Hernando County Schools

Chemical Hygiene Plan

for School Laboratories



Public and private schools over the past few years have had to comply with various Hazard Communication or "Right to Know" laws. These laws were written for industrial production facilities, and did not address the specific safety concerns found in a laboratory setting. In 1990, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) instituted "The Laboratory Standard"-Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories. This new "Laboratory Standard" has been designed to address the specific safety needs of the laboratory.

The Laboratory Standard ensures that employees who work in a laboratory setting will be protected from any chemical exposure that exceeds permissible exposure limits and that employees will be educated in the hazardous nature of the chemicals they use in the laboratory. To achieve this goal, the Laboratory Standard requires the school district to develop, implement, and monitor a chemical hygiene plan.

School District Responsibilities

The school board and the school district superintendent have ultimate responsibility to ensure the institution complies with the Laboratory Standard. Several of these tasks are:

1. Record all employee exposures to hazardous chemicals.

  1. Record all chemical exposures and use monitoring instruments to get hard data*. Obtain and keep up to date information provided by a medical examination.
  2. Keep these records and allow employee access to these records, including all employee exposure and medical records.

Do not get alarmed. This provision is included in the Lab Standard, but clearly states you only have to monitor exposure levels if you know you routinely have an exposure level which is above the permissible exposure level (PEL) and an OSHA Standard exists for the chemical which requires monitoring. If you have no reason to believe you have exceeded a PEL, you do not have to monitor

exposure levels.

2. Train employees to:

A. Understand the hazards of chemicals they use in the laboratory.

B. Recognize signs and symptoms associated with overexposure too hazardous chemicals.

C. Properly use personal protective equipment (fume hoods, respirators, goggles, etc.)

D. Protect themselves from chemical exposure by following good laboratory procedures.

E. Understand the content of the Chemical Hygiene Plan.

3. Provide access to all employees:

A. MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets).

B. Previous exposure records (if any).

C. Previous medical records (if any).

D. The Laboratory Standard and Chemical Hygiene Plan.

E. Permissible exposure limits of hazardous chemicals used in the laboratory. (Consult your Flinn Chemical Catalog/Reference Manual)

4. Upon receipt of chemical:

A. Make sure you have the MSDS (make them accessible to the employee).

B. Make sure the label is proper and contains the minimum amount of information.

1) Chemical name.

2) Hazard information.

3) Name and address of the manufacturer.

* Note: You must follow these steps for all chemicals and chemical solutions made and stored in your laboratory or chemical storeroom.

The Chemical Hygiene Plan--An Overview

The Chemical Hygiene Plan is the major ingredient of the Laboratory Standard. Your school district should develop and carry out a written Chemical Hygiene Plan which is capable of:

  1. Protecting employees from health hazards associated with hazardous chemicals in the laboratory.
  2. Keeping chemical exposures below established permissible exposure limits. (Consult your Flinn

Chemical Catalog/Reference Manual for specific chemical permissible exposure limits.)

The Chemical Hygiene Plan must be readily available to employees. The school district shall review and evaluate the effectiveness of the Chemical Hygiene Plan at least annually and update it as necessary. The Chemical Hygiene Plan should include each of the following elements and should include specific measures the employer will take to ensure laboratory employee protection.

Before you adopt any Chemical Hygiene Plan, first consult your state regulating agency. Modifications or alterations may have to be made to have your Chemical Hygiene Plan conform to your state's specific regulations.





I. Standard Operating Procedures

  1. General Employee Rules and Procedures.
  2. General Laboratory Rules and Procedures.
  3. Personal Hygiene Guidelines.
  4. Protective Clothing Requirements.
  5. Housekeeping Rules.
  6. Spill and Accident Procedures.
  7. Chemical Storage Rules and Procedures.
  1. Compressed Gas Handling Instructions.
  2. Flammable Chemical Handling Instructions.
  3. Corrosive Material Handling Instructions.
  1. Procedure--Specific Safety Rules and Guidelines (Including Severely Toxic andCarcinogenic Substances).
  2. Prior Approval Required Procedures
  3. Safety Equipment Inspection (every 3 months minimum)

II. Employee Training.

III. Exposure Evaluations.

IV. Medical Evaluations.

V. Monitoring

VI. Emergency Evacuation Plan.


Hernando County Schools

Chemical Hygiene Plan

I. Standard Operating Procedures

A) General Employee Rules and Procedures

  1. Avoid underestimation of chemical hazards and risks.
  2. Minimize all chemical exposures.
  3. Skin contact with chemicals should be avoided.
  4. Develop a firm goggle policy. Wear appropriate eye protection at all times. Chemical splash goggles must be worn any time chemicals, glassware or heat are used in the laboratory.
  5. Never work alone in the laboratory, chemical storage or prep areas.
  6. Flammable liquids require special attention. Never use these materials near any source of ignition, spark or open flame.
  7. Never perform a first-time chemical demonstration in front of your class. Always perform first-time demonstrations in front of other instructors to evaluate the safety of the demonstration.
  8. Never store chemicals over, under or near a sink.
  9. Only authorized personnel should be allowed in the chemical storeroom.
  10. Have a fire blanket easily accessible in case of an accident.
  11. Train all students on how to use all safety devices in the laboratory (e.g.: eyewash, fire extinguisher etc.) and teach all students and employees to find the safety devices quickly in an emergency.
  12. Know appropriate procedure in the event of a power failure.
  13. Know where and how to use master utility controls to shut off gas, electrical and water supplies.
  14. Do not smell or taste chemicals.
  15. Use a safety shield whenever an explosion or implosion might occur.
  16. Read all chemical labels prior to use.
  17. Know and understand the hazards of the chemical as stated in the MSDS and other references.
  18. Use protective safety equipment to reduce potential exposure ( i.e. gloves, respirators, fume hood, etc).
  19. Know the locations for all personal safety and emergency equipment, eye wash, shower, fire extinguisher and spill control materials.
  20. Know how to properly store all chemicals in their compatible chemical families. (Consult the Flinn Chemical Catalog/Reference Manual for details.)
  21. Know proper transportation and disposal procedures for chemicals.
  22. Know appropriate emergency procedures, waste disposal, and spill clean up, evacuation routes and fire emergency notification.
  23. Know and understand the personal hygiene practices outlined in the Chemical Hygiene Plan.
  24. Make sure copies of all MSDS sheets for chemicals are on hand and stored with chemicals.
  25. Notify Safety Officer of all chemical spills.

B) General Laboratory Rules and Procedures

  1. Create a written first aid policy; whether it says to treat, contact school nurse or call a physician.
  2. Your first aid policy must be written down.

  3. The laboratory should be well ventilated (A ventilation fan which can remove the air a minimum of
  4. 8 air changes per hour). Air for laboratory ventilation shall directly flow into the laboratory from non-laboratory areas and out to the exterior of the building. Ventilation must be checked a minimum of every 3 months.

  5. Post emergency telephone numbers in the chemical storage area. Have a telephone or some means of emergency communication in the laboratory, chemical storage area and prep area.
  6. Do not use chipped, etched or cracked glassware. Glassware which is chipped or scratched presents a serious breakage hazard when heated or handled.
  7. All laboratories must have an eyewash capable of treating both eyes continuously for 15 minutes with copious quantities of potable water. Teach everyone how to use the eyewash quickly in case of an emergency. Eyewash effectiveness and operation should be inspected every three months. Promptly repair any eyewash which does not meet the water flow requirements of ANSI 2358.1.
  8. In the event of an accident, when time allows, fill out an accident report describing the event in detail.
  9. Read all labels carefully--the names of many chemicals look alike at first glance.
  10. Do not operate electrical equipment with wet hands.
  11. Have appropriate types and sizes of fire extinguishers. Triclass ABC and Halon fire extinguishers are appropriate for laboratories. Carbon Dioxide fire extinguishers are inappropriate for laboratories. A Class D fire extinguisher should be available when working with flammable solids. Fire extinguishers should be inspected every twelve months and checked every month.
  12. Do not block fire exits.
  13. Have an alternative evacuation route in the event your primary route becomes blocked.
  14. Practice your emergency plans.
  15. Do not drink from lab glassware or other lab vessels.
  16. No food in the laboratory. Do not eat, drink or chew gum in the laboratory.
  17. Do not apply cosmetics in areas where laboratory chemicals are present.
  18. Keep all aisles clear.
  19. Do not run in the laboratory.
  20. No unlabeled products should be stored anywhere in the science facility.
  21. Be thoroughly familiar with the hazards and precautions for protection before using any chemical. Study the precautionary label and review its contents before using any chemical substance.
  22. An approved eyewash station and fire blanket should be within 25 feet of the chemical storage area.
  23. Neutralizing chemicals, such as a spill kit, dry sand, kitty litter, and other spill control materials should be readily available.
  24. Dispose of all chemicals properly. All disposal procedures used should conform to state and local regulations.
  25. Safety showers or body drenches should be provided. Showers should be tested every six months. Promptly repair any shower or body drench which does not meet the water flow requirements of ANSIZ358.1.
  26. Access to exits, emergency equipment and master utility controls should never be blocked.
  27. All accidents or near accidents (close calls) should be carefully analyzed with the results distributed to all who might benefit.
  28. Never pipe by mouth.
  29. Avoid the use of contact lenses in the laboratory. If contact lenses must be worn, the science teacher must be informed so special precautions can be taken.
  30. Never perform unauthorized laboratory experiments.
  1. Personal Hygiene Guidelines
  1. Do not apply cosmetics or smoke, eat, chew, or drink in the laboratory.
  2. Do not pipe by mouth--always use a pipe bulb or other appropriate suction device.
  3. Wash thoroughly after any chemical exposure or before leaving the laboratory.
  4. Never smell chemicals directly; always waft the odors to your nose using your hand.
  5. Never bring foodstuffs, opened or closed, into the lab, chemical prep or storage area. Foodstuffs

should not be eaten in a room with toxic materials.

D) Protective Clothing Requirements

  1. Eye protection must be worn. Chemical splash goggles must meet ANSIZ87.1 Standard. Wear face shields when dealing with corrosive liquids (i.e.: full strength acids and bases).
  2. Wear gloves which offer protection for all hazards you may find in the lab. Test for holes every time you wear your gloves.
  3. Always wear a full length lab coat or a chemical-resistant apron.
  4. Wear low healed shoes. Do not wear open-toed shoes or sandals of any kind. Always wear socks in the laboratory.
  5. Wear a respirator with the appropriate cartridge if you feel you might exceed permissible exposure limits as specified in the MSDS.
  6. Never block access to emergency exits or equipment.
  7. Clean up all spills properly and promptly.
  8. Do not wear shorts--wear long pants
  9. Do not wear loose or balloon sleeves.
  10. Tie back long hair.
  11. Do not wear contact lenses--goggles fit over eyeglasses.
  12. Do not wear hanging jewelry.
  13. Do not wear a long or loose necktie.
  14. Do not wear an absorbent watch strap.
  15. Inspect all protective safety equipment before use. If defective, do not use.

E) Housekeeping Rules

  1. Keep chemicals in the chemical prep and storage area. If chemicals are moved to the classroom from the lab, they must be returned to their proper storage location at the end of the day's laboratory periods.
  2. Waste materials require proper containers and labels.
  3. Do not store items in the fume hood. The storage of items in the fume hood is a fire hazard and decreases the efficiency of the fume hood.
  4. Label all chemicals with names and hazards, even solutions.
  5. Never block access to exits or emergency equipment.
  6. Clean up all spills properly and promptly.
  7. Work and floor surfaces should be cleaned regularly and kept free of clutter.

F) Spill and Accident Procedures

  1. Notify--Call for help. Evacuate--Get everyone to a safe location. Assemble--Organize the students and all workers. Report--Fill out a detailed accident report after the emergency is over.
  2. Clean up spills immediately and thoroughly. Follow approved spill clean up procedures. Spills should only be cleaned up by approved personnel.
  3. A bucket of dry sand should be available as a Class D fire extinguisher and to aid in providing traction on a slippery floor.
  4. Neutralizer for both acid and base spills should be available in the event of a chemical spill.
  5. Never attempt to clean up a spill unless you have been trained to do so, and have all the appropriate equipment and materials.
  6. Document any spills to be cleaned up. Contact the Safety Officer at 797-7054.

G) Chemical Storage Rules and Procedures

  1. Keep an updated inventory of all chemicals, their amounts and location. Stored chemicals should be examined annually for replacement, deterioration and chemical integrity. Your entire Chemical Hygiene Plan is based on the proper updated inventory always being available.
  2. Label all chemical solutions you make with the identity of the contents, date, concentration, hazard information and your name.
  3. Label all chemicals with the purchase date. This will allow anyone to determine the age of a substance.
  4. Establish a separate and secure storage area for chemicals.
  5. Do not allow incoming shipments of chemicals to be opened and transported by school personnel other than qualified science teachers. The special and expensive shipping containers used are frequently discarded and would prove valuable for chemical storage.
  6. All chemicals should be stored in chemically compatible families (see Flinn Chemical Catalog Reference Manual for details).
  7. Store the minimum amount of chemicals needed.
  8. Store corrosives in appropriate corrosives cabinets.
  9. Non flammable materials should be stored outside an approved flammables storage cabinet unless in safety cans.
  10. Do not store chemicals under a fume hood.
  11. If possible, keep certain items in the original shipping package (e.g.: acids and bases in the special
  12. and expensive styrofoam cubes).

  13. Avoid storing chemicals on shelves above eye level.
  14. The storage area and cabinets should be labeled as to identify the hazardous nature of the products being stored. This will allow fire department officials to quickly see a potentially hazardous area.
  15. Shelving above any work area, such as a sink, should be free of chemicals or other loose miscellany.
  16. Shelving sections should be secured to walls or floor to prevent tipping of entire sections.
  17. Shelves should be equipped with lips to prevent containers from rolling off.
  18. Chemicals should not be stored on the floor except in approved shipping containers.
  19. Storage area should be ventilated by at least four changes of air per hour. Isolate the chemical storage exhaust from the general building ventilation system.
  20. Never store food in a laboratory refrigerator.
  21. Store chemicals in a separate, locked, dedicated storeroom.
  22. Store all poisons in a locked cabinet.
  23. Only authorized personnel are allowed in the chemical storage area. Students should never be allowed in this area.
  24. Chemical exposure to heat or direct sunlight should be avoided.

Storage Requirement--Compressed Gas Handling Instructions

  1. Compressed gases should be handled as high energy sources and, therefore, as potential explosives.
  2. Always protect the cylinder valve stem.
  3. Avoid exposure of cylinders to heat. Do not store gas cylinders in direct sunlight.
  4. Never lubricate, modify, force or tamper with a cylinder valve.
  5. Cylinders of toxic, flammable or reactive gases should be used only under a fume hood.

  7. Do not extinguish a flame involving a combustible gas until the gas is shut off--otherwise it can re-ignite, possibly causing an explosion.
  8. Gas cylinders must be secured in place. They must be protected to prevent valve damage which may be caused by falling.
  9. Shut off all master shut-off valves whenever leaving the classroom.

Storage Requirements-Flammable Chemicals Handling Instructions

  1. Store all flammables in a dedicated flammables cabinet.
  2. Keep cool, between 55F and 80F, at all times.
  3. Store away from all sources of ignition.
  4. Store away from all oxidizers.
  5. Never store flammables in refrigerators unless the refrigerator is explosion proof.
  6. Avoid storing any chemicals especially flammable materials in direct sunlight.

Storage Requirement--Corrosive Materials Handling Instructions

  1. Store corrosives in appropriate corrosives cabinets.
  2. If possible, keep certain items in the original shipping package (e.g., acids and bases in the special and expensive Styrofoam cubes).
  3. Working with corrosive materials requires special eyewear. Wear a chemical splash face shield when handling corrosive materials.
  4. At least every three months inspect all shelf clips in your acid cabinet to check for possible corrosion. These shelf clips are the only thing between you and a collapsed shelf. They require special attention.

H) Procedure Specific Safety Rules and Guidelines (for extremely hazardous chemicals)

  1. Use a fume hood when the permissible exposure limit for a chemical is less than 50 PPM as indicated on the chemical MSDS.
  2. Do not use carcinogens, mutagens, teratogens and allergens in High School or Middle School Science Labs.
  3. Handle toxic, corrosive, flammable and noxious chemicals under a fume hood.
  4. Do not expose flammable liquids to open flame, sparks, heat or any source of ignition.
  5. Do not use flammable solids (sodium, potassium, lithium, etc.) in High School or Middle School Science Labs.

  7. Water-reactive solids (sodium metal, potassium metal, etc.) should not be stored in High School or Middle School Science Labs.
  8. Use extreme caution when handling finely divided (dust-like) material. Finely divided materials may form explosive mixtures with air.
  9. Open cans of ether (ethyl ether) should not be stored or used in High School or Middle School Science Labs.

I) Prior Approval Procedures

There may be some procedures which require prior approval before an instructor attempts to perform them. These procedures must be determined by cooperation and communication between the Science Department and the Chemical Hygiene Officer.

J) Safety Equipment Inspection

There are many safety items necessary for compliance to the Laboratory Standard. They include but are not limited to:

    1. Eyewashes.
    2. Fire extinguishers.
    3. Goggles.
    4. Respirators.

One of the most important sections of the Laboratory Standard states that all safety equipment in the facility must always be in good operating condition. While the Laboratory Standard requires some safety equipment and highly recommends other equipment, the standard is very clear on the point that if you have a piece of safety equipment, it must be functional at all times. This statement applies to all safety equipment, required or recommended.

    1. Goggles must always be clean and functional.
    2. Laboratory ventilation must meet the standard of eight air changes per hour and must be tested quarterly.
    3. A respirator must be fit tested and the appropriate cartridges must be available.
    4. Fire extinguishers must be of the right type, Triclass ABC, and they must always be properly inspected.
    5. Eyewashes must be functional and flushed at least once a month.
    6. Fume hoods must be operational at the level of 70-100 linear feet per minute as measured by a velometer.

All of the above items and all safety equipment must be inspected every three months at the minimum. Any safety equipment failing this quarterly inspection or reported to be out of order at any time must be repaired immediately. Any safety equipment found to be out of order is a serious violation of the Laboratory Standard.

II. Employee Training

The Hernando County School Board provides ongoing training sessions for our employees. Our training includes:

    1. Content and location of this Chemical Hygiene Plan and The Laboratory Standard.
    2. Potential hazards involved in using chemicals.
    3. Signs and symptoms of overexposure to chemicals. How to detect potentially harmful exposures before they are harmful.
    4. Location and availability of chemical Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS).
    5. Understanding of the permissible exposure limits (PELs) used in the school.
    6. The proper use and location of all safety equipment.

III. Exposure Evaluation

It is the communicated policy of the Hernando County School Board to investigate all suspected overexposures to chemicals in a prompt and timely fashion.

In the event of an overexposure, after the immediate event, we must document all chemicals and circumstances involved in the overexposure. This information should be used to change safety practices to further improve lab safety. It is our obligation to maintain these files and make them accessible to the employees.

Signs of overexposure are numerous. They include:

    1. Accidental breakage of a hazardous material container.
    2. A skin rash or irritation occurring because of contact with a chemical.
    3. Caustic splash to eyes, face or body.
    4. Symptoms such as nausea, dizziness and others.

If monitoring of the air is determined to be necessary, the results of the monitoring must be made available to the employees within 2 weeks.



IV. Medical Evaluations

It is the policy of the Hernando County School Board to make medical consultation and examination available to our employees when:

    1. Any sign or symptom of an overexposure to a chemical is present.
    2. Monitoring has indicated an overexposure to a chemical has occurred.
    3. There has been a spill or uncontrolled release of chemical fumes.

We will provide the physician with the names of the chemicals used, circumstances of the exposure and all signs and symptoms of the exposure.

The medical examinations dealing with the overexposure must be documented and other employees working under the same conditions must be notified. All documentation must be kept on file and accessible by other employees working in this area.

All medical examinations and consultations shall be performed by or under the direct supervision of a licensed physician and shall be provided without cost to the employee and without loss of pay.

V. Monitoring

Monitoring will be necessary for substances regulated by a standard only if there is reason to believe that exposure levels for that substance routinely exceed the PEL for that substance. If you have no cause to suspect a hazard or an exposure, no monitoring is necessary.

If monitoring is performed and this initial monitoring shows no evidence of exposure, the monitoring may be discontinued. If initial monitoring indicates an exposure, steps must be taken immediately to reduce the exposure to permissible limits. Monitoring must then be performed periodically to verify the steps to reduce the exposure have been effective. Monitoring may be terminated after complying with the applicable

standard for the hazardous material.

All monitoring results and activities shall be fully accessible and in full knowledge of the employee(s).

VI. Emergency Evacuation Plan

Establish a chain of communication. John tells Sally, Sally tells Bill, Bill notifies the office, the office notifies the fire department, etc. Remember, notify before proceeding to handle the incident. It is often better to notify someone else than to proceed in addressing the problem at hand by yourself. Evacuation may or may not be necessary depending on the incident. Once it has been determined evacuation is necessary, proceed in an orderly fashion as you would in a fire drill evacuation. Send everyone to a predesignated area and then count heads to make sure everyone is out of the building.

Proper evacuation procedures must be thoroughly planned, detailed in writing, and properly communicated in advance. In case of an emergency, you will not have time to determine "What do I do next?". This evacuation plan will be part of the Chemical Hygiene Plan.

(School Name) Emergency Evacuation Plan



For years you have wanted to clean up and organize your chemical storage area, but it's such a huge job, where do you begin? Our seven step plan will give the direction and guidance you need to get this job done safely, quickly and efficiently.

Before beginning, some ground rules need to be established:

    1. Teachers cleaning up the chemical storage area should do so in teams. This work should never be done alone. Students should never be involved.
    2. Teachers doing this work should be from the school where the work is being done. The best time to do this type of work is immediately after school gets out in the spring.


The most important step in cleaning up a chemical storage area is taking an accurate and complete inventory of every chemical in each chemical storage area, laboratory and classroom. Without a complete inventory you will not be able to proceed to step #2. Don't forget to check closets and drawers.

Critical information will be needed from your inventory. Most particularly, you will want to know: 1) the name of the chemical, 2) its shelf location, 3) the approximate amount of chemical estimated to be in each container. The shelf location of each chemical is important because it's likely the same chemical will be found in several locations. Shelf location information will help you track down and consolidate these chemicals.


It is fair to say that 40% of the chemicals you have in your chemical storage area have not been used in the last five years and probably won't be used in the next five years. Now is the time to decide which chemicals are really used. Once the inventory is completed, review your laboratory manuals, textbooks, demonstrations and science fair projects and decide which chemicals you don't use.

As you review your inventory, you may discover an excessive amount of some chemicals. Calculate what quantities of these chemicals you use every year and then decide to keep no more than a two to five year supply. Determining how much chemical to keep will be influenced by two factors: the chemical shelf life and the hazardous nature of the chemical. The poorer the shelf life or the more hazardous the chemical the less you will want to keep on hand. If the chemical is not hazardous and has an indefinite shelf life, keep a four to five year supply. However, if the chemical is hazardous and the shelf life is poor, keep only a one year supply on hand. Look carefully at each bottle, try to determine which bottle looks the freshest or has the best shelf life and only keep the amount you really think you need.


You now know which chemicals you use, which chemicals you want to keep, and which chemicals you would like to get rid of. Let's now physically move all of the chemicals in the chemical storage area out into the laboratory area onto the lab benches. (The laboratory next to the chemical storage area works best). The right side of the laboratory will become an area for those chemicals which you either no longer use, or have in excessive amounts and would like disposed.

The left side of the laboratory will be those chemicals you want to keep. It's important that only authorized people working on this project be allowed to enter this room. Administrators, maintenance people and others must not be allowed into this laboratory area unless they are accompanied by one of the teachers involved in the cleanup project. This laboratory should be locked when not in use.


There are certain chemicals found on school premises considered to be "devils". A "devil" is any chemical which has a severe hazard alert. Severely poisonous, severely toxic, severely flammable, severely corrosive, strong oxidizer, carcinogen, or strong stench are all characteristics which may qualify a chemical as a "devil". To practice "devil control" purchase some clear heavyweight baggies with twist ties, cat litter and a selection of clean empty quart and gallon paint cans. The first step in practicing "devil control" is to place each chemical container considered to be a "devil" into a clear baggie. Secure the baggie with a twist tie. Should the bottle break, the spill will be contained in the baggie.

Once the chemical bottle is in the baggie, spread a thin layer of cat litter in the bottom of a paint can, place the sealed baggie with the chemical container into the paint can and fill the remaining portion of the can with cat litter. Place the lid on the paint can and label the can clearly with the chemical name, chemical formula and hazard risk. Your "devil" chemical is now well protected! The metal paint can may be dropped, kicked, or even involved in a fire and the chemical container inside will not break. Should a leak occur, the cat litter will absorb the chemical and the spill will be contained inside the can. Devil chemicals can now be disposed of.

Most "devils" are not to be used in High School or Middle School Science Labs. You need to properly protect and then dispose of these chemicals. Bags and cans are a very effective, yet inexpensive way to protect these "devil" chemicals. If any devil chemicals are to be used in High School or Middle School Science Labs, you must receive the written, prior approval of the School District Safety Coordinator.



Now that the chemicals have been moved out of the chemical storage area and into the laboratory, you have an opportunity to make some improvements to the chemical storage area. First of all, give the room a good cleaning. Make sure the shelves are firmly attached to the wall and are in good condition. If the shelves are not in good condition, some type of repair or replacement should be made. Check the shelf clips carefully to make sure they are in good condition and not corroded. Put "lips" on the shelves to prevent bottle roll off. Inspect the rest of the chemical storage area. Do any other improvements need to be made?


Now that the "devil" chemicals have been bagged and canned, and the storage area has been improved, it's time to return the chemicals you want to keep back into the chemical storage area. Before these chemicals are moved back into the chemical storage area, you must decide how they are to be stored and organized. In the past, they may have been stored alphabetically. This is wrong! Chemicals should be stored and organized by compatible chemical families.

First, separate you chemicals into compatible families by dividing the chemicals into inorganic and organic families, then subdividing them further into their unique compatible chemicals families. For instance, oxidizers are broken into five different families. Nitrates are stored in Inorganic #3 except ammonium nitrate which is isolated. Chromates and permanganates are stored in Inorganic #8. Chlorates and perchlorates are stored in Inorganic #6, and nitric acid is stored separately in a dedicated acid cabinet.

Before the chemicals are moved back into the chemical storage area, it is very helpful to label each chemical bottle with the appropriate compatible chemical family storage number. It is also helpful to label each shelf with the compatible family number. Labeling both the chemical shelving and the chemical bottles with the appropriate Flinn compatible chemical family number will allow you to easily locate and return the chemicals to their appropriate storage location. Without this labeling, you'll soon find your chemical storage area in disarray.


Now that you chemicals have been properly bagged, canned, labeled and placed back into the chemical storage area using Flinn's Suggested Compatible Family Shelf Storage Patterns, your task is now complete...almost.

As you walk out of the chemical storage area feeling good about what you have accomplished, you soon realize you still have all of those chemicals that need to be disposed. What are your options for chemical disposal? Let's examine six chemical disposal options which have proven successful for many schools:

Option A:

Contact your state department of education. Many states have a state science supervisor who may be able to make suggestions or offer advice about existing programs. We maintain a current list of state science administrative personnel. Write or telephone for the name and address of your state contact.

Option B:

In many metropolitan areas, there are local sections of the American Chemical Society (ACS). Any area with a lot of chemical industry is likely to have a local ACS section. Contact these professionals. They may have some helpful insights.

Option C:

Have you shared your list of excess chemicals with other schools in your system or other neighboring schools? Assuming some of the chemicals involved are still useful, perhaps another school can use what you consider excess. However, be a good neighbor. Don't pass your "junk chemicals" to someone else. Be responsible! Those excess chemicals are your problem. Don't pass your problem to someone else.

Option D:

If your school is located near a college or university, that institution's chemistry department may be able to advise you about the disposal methods it employs. If the college has an established contract with a professional chemical disposal company, perhaps you could "piggyback" your chemicals with theirs and get them removed at one time. Offer to pay your fair share. You will want to prepare a complete list of the substances you consider excess. There is a chance the college itself may be able to use some of these materials. If the college can't help you, is there an industry in town which might use a professional chemical disposal company? If so, try to "piggyback" your chemicals with them.

Option E:

Do the disposal work yourself. If you elect this option, read the disposal procedures we have developed and published in our Flinn Chemical Catalog/Reference Manual. Thousands of science teachers have found the disposal procedures to be a viable option.

Option F:

If all of these avenues prove fruitless, you are left with only one option. Call the Safety Office to arrange a professional chemical disposal company to remove these chemicals. This is a very, very expensive option. Be sure to ask for references from such a commercial firm. Your liability does not end once these materials are removed, no matter how much you pay! There are reputable and reliable firms operating all over the USA. Just be careful in making your choice.

*We hope the seven step plan to clean up your chemical storage area has given you the direction and courage needed to improve the safety profile of your school. It's no small task to clean up a chemical storage area, but with a well defined plan and the support of your school administration this job can easily be done.