----- Original Message -----From: Michael McCormickSent: Monday, August 10, 2009 11:31 AMSubject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Disposal of butyl lithiumDear Dona,
The law only prohibits the treatment/inactivation/neutralization etc. of chemical _waste_. A substance is not waste until it's declared to be waste. Therefore, the bottles of butyllithium solution in a lab are not waste, they are merely laboratory chemicals (just don't hang a waste label on them). As a laboratory chemical, these can be treated / quenched / deactivated / made less harmful _legally_. Once so treated, then declare the quenched stuff as "waste" and dispose of it via your normal route. At first blush, this may sound like semantics, but when you consider the practical ramifications, it actually makes common sense (to the extent EPA regulations can be common sense). This assumes that your state laws are like our and like most -- based on EPA regulation.
The end user (the lab or the researcher who purchased the chemical) should be sufficiently knowledgable to properly quench butyllithium. If they are not, then these people must be prevented from purchasing the material (and we must reexamine our educational system, but that's another thread). If these chemicals were orphaned by the departure of a grad student, post-doc, etc., then the management practices of the lab and/or the policies of your EHS office are bad.
Michael F. McCormickSenior LecturerDepartment of ChemistryEmory UniversityAtlanta GA 30322
voice 404/727-6531fax 404/727-6586
"Dona Lee Wong, Ph.D." <dona_wong**At_Symbol_Here**HMS.HARVARD.EDU&g t; on August 10, 2009 at 10:29 AM -0400 wrote:Responses from users in MA and other states not permitting treatment ofhazardous chemicals to inactivate prior to disposal of particular interest
One of our chemistry labs has butyl lithium that they no longer use andare trying to safely dispose of. Massachusetts state law does notpermit any treatment of hazardous chemicals to inactivate prior to "safedisposal". Our normal process is to transfer any hazardous chemicals toan isolated and dedicated room. We have a contract with a localcompany, skilled in hazardous materials, and trained personnel from thatcompany then remove the chemical waste. The PI feels that moving thebutyl lithium to the waste facility would be more, rather than less,dangerous and has requested that we have the butyl lithium removeddirectly from their laboratory. The latter, of course, is expensive andthe hazardous waste company suggests that if the butyl lithium is stillstored as received and should be stored in water-free hexane, then itcan be brought down to the holding facility.
Any experience or recommendations?
Dona Lee Wong, Ph.D.Associate Professor, Department of PsychiatryHarvard Medical SchoolDirector, Laboratory of Molecular and Developmental NeurobiologyMcLean Hospital115 Mill Street, MRC #116Belmont, MA 02478Tel: 617-855-2042FAX: 617-855-2058e-mail: dona_wong**At_Symbol_Here**hms.harvard.edu
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