Environmental health and safety office

Unknowns

Before disposing of laboratory waste, its hazard class must be identified so that it can be transported and disposed of safely and in accordance with regulatory standards. For this reason, and for safety considerations of everyone working in the laboratory, do not allow containers of unknown chemicals to accumulate. Avoid generating materials of unknown composition by properly labeling bottles and boxes with the contents, its associated hazards, and the date the waste chemical was first added to the container. If required, inspect the condition of the containers and their labels weekly, documenting the inspections. If a label appears faded or illegible, affix a new label to the bottle.

In the event you are unsure of the exact contents of a chemical mixture or you have an unlabeled compound, you can assist the Chemical Waste Program in the analysis of the unknown item by examining the container and the contents and making some initial observations. Photocopy the Unknown Preliminary Analysis Checklist (see Appendix II) and complete the form, recording your observations and any known history of the material as requested.

Retain one copy of the completed form and submit a second copy to the Chemical Waste Program at the following address:

CAMPUS MAIL
19 DADB
Att: Andrew Kimball
Env. Health & Safety Office
  US MAIL
UMD Env. Health and Safety Office
19 Darland Admin. Building
1049 University Drive
Duluth, MN 55812

Or fax to: Att. Andrew Kimball: (218) 726-8127

CAUTION: Wear appropriate protective clothing and work in a hood when opening containers of unknown chemicals. Keep in mind the hazards involved in handling potential pyrophoric and peroxide forming chemicals. Several classes of chemicals can form explosive peroxides on long exposure to air. Unless it is known that the compound does not contain an explosive substance, do not use heroic efforts to open the bottle to examine the contents; it may be necessary to dispose of the bottle as a potentially explosive chemical. If you have questions concerning potential explosives, contact Environmental Health and Safety Office at 726-6764.