Chemical Safety

Ensuring the safe and compliant use of chemicals on campus.

My lab has a permit to work with “select agents.” What Federal Agency regulations must I meet to determine whether a permit to transfer is required?

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the USDA are Federal Agencies that authorize the use and transfer of Select Agents and Toxins. Please note that even when not required to request a permit to transfer, you may still be required to meet other notification filings. After determining permit requirements, the transport of select agents and toxins are subject to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)...

Flammable Liquid Transfer Guidelines

Step 1 - What is the liquid you plan to transfer?

Determine the flashpoint of the liquid:

Flashpoint/Boiling point CFC classification GHS classification Examples <73°F(23°C)/<100°F(38°C) Flammable liquid, Class IA Flammable liquid, Category 1 Ether, pentane <73°F(23°C)/>100°F(38°C) Flammable liquid, Class IB Flammable liquid, Category 2 Acetone, ethanol, isopropanol, gasoline, methanol, toluene 73°F(23°C) - 100°F(38°C) Flammable liquid, Class IC Flammable...

How are chemicals relocated or disposed during decommissioning?

Chemicals will have to be moved or removed by a qualified contractor managed by EH&S. It’s possible that EH&S can help move small amounts of chemicals, but will have to be determined.

Chemical transportation is regulated by US Department of Transportation standards and must never be conducted with personal vehicles or department/campus vehicles.

Chemical disposal requires EH&S signatures. Signing disposal manifests by unapproved personnel is a legal violation resulting in citations from the California Environmental Protection Agency.

How do I properly clean a lab or shop for deactivation?

Lab and shop deactivation is dependent on the history of work or research conducted in the space.

Chemical decontamination of spaces and equipment may be done by the following personnel:

Laboratory supervisors, researchers, or investigators who can effectively disinfect the equipment themselves and provide certification by signing EH&S’ Facilities/Equipment Decontamination Clearance Certification. Hazardous Materials contractors approved to provide such services to the campus, managed by EH...

Fume Hoods (Fact Sheet)

Office of Environment, Health & Safety

One of the most important safety devices in a laboratory is a properly functioning fume hood. The fume hood protects users by containing and exhausting airborne hazards; it does this by constantly pulling room air into the hood and exhausting it from the roof. Fume hood sashes also provide shielding in the event of an explosion or fire inside the hood.

Eyewear - Protecting Your Eyes Fact Sheet

Office of Environment, Health & Safety

More than 90,000 eye injuries occur each year in the United States. Many of these could have been prevented with proper protective eyewear. The California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA) requires that protective eyewear be worn wherever there is the potential for injury from flying particles, hazardous substances, or dangerous light. The eyewear must meet the standards put forth by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) in Standard Z87.1-1989. Safety eyewear that meets this standard has “Z87.1” imprinted on the frame or lens. Since eye hazards are common...

Safe Storage of Hazardous Chemicals Guide

Office of Environment, Health & Safety

The safe storage of hazardous chemicals is an essential part of an environmental, health, and safety program. Chemical storage facilities must meet certain minimum standards to satisfy diverse regulations, such as those of Cal/OSHA, the local sanitary district, and the California Fire Code. This manual provides guidelines to help you meet these standards.

Guidelines for Explosive and Potentially Explosive Chemicals: Safe Storage and Handling

Office of Environment, Health & Safety

Potentially Explosive Chemicals (PECs) include peroxidizable organic chemicals which oxidize, dry out, or otherwise destabilize over time. Examples include isopropyl ether, sodium amide, and picric acid. Old or mismanaged chemicals and can pose a serious threat to the health and safety of laboratory personnel, emergency responders, building occupants, and chemical waste handlers.

For additional information, contact Andrew Fletcher at (510) 643-9254 or

Corrosives (Acids and Bases)

Office of Environment, Health & Safety

Acids and bases are some of the most common hazardous chemicals used in laboratories. They are useful in an array of different experiments, but caution must be used while working with these corrosive compounds. Whether the compound is on the extreme high or low end on the pH scale, proper steps must be taken to ensure your safety. This fact sheet provides information that should be incorporated into – or referenced in – written Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) for laboratory processes that use corrosives.


Office of Environment, Health & Safety

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.