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Spring Research Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) Update

Published April 1, 2022

It’s time once again for some spring reminders and updates from Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S).

  • EH&S has been working to support your lab safety efforts by creating a standard operating procedure (SOP) template and guidance document, which are available on the EH&S SOP landing page. Certainly feel free to utilize this template and guidance if you don’t already have a standard format in your lab or are looking to update your format.

    Additionally, EH&S has begun posting customizable example SOPs for some commonly used hazardous materials, with more coming soon. EH&S hopes this helps in your efforts to create effective lab-specific procedures and training.
  • Our biological waste disposal vendor has increased cost for transportation and disposal. On the School of Medicine Campus, rates were raised on February 1, 2022. The new rates are $14.15 per container of autoclaved waste and $34.81 per container of incinerated waste.
  • As a reminder, some chemicals can form explosive peroxides, which have caused multiple explosions at other institutions. Additionally, some chemicals (such as picric acid) may become unstable explosives when dry, and others (chloroform and formic acid) may produce toxic gases over time. To prevent injuries or property damage, and to avoid excessive disposal costs, please adhere to the Peroxide-Forming Chemicals Guidance and be sure to regularly check and test your peroxide-formers.
  • EH&S has noticed an increase in chemical exposures in recent months. In many cases, these exposures were preventable by following best practices. These include:
    • Using proper personal protective equipment (PPE) including a lab coat, gloves, and eye protection whenever handling chemicals. With warmer weather arriving in St. Louis, please remember also to wear clothing that does not leave skin below the waist exposed.
    • Using a fume hood for handling volatile, hazardous chemicals. The fume hood sash may also provide protection against splashing.
    • Know who to call in case of an emergency. For any chemical exposure, call Washington University Police Department at (314)-935-5555 from the Danforth Campus or Protective Services at (314)-362-4357 from the School of Medicine.

For more information about these topics, please contact EH&S at or (314)-362-6816.