October 1993

Do you have to wear that badge?

Even though you work with a radioisotope you may not need to wear a badge to monitor radiation levels. Some isotopes have such low energy emissions that badge monitoring them is not effective. Below are some guidelines to help you decide if you do need to wear a badge and, if so, what kind.

If you work with: Badge
35S, 14C, 3H (tritium) none
32P, 51Cr, 125I body
32P, 51Cr, 125I (over 1 mCi) body, ring

X and/or gamma rays body

equipment that yields neutrons neutron 
If you are a pregnant woman for yourself body badge AND a body separate badge for fetus

The new law requires that all women wear a separate badge to monitor the fetus during the gestation period-from the time you notify the Radiation Safety Office in writing of your pregnancy to the time you leave the university.

Note that you do NOT need to wear any sort of badge if you work with 35S, 14C, or 3H (tritium). Though they are common, their use does not necessitate badge monitoring. Please call the Radiation Safety Office (x2906) if you have questions about whether you need to wear a badge or if the isotope with which you work is not listed above.

You can't take it with you: DOT regulations for transporting chemicals

The Federal Government, through the Department of Transportation (DOT), has issued an extremely stringent law (called HM 181) regulating shipping and/or transporting hazardous materials via highway, air, vessel, or railroad.

The regulation went into effect on October 1, 1993, and requires that all shipments of hazardous materials using a hired vehicle such as Federal Express or one's own vehicle be packaged, labeled and manifested in accordance with the new Federal requirements. In addition, the new law requires that drivers receive special certification and training. Failure to comply with the new law can result in severe penalties.

Before you ship or transport hazardous materials -- all chemicals or radioactives -- for any purpose (i.e., returning a chemical to a distributor, transferring chemicals to a new place of employment, sending a sample to another institution or test site, using your own car to transport a material) please contact the Department of Occupational and Environmental Safety (DOES-x2907) or Jim Pillar in the Department of Material Support (x2560) to determine the requirements which need to be met.


Fisher Scientific is imposing a recall on ethyl ether, some bottles of which may contain levels of peroxide above the release specification of 0.3 ppm.

The affected units are in bottles of 150ml and 1 liter quantities. They bear the catalogue numbers E136-150 and E136-1 and the lot numbers: 905772, 905778, 905790, 912843, 913432, 913819, 914018, 915663, 920052, 923072, 925549, 925550, 925548, 922858, and 922860.

All department heads have been sent a letter from our office containing more information and instructions for returning the bottles. If you have a bottle that falls under the recall, contact your department head or the Fisher Scientific contacts located on campus, Anita Reed or Bill Gudowicz (x2571). They will be able to give you information concerning pick-up and transportation of the ether, as well as credits and/or replacements.

If you leave; or, The Great Chemical Give-away 

Primary Investigators terminating research here at CWRU must make sure that all chemicals in their inventory are properly dispensed with. Researchers should notify the Department of Occupational and Environmental Safety (DOES) a few weeks before leaving and provide us with a current copy of your inventory. NONE of the chemicals can be left in your lab unaccounted for.

In dispensing with all chemicals, researchers can employ a combination of the following three options: transfer them to the new place of employment, transfer them to another PI, or arrange for disposal through DOES.

  1. Arrange for transfer through DOES to your new place of employment: if you have written approval from the place to which you are moving, you may take some of the chemicals on your inventory with you. Notify DOES of any chemicals you wish to transfer since new regulations instituted by the Department of Transportation (DOT) must be followed (See related article on p.5).
  2. Transfer them to another PI: which does not mean leaving them there for the next investigator. If other PI's can use and will accept some of the chemicals in your inventory, then simply let us know which chemicals, in what quantities, and to whom they are being transferred, and we will account for it on your inventory records. The PI to whom you are transferring chemicals must also submit to us the updated version of his/her inventory.
  3. Arrange for disposal through DOES: for any chemicals you or other researchers do not want or can no longer use. Note that you will be responsible for the disposal cost of any old chemicals. The university will accept and pay for the disposal of only "current" waste or chemicals under their overhead costing system. Under NO conditions will the university pay for the disposal of unknown, unidentified or unlabeled chemicals.

For the above reason we encourage researchers to dispose of unwanted chemicals as they occur-the cost of disposing so many at one time can be extremely expensive.

If you have any questions concerning the procedures listed here please call our office (x2907). Remember if you are planning to leave the university to call the office a few weeks beforehand to arrange for the distribution or disposal of your chemicals.

Cutting Down on Mercury Salts

If your research requires the use of mercury salts or organic-metallic salts containing mercury and you cannot find a suitable non-hazardous substitute, make sure you purchase only the exact quantity of these items needed. There are practically no disposal sites that continue to accept items with mercury in them.

Mercury is a highly toxic chemical whose poison is cumulative; that is, your body cannot rid itself of its toxins. Few landfills continue to accept this dangerous waste. These same disposal difficulties apply to mercury salts and compounds containing mercury- chemicals such as mercuric chloride, mercuric oxide, mercuric acetate, or mercurochrome.

Since these items are nearly impossible to dispose of, the Department of Occupational and Environmental Safety (DOES) urges you to find a substitute whenever you can and to only purchase exact amounts for experiments in which you cannot substitute. If you have questions concerning mercury or a mercury-substitute, call DOES at x2907.

Are You A New PI?

Any Primary Investigator new to CWRU should call the Department of Occupational and Environmental Safety (368-2907) to receive a copy of the CWRU Chemical Safety Manual and to find out when upcoming sessions of the OSHA Lab Standard Training Sessions will take place. Attendance at one of these sessions is required under OSHA standards. Also required is the creation of a Chemical Hygiene Plan-most labs have used the CWRU Chemical Safety Manual, written by DOES and available through our office, to put together their CHP.

We will post dates of upcoming sessions in next month's newsletter and thereafter as a new regular feature.