accumulation start date (the date the waste is first produced). A Hazardous Waste Tag must be completed for each container before it will be accepted for disposal.
  2. Accumulation Time Limits. UCLA policy states that waste can only be stored in a lab for ninety (90) days. Full containers should be removed from the lab as soon as possible.
  3. Container requirements. The waste must be accumulated in containers that are in good condition. The waste must be compatible with its container, and with the other wastes in the container. The container must be kept closed except when the waste is being added to or removed from it.
  4. Empty containers. Empty containers of five (5) gallons or less in size, are exempt from hazardous waste regulations. Bottles which contained an extremely hazardous waste must be triple rinsed prior to disposal. The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry provides barrels for disposal of glass bottles in various locations. Please use these as well as the dumpsters outside Shipping and Receiving for disposal of containers.


The UCLA Respiratory Protection Policy states that "all persons planning on using a respirator on a regular basis or on an emergency basis must receive training in the proper use, maintenance, storage and fit of the respirator".

The annual training and fit testing for respirators will be held on May 5, May 6, and May 7 at 10:00 a.m. and at 2:00 p.m. The training sessions will be held in Young Hall, Room 2033. They will last about an hour and will include information on respirator use and care, uses of respirators in emergency situations, and use of a respirator for spill cleanup. We will provide an individual fit test to determine the effectiveness of each respirator for that person. The respirator will be provided FREE OF CHARGE. Only persons who have been trained in respirator use are allowed to use a respirator.

An important requirement of the California OSHA and the UCLA policies is the annual training of those previously supplied with a respirator. If you were issued a respirator, it is REQUIRED that you attend one of the training sessions. To sign up for the available training sessions, please call the Chemical Safety Office at 6-3661 or 6-5847.

Fire Extinguisher Training

Fire extinguisher training will take place on Wednesday, April 29 and Thursday, April 30 at 3:00 p.m. and at 4:00 p.m. in the driveway between Molecular Sciences and the greenhouse.

All first year graduate students are required to attend. Any faculty member, staff member, post doc or graduate student who missed training or would like to attend again are welcome.

Please call the Chemical Safety Office at 6-3661 or 6-5847 to sign up for one of these sessions.


Bill Peck, Chemical Safety Officer      Young Hall 4204, (20)6-3661