Decontamination and Disposalof Chemical Carcinogens


  • Contaminated materials shall either be decontaminated by procedures that decompose the chemical carcinogen to produce a safe product or be removed for subsequent disposal.
  • Chemical carcinogens that have spilled out of a primary container so as to constitute a hazard shall be inactivated in-situ or shall be absorbed by appropriate means for subsequent disposal by authorized procedures.
  • A means for assuring adequacy of cleanup shall be employed, for instance, wipe tests or fluorescence tests.


  • All incidents involving contamination of personnel or spills of EXTREME and HIGH hazard carcinogens shall be reported immediately to EH&S during normal working hours. At all other times, contact Public Safety or call 911.


  • Residual carcinogens and solutions should be deactivated in the laboratory prior to disposal, when appropriate procedures are available which do not increase the hazard to research personnel or make the resultant solution more difficult and costly to dispose.
  • Acceptable procedures for various structural classes of carcinogens are available from EH&S.
  • Consult EH&S for further instructions and information, especially about appropriate techniques and what disposal challenges might result.

Facilities for Housing Animals Exposed to Chemical Carcinogens

  • Animals exposed to chemical carcinogens shall be housed in cages that confine feed, feces, urine, and bedding.
  • Rooms used for animal experiments shall be negative pressure with respect to non-research areas (hallways, etc.).

Nonvolatile Carcinogens

  • When nonvolatile carcinogens are used, a cage with solid sides and bottom in conjunction with a filter top, or equivalent equipment, will be used.

Volatile Carcinogens.

  • When volatile carcinogens are used, the cage must be used in conjunction with an approved exhaust ventilation system.

Alternative Facilities

  • Alternative facilities must be approved by EH&S prior to start of the project.

Physical Facilities

  • Carcinogen use rooms must be under negative pressure with respect to general access areas such as hallways and offices.
  • Procedures involving volatile chemical carcinogens and those involving solid or liquid chemical carcinogens that may result in the generation of aerosols are not to be conducted on the open bench; depending on the carcinogen category, they should be conducted in suitable containment equipment as described below.
  • Examples of aerosol producing procedures are: the opening of closed vessels; transfer operations; preparation of feed mixtures; blending; open vessel centrifugation; and the application, injection or intubation of a chemical carcinogen into experimental animals.
  • Use of ductless filtered devices for protection from volatile chemicals is not permitted.
  • Tissue culture and other biological procedures involving chemical carcinogens may be conducted in a Class II, type B Biological Safety Cabinet (see Section 5, Definitions). A Class II, type A Biological Safety Cabinet may also be used if the cabinet's exhaust air is discharged to the outdoors.
  • The principal investigator should obtain guidance from EH&S on the selection and use of a Class II Biological Safety Cabinet for procedures involving chemical carcinogens.
  • It is expected that for a majority of situations, certain EXTREME compounds will be used in forms or dilutions which would place them in the HIGH category.
  • Physical facilities for MODERATE chemical carcinogens may be standard chemical laboratories.

Personal Protection

All standard laboratory safety practices, such as the wearing of eye protection, shall be observed.

Prohibited Activities in Laboratories Where Carcinogens are Used

  • There shall be no eating, drinking, smoking, chewing of gum or tobacco, application of cosmetics, storage of food, or mouth pipetting in areas where chemical carcinogens are used.


  • Personnel involved in cleanup of leaks or spills, maintenance or repair of contaminated systems or equipment, or any operations involving work in an area where direct contact with a carcinogen could result shall:
    1. Dispose of or decontaminate protective garments.
    2. Be required to shower, including washing the hair.

Training Responsibilities Of Project Leaders.

Prior to working with chemical carcinogens, each employee shall receive training including, but not limited to:

  1. The nature of the hazards, including local and systemic toxicity.
  2. The specific nature of operations which could result in exposure.
  3. The purpose for, the nature of, the application of decontamination procedures.
  4. The employee's specific role in prescribed emergency procedures.
  5. Specific information to aid the employee in recognition and evaluation of conditions and situations which may result in the release of a carcinogen.
  6. The employee shall be trained in the prescribed emergency procedures and rehearsed in their application.

Supplementary Training.

  • The Chemical Safety Committee will be responsible for facilitating or coordinating periodic workshops and training sessions which cover current information, procedures and equipment available for the use of chemical carcinogens in laboratories.

Storage and labeling

  • Moderate carcinogens should be labeled with "Cancer suspect agent". Labels for other carcinogen classes are described elsewhere in this document.

Notification of EH&S

  • Emergencies and/or incidents that result in the release of a chemical carcinogen into any area where employees or others may be potentially exposed shall be reported immediately to EH&S during normal working hours or to Public Safety at other times.

Medical Surveillance

  • Special medical surveillance of potentially exposed employees present in the affected areas shall be carried out by the consulting physician within 24 hours.

Report of Incidents

  • EH&S is required to provide notification of all incidents associated with the use of regulated chemical carcinogens within 24 hours to the State Division of Occupational Safety and Health. This notification shall be followed by written reports within 15 days of their occurrence.

Chemical Inventory

  • Researchers are required to keep a current chemical inventory in OSU's web-accessible inventory system.