Date: Fri, 30 Oct 2009 16:05:50 -0400
Reply-To: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: James Saccardo <James.Saccardo**At_Symbol_Here**CSI.CUNY.EDU>
Subject: Re: Osmium tetroxide storage, use and disposal
In-Reply-To: <007c01ca5986$b3f22100$1bd66300$**At_Symbol_Here**com>

Be careful saying that OsO4 is not a h azardous waste – If it has not been used for its intended purpose, it is acutely hazardous (P087). Once it is been through a process, it may no longer carry the P-code (depends on what it was used, what else is in the mix), but it ma y exhibit characteristics of hazardous waste (OsO2 is oxidizing - D003). In fact, empty any empty container that was used to contain p-listed materials is p-coded waste by definition. Usin g a solvent to capable of removing the material can remove the code from the container, but the solvent used to wash it ma y p-coded.

Finally we put staining solutions cont ain excess OsO4 into vegetable oil before declaring a waste so as to reduce it to osmium dioxide and lab pack it. I don’t know if I agree, but they have been doing that since before I arrived here.

I am looking for an alternative proced ure to OsO4 and uranyl acetate preparations for biological samples under EM .

Thanks for the Os recycler. I wonder what a decent quantity is and d o they pay you a percentage of what is reclaimed?

Have a nice weekend,


James F. Saccardo, CHMM
Office of Environmental Health and Safety
The College of Staten Island
2800 Victory Blvd.
Staten Island, NY 10314


Office: (718) 982-3906
Fax: (718) 982-3910

From: DCHA S-L Discussion List [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU] On Behalf Of Russ Phifer
Sent: Friday, October 30, 20 09 1:31 PM
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Osmiu m tetroxide storage, use and disposal

Osmium tetroxide is sold pretty much exclusively in seale d vials, either as crystals or in a 4% solution.  It is primarily used as a fixative for electronic microscopy, in solution.  While extremely t oxic (by ingestion, inhalation, or skin contact), unused containers should not pose a storage problem as long as they are secured.  Store in a cool, dry, ventilated area.  It should always be used in a hood!  Disp osal is interesting, in that it is not theoretically regulated as a hazardous waste (you could look it up !).  The osmium itself is quite valuable and rare (only about 1000 lbs are produced annually, worldwide); it can be recycled to various suppliers and refiners .  However, once used, you need to know which buffers it was used with .  There are six possible buffers for EM use; the two most common are phosphates and cacodylic acid.  The phosphate buffer addition doesn& #8217;t make it hazardous, but cacodylic acid is an arsenic compound and the r esulting solution would be regulated as D005 EPA waste type.  Many cli nical facilities are not aware of this and don’t properly label and d escribe for disposal.  Check to see which buffers are being used by your EM lab.

Once facility that will accept osmium for recycling is Co lonial Metals, in Elkton, MD.  You need a decent quantity, however, to m ake it amenable for recycling.

Hope this helps….

Russ Phifer

Russ Phifer

WC Environmental, LLC

1085C Andrew Drive

West Chester, PA  193 80

610-696-9220x12/ fax 610-344-7519

< span style="font-family:Arial">rphifer**At_Symbol_Here**< /a>


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-----Original Message-----
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU] On Behalf Of Li st Moderator
Sent: Friday, October 30, 2009 12:02 PM
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Osmium tetroxide storage, use and disposal

From: "Rengarajan, Kalpana" <krengar**At_Symbol_Here**emory.e du>

Date: October 30, 2009 11:57:32 AM EDT< /font>

Subject: Osmium tetroxide storage, use and disposal< /o:p>

Does anyone have specific guidelines on Osmium tetroxide storage, use 

and disposal. Can you please share?

Thank you


Kalpana Rengarajan, Ph.D., RBP

Assistant Director, Biosafety Officer

Environmental Health and Safety Office< /font>

1762 Cli fton Road NE, Suite 1200

Atlanta, GA 30322

Phone: (404)727-8863

FAX: (404) 727-9778

You may visit for updated information.


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