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When ordering chemicals follow a common sense approach to your purchases.

Estimate the amount of chemical required for each experiment and order only what is necessary. Older stocks should be used first. Excess chemicals are very expensive to dispose of and can create a hazard if stored too long. Please see the American Chemical Society document “Less is Better” for more information.

Understand the hazards associated with each chemical and plan appropriate protective measures. Safety Data Sheets can be found at FSU (M)SDS Online, through your chemical vendor, or consult other resources. Contact your supervisor or EH&S for information about safe handling and disposal of your chemicals.

Plan experiments with safety in mind. Substitute less hazardous chemicals in laboratory procedures whenever possible. Examples include substituting methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE) for diethyl ether or toluene for benzene. Utilize green chemical alternatives whenever possible.  A useful reference is the MIT Green Chemical Alternatives Purchasing Wizard that contains over 200 journal references and case studies to provide useful alternatives for some of the most common hazardous solvents and substances found in the laboratory.  Remember to purchase minimal amounts of chlorinated solvents. Minimize the use of mercury and replace mercury-containing devices with non-mercury options whenever possible.

Keep your chemical inventory and your laboratory hazards postings updated. Contact the Lab Safety Office at 644-0818 or 644-8916 to request an update to the lab posting. Submit updated chemical inventories to EH&S biennially. Chemical inventory templates are available on the EH&S website. Completed inventories may be e-mailed to

When your order arrives, inspect the packaging carefully for any signs of breakage or leakage of contents. If there are any signs of leakage, place package in a safe location, such as in an impervious and compatible secondary container within a chemical fume hood, protect personnel from exposure, and call EH&S for assistance.

Also you have the responsibility to report any, “Chemicals of Concern” in accordance with requirements of the Department of Homeland Security to EH&S when they are ordered.

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