Date: Wed, 31 May 2006 14:52:42 -0400
Reply-To: Ralph Stuart <rstuart**At_Symbol_Here**>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: Ralph Stuart <rstuart**At_Symbol_Here**>
Subject: EPA Definition of Labs
Comments: cc: Todd Houts ,
Russ Phifer , Robert Rich ,
James Harless ,
Robert Alaimo ,
Peter Reinhardt ,
Erik Talley ,
Kathryn Benedict ,
Bill Beranek ,
Jeff Brown

I'm beginning to get through the EPA proposed rule for academic lab  
waste and notice two the key questions involving the definition of labs.

1. EPA would like comment on whether the rule should be limited to  
academic labs. Specifically:

In addition, EPA is seeking comment on whether to expand the scope
of this alternative set of regulations to include other laboratories
outside of colleges and universities that have similar hazardous waste
generation patterns. For example, this could include government and
private laboratories that generate large numbers of different waste
streams, each in relatively small quantities that are stored and used
in containers that can be easily manipulated by one person. Such an
expansion in scope would not include production scale manufacturing
laboratories, as they do not have the similar production patterns and
unique circumstances that this rulemaking is intended to address. EPA
is particularly interested in comments that provide data showing
similarities or differences between college and university laboratories
and laboratories at other institutions, with regard to hazardous waste
generation patterns and challenges. Additionally, EPA seeks comments on
whether such an expansion of scope might lead to unintended, adverse
consequences for human health or the environment.

The reason for this seems to be that EPA feels comfortable that it  
has a long history of working with academic labs but has less of a  
history of working with labs in other sectors.

Personally, it's not clear to me why labs that meet the OSHA  
definition in the lab standard would be different in industry as  
opposed to academia. I wonder if anyone on the list has seen or  
experienced a large different in the style of labs between the two  
sectors that would suggest that a management plan approach to lab  
waste in industry would be less successful than in academia? I also  
wonder if anyone has suggestions about what kind of data would  
demonstrate the similarity or differences between academic and  
industrial labs?

2. The preamble to the rule says that the lab definition is  
specifically meant to include art studios, while excluding photo  
processing areas. The definition currently is:
Laboratory means an area within a college or university where
relatively small quantities of chemicals and other substances are used
on a non-production basis for teaching or research purposes and are
stored and used in containers that are easily manipulated by one
person. An area where the same hazardous waste is routinely generated,
such as photo processing, is not a laboratory.

At UVM, we have many darkrooms interspersed among our labs and art  
studios and the implication of this statement is that we would have  
to have two separate systems side by side in the same building, which  
seems cumbersome at best. Do other campuses have similar concerns?

It seems to me that both issues could be resolved by simply sticking  
to the OSHA definition of labs in delimiting the Universe of this rule.

Thanks for any suggestions.

- Ralph

Ralph Stuart, CIH
Environmental Safety Manager
University of Vermont
Environmental Safety Facility
667 Spear St. Burlington, VT  05405

fax: (802)656-5407

Previous post   |  Top of Page   |   Next post

The content of this page reflects the personal opinion(s) of the author(s) only, not the American Chemical Society, ILPI, Safety Emporium, or any other party. Use of any information on this page is at the reader's own risk. Unauthorized reproduction of these materials is prohibited. Send questions/comments about the archive to
The maintenance and hosting of the DCHAS-L archive is provided through the generous support of Safety Emporium.