Inside this issue:





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

Department of Homeland Security Mandates Chemical
Inventory Reporting from every Columbia Lab:

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) for all facilities that manufacture, use, store, or distribute certain chemicals above a specified quantity.  The federal government has recognized that research universities may have chemicals of interest (COIs) to terrorists, and the legislation requires detailed chemical inventory reporting.  As a  result, CU must collect inventory information from all labs by
February 1, 2008.

The compliance need for with this initiative is two-fold. Some chemicals used for research may be subject to theft or sabotage for use in a terrorist action and, the legislation calls for fines of up to $25,000 per day for unreported chemicals.  For instructions on complying with this time sensitive federal initiative, please visit http://www.ehrs.columbia.edu/dhs.html . Questions regarding this process should be addressed to Steven Berman, Senior Laboratory Safety Officer,
(212)342-1211 or sb2412@columbia.edu.

Safely Managing Laboratory Waste Streams: 
Not all bags are created equal

You may think that all bags are created equal and a bag is a bag.  Well, this is not the case. 
Recently, a drum of discarded ethidium bromide gel waste was rejected from the processing
facility due to the presence of a red, Regulated Medical Waste (RMW) bag inside it.  Hazardous (chemical) waste processing facilities are not permitted to receive or process RMW.  These wastes are immediately rejected, resulting in expensive additional handling and processing fees.  For disposing ethidium bromide gels and other chemical waste, please follow these procedures:

  • When collecting ethidium bromide gels, line the pail with a clear plastic bag, not a red bag.
  • Complete the chemical/hazardous waste label including the building, room number and phone extension; affix it to the collection container.
  • Immediately replace the lid on the pail after adding gel waste.
  • BEFORE the container is full, submit a chemical/hazardous waste pickup request (for Morningside campus, http://www.ehrs.columbia.edu/ChemicalWastePickupForm.html;
    Medical Center, http://www.cumc.columbia.edu/dept/ehs/chmwstfrm.html) to prevent overfilling and spillage. 
  • Do not place sharps (pipette tips, razor blades, glass
    Pasteur pipettes) inside bags as they can puncture the bag; even micropipette tips can puncture a person’s skin.
  • Pipette tips that contain a hazardous waste (such as phenol/chloroform tips) must be collected in a rigid container labeled using a chemical/hazardous waste label and stored closed when not actively used.  EH&RS/EH&S can supply 5-gallon pails for these wastes or labs can recycle previously used chemical bottles (glass or plastic).
For containing spill debris, use only clear bags, not red bags. Spill debris must be closed/sealed and labeled with a chemical/hazardous waste label.

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