SECTION 1 - Policy and Responsibilities


It is the policy of Oregon State University to maintain, insofar as is reasonably within the control of the university, an environment that will not adversely affect:

  1. The health, safety, and well-being of students, staff, visitors, and neighboring human populations; and
  2. The animals maintained on the campus of the university or in the contiguous area.

All research and teaching activities involving the use of chemical carcinogens, as defined in this manual, in facilities controlled by Oregon State University, shall be conducted in compliance with OSHA regulations, with granting agency guidelines, with the provisions of this manual, and as approved by the Chemical Safety Committee.

Control of Chemical Carcinogen Use

The purpose of the Chemical Carcinogen Safety Program is to

  • Establish procedures and criteria for physical facilities to protect against occupationally acquired cancers and for protection of the general environment; and
  • Contain all known or suspected chemical carcinogens within prescribed limits in accordance with nationally recognized safe standards of operation.

Program components to reach this goal:

  • Identifying all users of chemical carcinogens on campus.
  • Defining acceptable levels of exposure, as those permitted by federal and state regulations or recommended by authoritative sources such as the National Toxicology Program (NTP) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).
  • Limiting projects and activities involving the use of chemical carcinogens to those authorized by the provisions of this manual.
  • Developing and approving specific procedures for the use of chemical carcinogens to limit the exposure of, and the degree of hazard to, personnel and the environment.
  • Identifying and categorizing chemicals where carcinogenic potential has recently been determined.

Chemical Carcinogen Manual

This Chemical Carcinogen Manual is intended to provide a system for assuring safety in the use of known or suspected chemical carcinogens. It is to be accessible in those campus facilities in which chemical carcinogens are stored or used. All campus personnel working with chemical carcinogens are required to have an understanding of the contents of the manual.

Categories of Chemical Carcinogens

The hazard categorization scheme is intended to reflect the net potential hazard associated with the conditions for use of each carcinogen. Specifically, it considers not only the apparent biological potency of a compound, but the total quantity or concentration in use. For instance, dilution of an EXTREME hazard carcinogen may reduce its hazard to the HIGH category. Classifications are listed in the Guide for Chemical Carcinogen Classification (Appendix 2). Ranking of chemicals by OSHA, the US NTP, and IARC are the primary basis for listing.

EXTREME Hazard Carcinogens

  1. Chemicals regulated by law.
  2. Chemicals not regulated by law but considered to be highly hazardous by the Chemical Safety Committee.

HIGH Hazard Carcinogens

  1. EXTREME carcinogens diluted to defined concentration ranges. Chemicals identified in IARC or NTP guidelines which do not exceed the hazardous category in any concentration.
  2. Other chemicals when used in research and teaching activities that could, on the basis of new information, require the restrictions listed for this category.

MODERATE Hazard Carcinogens

  • Those chemicals that, when used in research and teaching activities, pose risks for users and therefore require special training and handling.

OSU Guide for Chemical Carcinogen Classification

Regulations and scientific evidence pertaining to the carcinogenic properties of chemicals change frequently. A categorized listing can be found in Appendix 2 . EH&S, in consultation with the University Chemical Safety Committee, will post an updated list when necessary.


Project Leader and/or Laboratory Supervisor. Each person in charge of a research project, teaching laboratory, or other activity using chemical carcinogens will be responsible for:

  1. Development of written protocols to assure the safe use of these agents.
  2. Completion of an application/registration form for the use of all EXTREME and HIGH hazard carcinogens (Appendix 1).
  3. Completion of Chemical Agent Use in Animals form when required.
  4. Obtaining the department chairperson's approval of the project.
  5. Strict compliance with the authorized protocol and the requirements of this manual.
  6. Training of employees regarding the nature of the hazards involved, safety practices, and the correction of procedures and conditions that may result in exposure and possible injury.
  7. Maintenance of required records and inventory as defined in this manual.

Department Chairperson. The department chairperson is responsible for:

  1. Protecting the health and safety of departmental employees, visitors, and students.
  2. Approving all protocols and purchase orders for research or teaching involving EXTREME carcinogens in the department.
  3. Providing the Chemical Safety Committee, through EH&S, with copies of all protocols and/or forms requiring departmental approval.
  4. Providing EH&S with copies of all purchase orders of EXTREME carcinogens for inventory records.

Environmental Health & Safety. EH&S will:

  1. Forward the protocols prepared by the project leader for work involving chemical carcinogens to the Chemical Safety Committee.
  2. Provide consultation, upon request, in the development of protocols.
  3. Maintain the following records:
    1. Copies of Application/Registration for Use of Chemical Carcinogens.
    2. The names and employee ID numbers of personnel authorized to work with these materials.
    3. Electronic inventory of carciongens based on PI input.
  4. Investigate all accidents which could or did result in the exposure of personnel to chemical carcinogens.
  5. Periodically inspect, as defined in Section 5, all EXTREME and HIGH chemical carcinogen work areas, and notify the principal researcher and the department chairperson of the results.
  6. Issue periodic updates of classification of chemical carcinogens.

Campus Veterinarian. The campus veterinarian shall be responsible for reviewing all procedures involving animal experiments with EXTREME and HIGH carcinogens.

Chemical Safety Committee. The Chemical Safety Committee is responsible to:

  1. Approve or reject all applications and protocols for the use of EXTREME carcinogens.
  2. Review protocols for the use of HIGH and MODERATE chemical carcinogens when requested by the principal investigator.
  3. Determine appropriate hazards categorization of newly identified chemical carcinogens.
  4. Instruct EH&S to initiate revision or termination of projects when, in the opinion of the committee, a project entails an unacceptable risk to the health and safety of the personnel involved.
  5. Participate in periodic inspections of projects involving the use of chemical carcinogens.