Chemical Safety

Ensuring the safe and compliant use of chemicals on campus.

Carcinogens

Office of Environment, Health & Safety
2012

The Carcinogens Fact Sheet and Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) specify minimum requirements for safe storage, use, and handling of carcinogens on the UC Berkeley Campus. This fact sheet has been approved by the Laboratory Operations & Safety Committee and defines carcinogens as chemicals that cause cancer or tumor development, typically after repeated or chronic exposure. Their effects may only become evident after a long latency period and may cause no immediate harmful effects.

Discovery of an Old Container of Potentially Explosive Chemical

June 30, 2008
What Happened?

While working in a UC Berkeley laboratory, a graduate student discovered the presence of an old experimental set-up, which was labeled as containing a small amount of hydrazoic acid, in a shared cold room with no responsible contact person. This material is a potentially explosive chemical under certain circumstances, so the student referred the set-up to the Department Safety Coordinator (DSC). The DSC requested the assistance of EH&S who recommended that the set-up be disposed of by an explosives material contractor because very little was known about the source...

Improperly Vented Experiment Causes Explosion and Burns

June 30, 2008
What Happened?

A graduate student working in a UC Berkeley laboratory was performing a series of evaporation procedures outside of a fume hood using a general-purpose electric pump and a roto-evaporator that had no exhaust equipment. In an effort to make the solvent recovery more efficient, the student applied a vacuum to the condenser tower but quickly turned the pump off because the vacuum was too strong. By that time, the pump exhaust had already formed an explosive mixture of the acetone and ether vapors which ignited when the power shut-off switch was activated, resulting in...

Explosion of Concentrated Hydrofluoric Acid Waste Solution

June 30, 2008
What Happened?

A graduate student in a UC Berkeley laboratory discovered the aftermath of a chemical explosion upon arrival at the laboratory he shares with other graduate students. The extensive contamination was caused by the explosive rupture of a plastic bottle of liquid waste kept inside the hood. According to the container label, one of the components inside the ruptured bottle was hydrofluoric acid. The investigation revealed that an incompatible material may have been poured into the same container causing the reaction and resulting explosion. The hood, floor and walls near...

Exposure to Bromine During a Laboratory Refrigerator Clean-up

June 30, 2008
What Happened?

While performing a chemical inventory inside a laboratory refrigerator, a UC Berkeley graduate student observed the presence of condensate on the inside walls of the refrigerator. This student and two other graduate students proceeded to clean the refrigerator walls, assuming that the condensate was water. When one of the students noticed a bottle of 99% bromine had a small leak, clean-up was immediately stopped, a sign was posted on the door to keep away, and the Department Safety Coordinator (DSC) was notified of the accident. The DSC summoned EH&S clean-up...

Needles and Sharps: Safe Handling, Injury Response and Disposal

Office of Environment, Health & Safety
2020

A sharp is any device with corners, edges, or projections capable of cutting or piercing. Sharps include,
but are not limited to, the following:

Needles Needles with syringes and attached tubing Blades (razors, scalpels and X-acto®) Glass pasteur pipettes Broken glass, glass slides, and coverslips