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Environmental Health & Safety

Laboratory Safety Unit

UCAR Chemical Safety

While performing animal research, it is important to maintain safe chemical handling and dispensing techniques and best practices to minimize any potential exposure to research and vivarium staff.

The following web page outlines the general, minimum requirements for handling high hazard chemicals, reagents, and drugs. The criteria for agents to be considered high hazard are as follows:

  • Agents in Tables 1, 2 and 3 of the "NIOSH List of Antineoplastic and Other Hazardous Drugs in Healthcare Setting" (2016)
  • Agents listed in the Feb. 2018 Proposed update to the "NIOSH List of Antineoplastic and Other Hazardous Drugs in Healthcare Setting" (2016)
  • Agents meeting the criteria for inclusion on the NIOSH list, that have been evaluated by UR EHS previously
  • Agents meeting GHS Acute Toxicity criteria of Category 1 or 2 (except oral route)
  • Agents meeting GHS Specific Organ Toxicity criteria of Category 1 or 2, single exposure or repeated exposure
  • Agents meeting GHS Reproductive Toxicity criteria of Category 1 or 2
  • Agents meeting GHS Germ Cell Mutagenicity criteria of Category 1A, 1B or 2
  • Carcinogens (IARC Group 1, 2A or 2B), (GHS Cat. 1A, 1B or 2)
  • Other hazardous agents previously evaluated by UR EHS

This list is not intended to be all inclusive of high hazard agents and will be revised as new agents are identified. Each agent is assigned to a Hazard Class / Controls Category.

The following minimum requirements must be met when handling High Hazard Chemical Agents:

All other agents not identified on the high hazard substance table are reviewed and determined to be of low to moderate risk to laboratory staff. Standard precautions will provide adequate protection for safe work with low/moderate hazard agents and include:

  • The Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for the chemical should be reviewed to develop proper handling, disposal, emergency procedures, and identify possible adverse health effects for the chemicals used.
  • Purchase only those quantities required for the research. For disposal of solutions and the pure material PIs should refer to the reference document UR Management of Hazardous Materials and Waste. For any question associated with environmental compliance, PIs are directed to contact The UR EHS Environmental Compliance / Hazardous Waste Management Unit.
  • Minimum PPE required: lab coat, disposable gloves and safety glasses when weighing, mixing and administering the agents.
  • Clean up small spills of the agents using soap and water. Place the paper towels into a designated waste bag for disposal as hazardous waste.
  • All radioactive agents will be reviewed by the EH&S Radiation Safety unit.
  • Once these agents are administered, the agents do NOT present a hazard to Vivarium personnel. Labeling of the cages for these agents is NOT required.

Standard Isolation Precautions for Vivarium Personnel:

Personal Protective Equipment:

  • Gowns
  • Head covers
  • Surgical mask
  • Gloves

Cage Labeling:

  • The contents of the cages labeled with an "Antineoplastic Agent", "Carcinogenic", or a "Hazardous Drug" label should be considered contaminated with trace quantities of these agents until the cage is changed, provided at least 48 hours has passed since the last date of administration. After this time, the cage does not need to be labeled unless there is additional administration of a hazardous chemical/drug.
  • After the animals have been transferred to new cages, the used cages that contained animals administered with the "Antineoplastic Agent", "Carcinogenic", or a "Hazardous Drug" labels are to be stacked and placed into a heavy duty bag and the bag labeled with a "Antineoplastic Agent", "Carcinogenic", or a "Hazardous Drug" label and the bag sealed. This labeling will alert the assigned individual emptying the cages of the potentially hazardous materials that might be present.
  • When dumping cages, staff are to wear isolation gowns, shoe covers, head covers, a surgical mask (for splash protection), and gloves. A N95 respirator may be utilized in place of a surgical mask. The collected soiled bedding is to be labeled with "Antineoplastic Agent", "Carcinogenic", or a "Hazardous Drug" labels and is to be disposed of in the compactor.

Contact EH&S at (585) 275-3241 or e-mail EH&S Questions.

This page last updated 10/5/2020. Disclaimer.