Inside this issue:

Columbia University Recycling Programs

Ready References: FAQs and Wall Guides

Safety Training: Where do you stand?

Eyewash Use: On Line Video Clip

Biological safety Cabinets: Making them work for you

Everything Costs More in the Long Run

Laboratory Accidents: Lessons Learned

Laser Safety at Columbia University

Nuclear Reactor at Columbia: A brief history


Environmental Health & Radiation Safety /Environmental Health
& Safety

Medical Center
630 West 168th Street, Mailbox #8
New York, NY  10032
Phone:  (212) 305-6780

Morningside Campus
S.W. Mudd Building, Suite 350
New York, NY  10027
Phone:  (212) 854-8749




Columbia University Recycling Programs:
It all adds up (more than you’d think)

Have you ever wondered what happened to your old outdated computer?  How about the fluorescent lights buzzing above your head?  What about those batteries in your radio that you just had to replace because they went dead in the middle of your favorite song?  Are these old, useless or otherwise unwanted items just thrown away taking up space in some landfill?  At Columbia….they are not!

Columbia University cares about the environment and has implemented several programs to recycle and reuse these items around the university.  Although bulbs, batteries and old computer equipment may not seem hazardous to you,


In fact they all have components that can harm to the environment.  Fluorescent bulbs contain mercury.  Although the amount in a typical 4’ fluorescent bulb is measured in milligrams, the thousands of bulbs generated by Columbia cause that small amount of mercury to add up rather quickly.  Dropping an old or “dead” battery in the trash may seem like no big deal but batteries contain a variety of elements that are harmful to the environment.  Is your old computer system, that cost you thousands of dollars a couple years ago, now obsolete, just taking up valuable space on your desk?  Don’t throw it away-that computer, (the monitor especially) contains lead.


How are these things collected and recycled? Facilities Operations collects and stores old bulbs and computer equipment prior to their being shipped off site for recycling of hazardous materials. While certain battery types are also handled by Facilities, everyone at Columbia is responsible for proper collection and handling of unwanted batteries.  To have your batteries recycled on the Morningside campus, complete a Chemical Waste Pickup Form; at the Medical Center, battery recycling containers have been placed throughout Columbia buildings for collection.



Facts about Columbia’s 2006 recycling program

Columbia recycled (and kept out of the environment):

30.989 pounds of Mercury from fluorescent light tubes. This translates to over 119,754 linear feet of bulbs-over 22 miles or almost the same distance that thousands run each year in the New York City Marathon.

Or, enough mercury to make Madison Square Garden unsafe for occupancy 40 times over if released to the atmosphere.

44 tons of batteries, containing hundreds of pounds of lead and other toxic metals (nickel, cadmium) and gallons of sulfuric

acid and potassium hydroxide, were recycled.

5Over 90,000 lbs of electronics (computer monitors, CPU’s) were recycled with more than 23,000 lbs of lead recovered-that’s about the weight of 10 NYC taxi cabs.

Eyewash Use: On Line Video Clip

EH&RS/EH&S provides eyewashes to labs and other locations where materials that may cause eye injury are used; if you do not have one and believe you need one, contact us.  A video on eyewash use is available at

.  It takes less than a minute to access and view but should you ever need to use the eyewash in an emergency, this extra bit of preparation may prove to be invaluable.


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