Date: Thu, 19 Jun 2008 15:31:53 -0400
Reply-To: William Crouse <CrouseW1**At_Symbol_Here**WYETH.COM>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: William Crouse <CrouseW1**At_Symbol_Here**WYETH.COM>
Subject: Re: Research chemicals of unknown toxicity
Comments: To: "Vernon, Russell"

You are correct in assuming that the material is toxic unless otherwise noted.  If this is not a novel compound and is commercially available, there should be a material safety data sheet available.   If you are able to ascertain the chemical structure, then you may be able to relate either the structure or functional grouping to the compound toxicity or whether it may be mutagenic or carcinogenic.  If you have access to a structure activity relationship computer program such as Multicase, you can compare the structure to a large library of compounds with defined toxicological endpoints.  You may also want to check the National Toxicology Program (NTP) listing of materials at

It is important for the researchers to work with the material within a chemical fume hood or other enclosure and to wear the appropriate personal protective equipment to prevent exposure.  Unless the LD50 is lower than 50 mg/kg and the material is not flammable or corrosive, then it would not be considered hazardous waste under RCRA or by DOT.  I recommend consulting with your waste vendor in order to profile the waste stream.

William E. Crouse, MS, CIH, CSP
Director, Environmental Health and Safety
Wyeth Research
641 Ridge Road
Chazy, NY 12921-2420

518-846-6350 (office)
518-846-6527 (fax)

>>> Russell Vernon  6/18/2008 1:24 PM >>>

Dear fellow ACS Div-CHAS members,

I'm looking for advice on what you tell your people about working with
chemicals of unknown toxicity.

In my current case, I have a researcher who will administer a compound
she is getting from a colleague at the EPA to mice. Some ata I have on
similar compounds show those chemical to be 'not very toxic' but I can
not find any information about this stuff.

I only half-jokingly suggested she obtain an MSDS from the EPA as they
are the supplier.

I'm inclined to tell them to treat the material as highly toxic and
collect the metabolites found in the mouse bedding/feces/urine and
handle as hazardous waste. At least until they have more information
about the hazards.

Do you agree? Do you have any particular guidance you would care to

Thanks in advance!

Russell Vernon, Ph.D. 
UC System-wide Field Safety Working Group Chair 
Laboratory / Research Safety Specialist, Integrated Waste Manager and
Interim Hazardous Materials Manager
Environmental Health & Safety 
University of California, Riverside 
900 University Ave. 
Riverside, CA 92521 
Direct: (951) 827-5119
Admin: (951) 827-5528
Fax: (951) 827-5122
Register now for the UCR Emergency Notification System!

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.