Hazardous Materials

Helping campus units manage their hazardous materials by providing assistance with shipping, waste pick-up and disposal, and chemical inventory needs.

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...

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.

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.

Biological Spill Kit Instructions

Chips (Toan) Hoai
When a biological spill occurs Alert people in the immediate area. Check yourself for contamination. Assess the situation: Are you wearing all of the necessary PPE to clean this spill? Cover the spill and the area around the spill with absorbent material. Pour freshly made 10% bleach on absorbent materials in a spiral motion, starting from the outside of the spill working your way into the center. Allow a 20-minute contact period. Wipe down any contaminated stationary equipment or furniture with an appropriate disinfectant. Use forceps, tongs, or broom to remove...

Flammable & Combustible Liquids Storage In Campus Laboratories

Office of Environment, Health & Safety

California Fire Code (CFC) regulations limit the quantity of flammable and combustible liquids that can be stored in research and teaching laboratories. This fact sheet provides a simplification of the complicated CFC regulations, and establishes standard practice at University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley). For questions not covered in this fact sheet, or for assistance with more complicated issues, please contact the Office of Environment, Health & Safety (EH&S) for situation-specific guidance.

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 andrew.fletcher@berkeley.edu

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.

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...

Exposure to Poisonous Chemicals Due to Improper Storage and Unsafe Work Practices

June 30, 2008
What happened?

A graduate student working in a UC Berkeley laboratory needed a chemical from an overhead shelf. To reach the chemical, the student stood on tiptoe and leaned on the edge of a shelf. This pressure caused the shelf to shift and chemicals to fall. Among the bottles that fell were two that were covered with aluminum foil instead of the original screw-on caps. Those containers held strychnine powder and azure blue dye. The contents fell on the researcher, bench, and floor. The exposed researcher spent 15 minutes under a safety shower and then went to the Tang Center for...