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Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: Handling and
Management of Chemical Hazards, Updated Version
The Committee on Prudent Practices in the Laboratory:
An Update; National Research Council

ISBN: 0-309-13865-5, 360 pages, 8.5 x 11, (2011)

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Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: Handling and Management of Chemical Hazards, Updated Version
http://www.nap.edu/catalog/12654.html
UPDATED VERSION
Committee on Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: An Update
Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology
Division on Earth and Life Studies
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, D.C.
www.nap.edu
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: Handling and Management of Chemical Hazards, Updated Version
http://www.nap.edu/catalog/12654.html
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS • 500 Fifth Street, N.W. • Washington, DC 20001
NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the
National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of
Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the
committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for
appropriate balance.
This study was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy under grant number DE-FG02-08ER15932;
the National Institutes of Health under contract number N01-OD-4-2139, TO #200; and the National
Science Foundation under grant number CHE-0740356. Additional support was received from Air
Products and Chemicals, Inc.; the American Chemical Society; E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company;
Eastman Chemical Company; the Howard Hughes Medical Institute; and PPG Industries.
Any opinions, fndings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of
the authors and do not necessarily refect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided
support for the project.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Prudent practices in the laboratory : handling and management of chemical hazards / Committee on
Prudent Practices in the Laboratory, Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology, Division on Earth
and Life Studies. — Updated ed.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN-13: 978-0-309-13864-2 (hardback)
ISBN-10: 0-309-13864-7 (hardback)
ISBN-13: 978-0-309-13865-9 (pdf)
ISBN-10: 0-309-13865-5 (pdf)
1. Hazardous substances. 2. Chemicals—Safety measures. 3. Hazardous wastes. I. National
Research Council (U.S.). Committee on Prudent Practices in the Laboratory.
T55.3.H3P78 2011
660’.2804—dc22
2010047731
Additional copies of this report are available from The National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W.,
Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan
area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu.
Copyright 2011 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Printed in the United States of America
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: Handling and Management of Chemical Hazards, Updated Version
http://www.nap.edu/catalog/12654.html
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonproft, self-perpetuating society of
distinguished scholars engaged in scientifc and engineering research, dedicated to the
furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the
authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate
that requires it to advise the federal government on scientifc and technical matters. Dr.
Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences.
The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the
National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is
autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the
National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The
National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting
national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achieve-
ments of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering.
The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to
secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of
policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibil-
ity given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser
to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care,
research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine.
The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916
to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes
of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance
with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal
operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy
of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientifc and
engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the
Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair,
respectively, of the National Research Council.
www.national-academies.org
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: Handling and Management of Chemical Hazards, Updated Version
http://www.nap.edu/catalog/12654.html
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: Handling and Management of Chemical Hazards, Updated Version
http://www.nap.edu/catalog/12654.html
COMMITTEE ON PRUDENT PRACTICES IN
THE LABORATORY: AN UPDATE
Co-Chairs
William F. Carroll, Jr., Occidental Chemical Corporation, Dallas, Texas
BarBara l. Foster, West Virginia University, Morgantown
MeMbers
W. emmett Barkley, Proven Practices, LLC, Bethesda, Maryland
susan H. Cook, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri
kennetH P. Fivizzani, Nalco Company, Naperville, Illinois
roBin izzo, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
kennetH a. JaCoBson, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
karen mauPins, Eli Lilly & Company Drug Discovery, Indianapolis, Indiana
kennetH moloy, E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, Wilmington, Delaware
randall B. ogle, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee
JoHn Palassis, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Cincinnati, Ohio
russell W. PHiFer, WC Environmental, LLC, West Chester, Pennsylvania
Peter a. reinHardt, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
levi t. tHomPson, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
leyte WinField, Spelman College, Atlanta, Georgia
NatioNal researCh CouNCil staff
dorotHy zolandz, Director
andreW CroWtHer, Postdoctoral Fellow
kevin kuHn, Mirzayan Fellow
katHryn HugHes, Responsible Staff Offcer
tina m. masCiangioli, Senior Program Offcer
kela masters, Senior Program Assistant (through October 2008)
JessiCa Pullen, Administrative Coordinator
sHeena siddiqui, Research Associate
sally stanField, Editor
lynelle vidale, Program Assistant
v
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: Handling and Management of Chemical Hazards, Updated Version
http://www.nap.edu/catalog/12654.html
BOARD ON CHEMICAL SCIENCES AND TECHNOLOGY
Co-chairs
ryan r. dirkx, Arkema Inc., King of Prussia, Pennsylvania
C. dale Poulter, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah
Members
zHenan Bao, Stanford University, Stanford, California
roBert g. Bergman, University of California, Berkeley, California
Henry e. Bryndza, E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, Wilmington, Delaware
emily Carter, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
PaBlo deBenedetti, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
mary Jane Hagenson, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LLC,
The Woodlands, Texas
Carol J. Henry, George Washington University School of Public Health and
Health Services, Washington, District of Columbia
Jill HruBy, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico
CHarles e. kolB, Aerodyne Research, Inc., Billerica, Massachusetts
JoseF miCHl, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado
mark a. ratner, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois
roBert e. roBerts, Institute for Defense Analyses, Washington, District of
Columbia
darlene J. solomon, Agilent Laboratories, Santa Clara, California
erik J. sorensen, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Jean tom, Bristol-Myers Squibb, New York, New York
William C. trogler, University of California, San Diego, California
david Walt, Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts
National Research Council Staff
dorotHy zolandz, Director
katHryn HugHes, Program Offcer
tina m. masCiangioli, Senior Program Offcer
eriCka m. mCgoWan, Program Offcer
amanda Cline, Administrative Assistant
sHeena siddiqui, Research Associate
raCHel yanCey, Program Assistant
vi
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: Handling and Management of Chemical Hazards, Updated Version
http://www.nap.edu/catalog/12654.html
Preface
In the early 1980s, the National Research Council (NRC) produced two major
reports on laboratory safety and laboratory waste disposal: Prudent Practices for
Handling Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories (1981) and Prudent Practices for Disposal
of Chemicals from Laboratories (1983). In 1995, the NRC’s Board on Chemical Sciences
and Technology updated, combined, and revised the earlier studies in producing
Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: Handling and Disposal of Chemicals. More than 10
years later, the Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology initiated an update
and revision of the 1995 edition of Prudent Practices.
In 2007, the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, and the
National Institutes of Health, with additional support from the American Chemi-
cal Society, Eastman Kodak Company, E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company,
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., and PPG
Industries, commissioned a study by NRC to “review and update the 1995 publi-
cation, Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: Handling and Disposal of Chemicals.” The
Committee on Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: An Update was charged to
• review and update the 1995 publication, Prudent Practices in the Laboratory:
Handling and Disposal of Chemicals;
• modify the existing content and add content as required to refect new felds
and developments that have occurred since the previous publication;
• emphasize the concept of a “culture of safety” and how that culture can be
established and nurtured;
• consider laboratory operations and the adverse impacts those operations
might have on the surrounding environment and community.
The Committee on Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: An Update was estab-
lished in June 2008. The frst meeting was held in August 2008, and two subsequent
meetings were held, one in October 2008 and the other in February 2009. All meet-
ings were held in Washington, D.C.
The original motivation for drafting Prudent Practices 1981 and Prudent Practices
1983 was to provide an authoritative reference on the handling and disposal of
chemicals at the laboratory level. These volumes not only served as a guide to
laboratory workers, but also offered prudent guidelines for the development of
regulatory policy by government agencies concerned with safety in the workplace
and protection of the environment.
Pertinent health-related parts of Prudent Practices 1981 are incorporated in a non-
mandatory section of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
Laboratory Standard (29 CFR § 1910.1450, “Occupational Exposure to Hazardous
Chemicals in Laboratories,” reprinted in this edition as Appendix A). OSHA’s
purpose was to provide guidance for developing and implementing its required
Chemical Hygiene Plan. Since their original publication in the early 1980s, these
reports have been distributed widely both nationally and internationally. In 1992,
the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry and the World Health
Organization published Chemical Safety Matters, a document based on Prudent
Practices 1981 and Prudent Practices 1983, for wide international use.
The next volume (Prudent Practices 1995) responded to societal and technical
developments that were driving signifcant change in the laboratory culture and
laboratory operations relative to safety, health, and environmental protection.
vii
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: Handling and Management of Chemical Hazards, Updated Version
http://www.nap.edu/catalog/12654.html
viii PREFACE
The major drivers for this new culture of laboratory safety included an increase in
regulations regarding laboratory practice, technical advances in hazard and risk
evaluation, and an improvement in the understanding of the elements necessary
for an effective culture of safety.
Building on this history, the updated (2011) edition of Prudent Practices in the
Laboratory also considers technical, regulatory, and societal changes that have
occurred since the last publication. As a refection of some of those changes, it
provides information on new topics, including
• emergency planning,
• laboratory security,
• handling of nanomaterials, and
• an expanded discussion of environment, health, and safety management
systems.
Throughout the development of this book, the committee engaged in discussions
with subject matter experts and industrial and academic researchers and teachers.
The goal of these discussions was to determine what the various constituencies
considered to be prudent practices for laboratory operations.
Public support for the laboratory use of chemicals depends on compliance with
regulatory laws, respect by organizations and individuals of the concerns of the
public, and the open acknowledgment and management of the risks to personnel
who work in laboratory environments. Addressing these issues is the joint respon-
sibility of everyone who handles or makes decisions about chemicals, from ship-
ping and receiving clerks to laboratory personnel and managers, environmental
health and safety staff, and institutional administrators.
The writers of the preface to the 1995 edition stated that, “This shared responsi-
bility is now a fact of laboratory work as inexorable as the properties of the chemi-
cals that are being handled,” and we restate that sentiment here. Organizations and
institutions must create environments where safe laboratory practice is standard
practice. Each individual infuences the “culture of safety” in the laboratory. All
of us should recognize that the safety of each of us depends on teamwork and
personal responsibility as well as the knowledge of chemistry. Faculty, research
advisors, and teachers should note that a vital component of chemical education
is teaching students how to identify the risks and hazards in a laboratory. Such
education serves scientists well in their ultimate careers in government, industry,
academe, and the health sciences.
The promotion of a “culture of safety” has come a long way since 1995; however,
in some ways, the “culture of chemistry” is still at odds with that of safety. Some
of us may have witnessed unsafe behavior or minor accidents, and yet, rather than
viewing these incidents with concern and as opportunities to modify practices and
behavior, we often have failed to act upon these “teachable moments.” Ironically,
however, we shudder when, even today, we hear of accidents—some fatal—that
might have been our near misses.
Rigorous practitioners argue that, in principle, all accidental injuries are prevent-
able if systems and attitudes are in place to prevent them. Even in these days of
technological advancements, tracking of near misses and adaptation of systems to
eradicate them is inconsistent across the enterprise. Within the research and teach-
ing communities, less rigorous practitioners seem to accept different safety toler-
ances for different environments. It is common during a discussion of laboratory
safety to hear the statement, “Industry is much stricter on safety than academia.
Things happen in academic research labs that would never be allowed where I
work.” This is often accompanied by a “when I was a student . . .” story. The path
to failure illustrated by this colloquy should be obvious and unacceptable. To fully
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: Handling and Management of Chemical Hazards, Updated Version
http://www.nap.edu/catalog/12654.html
PREFACE ix
implement a culture of safety, even with improved technology, everyone who is
associated with the laboratory must be mindful of maintaining a safe environment.
Prudent Practices (1995) has been used worldwide and has served as a leading
reference book for laboratory practice. The committee hopes that this new edition
of the book will expand upon that tradition, and that this edition will assist the
readers to provide a safe and healthy laboratory environment in which to teach,
learn, and conduct research.
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

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