When transferring a chemical from the original container:
- Choose a sturdy, sealable storage container made of material compatible with the chemical it will hold.
- Contact the EH&S Chemical Hygiene Officer, (858) 822-1579, if you have questions about chemical and container compatibility.
Chemical container labels are required by law to contain specific information. High hazard materials require extra information.
Follow these steps for proper labeling:
- Accurately label chemicals transferred from their original containers with the following required information, written legibly:
- Chemical name or abbreviation
- Hazard warning
- Include this additional information required for chemicals that degrade over time, peroxide formers, and air and water reactives:
- Date received
- Date opened
- Date tested
- Prominently post a chemical abbreviation sheet in the lab when abbreviations are used on labels.
- Print out this list (PDF) (Word) of common substances and abbreviations. Extend the list as necessary with your laboratory specific abbreviations.
- Label refrigerators used for chemical storage with a "No Food Storage" sticker. Label refrigerators that are not approved flammable storage units with a "No Flammable Storage" sticker.
Particularly high hazard materials and substances regulated by law are subject to special storage requirements.
- Follow these guidelines for any materials below used in your facility:
- Know the high hazard material restrictions for your building.
- Some hazardous materials may not be used in buildings that are not equipped with sprinklers (e.g., pyrophoric material – alkyllithiums, alkylzincs, alkylmagnesiums, diborane, arsine, phospine, etc.).
- Maintain Class D fire extinguishers for work with flammable metals. These types of materials react violently with water!
- Flammable metals such as lithium, sodium, potassium, magnesium, etc.
- Flammable metal compounds such as butyllithium, diethylzinc, lithium aluminum hydride, etc.
- Questions? Contact the EH&S Chemical Hygiene Officer, (858) 822-1579.
Caution: Never use environmental rooms (also called cold/warm rooms) for storage of flammable or other hazardous materials.
- Many ignition sources exist in environmental rooms and little or no air circulates from outside.
- Small quantities of flammable or hazardous materials (500 ml) may be used in these spaces.
Make the most of your investment and prevent chemical degradation over time by accurately tracking what you buy, use, and store.
My Research Safety
Principal investigators, authorized lab contacts, and Department Safety Officers (DSOs) may use the My Research Safety web portal to view and export their current inventory records for chemicals, radioisotopes, and controlled substances.
Minimize inventory tasks, maintenance, and the risks associated with chemical supplies by restricting the amount of material you order and store:
- Avoid duplicative inventory orders.
- Order the minimum quantity of chemicals required for the near future. Do not stockpile chemicals.
- A 6-month throughput of material is a good ordering target.
- Conserve resource funds. Use Chemcycle, UCSD's chemical recycling program:
- Check the Chemcycle inventory of over 6,000 chemicals before you order from suppliers. Follow instructions on the Chemcycle Web page to search for and request free chemicals.
- Donate usable surplus chemicals to Chemcycle:
- Use the Online Waste Tag Program (OTP) to have EH&S hazardous waste technicians collect your usable chemicals.
- On the OTP's "Create Tag" screen, for "Indicate type of content" select Chemcycle.
- Complete and print a tag for the chemical. Request pickup for the container.
- Tag and place the container in your hazardous waste collection area.
- EH&S technicians will pick up the container on the next scheduled hazardous waste collection for your building.
- Reduce your stored chemical supplies to keep your facility fire code compliant. Overstock and bulk orders negatively effect the entire facility by:
- Violating fire codes if the exempt amount of hazardous materials is exceeded for your facility
- Limiting storage space for colleagues sharing the facility
- Increasing safety hazards and risks
- Promptly dispose of unwanted chemicals through the EH&S Hazardous Waste Program at no charge to the researcher.
Among the challenges facing UCSD is ensuring unhindered research while managing chemical inventories within allowable California fire code (CFC) limits.
These variables determine chemical allowances for each building:
Fire code limits differ by building, building floor, or a defined storage area in some cases, and are subject to many variables.
Pyrophoric materials are not allowed in buildings that are not equipped with sprinklers.
Get more information about chemical storage limitations for your facility:
EH&S performs a pre-scheduled annual inventory of every UCSD facility where hazardous chemicals are used or stored as part of the Hazardous Materials Business Plan (HMBP) required by the County of San Diego.
Hazardous materials are inventoried for the HMBP if the substance is used, handled, or stored in quantities greater or equal to the following:
- Any amount of a chemical/ compound/ agent with a hazard characteristic of:
- Water reactive
- Potentially explosive
- Acutely toxic
- Peroxide forming
- Strong corrosive
- Strong oxidizing
- Strong reducing
- Listed extremely hazardous materials (40 CFR Part 355, appendix A), including poisons, oxidizers, teratogens, etc.
- Any compressed gas
- 250 grams of solid substance
- 100 milliliters of liquid substance
Non-manufacturer containers, buffers, or small quantities of low hazard chemicals are not tracked for HMBP reporting.
What to expect:
- EH&S HMBP technicians perform scheduled annual chemical inventories that include:
- Checking barcodes in the database
- Visual confirmation of inventory
- Consultation with the lab or shop contact to determine if major inventory changes have occurred
- Checking for a 2-fold increase or decrease in any hazard class
- During inventory, EH&S technicians can assist with donation of surplus or legacy chemicals to ChemCycle.
- When completed, the lab or shop's principal investigator and Area Safety Coordinator receive an electronic copy of their inventory.
- When EH&S technicians find chemical inventories unsafe or not in compliance with fire codes, EH&S notifies:
UC San Diego's Hazardous Materials Business Plan facilitates chemical safety by:
- Providing valuable information for local fire and hazmat departments responding to emergencies on campus
- Helping us achieve chemical inventories within allowable fire code limits (see the Fire code compliance section above)
- Encouraging discovery and proper disposal of degraded or unwanted chemicals