Date: Mon, 29 Mar 2010 21:03:23 -0400
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From: List Moderator <ecgrants**At_Symbol_Here**UVM.EDU>
Subject: 5 RE: [DCHAS-L] Abbreviations

From: John Crawford McGregor <John.Mcgregor**At_Symbol_Here**>
Date: March 29, 2010 4:59:43 PM EDT
Subject: RE: [DCHAS-L] Abbreviations

If you are talking about labeling chemicals with abbreviations, you may want to reference this OSHA interpretation letter. ow_document?p_table=INTERPRETATIONS&p_id=23781




John Crawford McGregor
Director - Office of Regulatory Compliance
Northern Arizona University
Peterson Hall (Bld. 22) - Room 216
PO Box 4137
Flagstaff, AZ  86011-4137
(928) 523-7258  office 
(928) 523-1607  fax
(928) 220-1388  cell

From: "Russell Vernon" <russell.vernon**At_Symbol_Here**>
Date: March 29, 2010 5:08:23 PM EDT
Subject: RE: [DCHAS-L] Abbreviations

We allow/encourage it.
Here=E2=80=99 s an example from one of our labs:



Common Abbreviation Chemical Name Primary Hazard
ACN acetonitrile flammable
DCM dichloromethane toxic
DMF dimethylformamide flammable
EtOH ethanol flammable
THF tetrahydrofuran flammable
DMSO dimethylsulfoxide flammable, toxic
CHCL3 chloroform toxic
Et2O diethyl ether flammable
DIEA diisopropylethylamine flammable
IPA isopropyl alcohol flammable
MeOH methanol flammable
DIC diisopropylcarbodiimide toxic
Dbu diazabicycloundecene flammable

HBTU 1-hydroxybenzotriazoltetramethyluronium salt toxic
TRIS tris(hydroxymethyl)methylamine NA - buffer solution
Tricine N-tris(hydroxymethyl)methylglycine NA - buffer solution
HEPES 4-2-hydroxyethyl-1-piperazineethanesulfonic acid NA - buffer solution
MOPS 3-(N-morpholino)propanesulfonic acid NA - buffer solution
PIPES piperazine-N,N=E2=80=B2-bis(2-ethanesulfonic acid) NA - buffer solution
MES 2-(N-morpholino)ethanesulfonic acid NA - buffer solution
TAE Tris acetate EDTA buffer NA - buffer solution
TBE Tris borate EDTA buffer NA - buffer solution
EDTA ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid toxic
NaCl sodium chloride NA
KCl potassium chloride NA
XnHmPO4 phosphate buffer (x=Na sodium or K potassium) NA - buffer solution

NaOH sodium hydroxide corrosive
HCl hydrochloric acid corrosive
H2SO4 sulfuric acid corrosive
KOH potassium hydroxide corrosive
TFA trifluoroacetic acid corrosive
Ac2O Acetic anhydride corrosive



Russell Vernon, Ph.D. 

(951) 827-5119

From: ILPI <info**At_Symbol_Here**>
Date: March 29, 2010 5:23:41 PM EDT
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Abbreviations

I see two specific issues here:

1.  First reponders. While some may be able to figure out THF or even DMF, I doubt many would know what TMSCl means.  And in an emergency, the SOP or decoder sheet may not be accessible or spotted.

2.  Succession.  We all know that despite our best-laid plans in academia, we often come across chemicals left behind by departed staff members.  Many of these may be cryptically labelled, and a researcher may have his own idea of what a "proper" designation is.  I have witnessed the fallout from this several times in my career - dangerous/inappropriate disposal of unknown chemicals and/or huge costs and efforts to identify unknowns.   You can not guarantee that the magic decoder ring suggested in your post will exist at some future point, or that the chemical will not migrate to another laboratory where there is no key abbreviation key. 

As far as the legality, 29 CFR 1910.1200, paragraph (f) "Labels and other forms of warning" requires under (f)(5) that labels in the workplace be labeled with the "identity of the hazardous chemicals contained therin", but does allow under (f)(6) that 

"The employer may use signs, placards, process sheets, batch tickets, operating procedures, or other such written materials in lieu of affixing labels to individual stationary process containers, as long as the alternative method identifies the containers to which it is applicable and conveys the information required by paragraph (f)(5) of this section to be on a label. The written materials shall be readily accessible to the employees in their work area throughout each work shift. "

See our hypertext version of the standard here; http:// or the original here: ls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=10099& p_text_version=FALSE

On a related note, it is allegedly "standard" abbreviations on MSDS's that confound a wide variety of people across a huge swath of professions.  I've been answering "what does this term on my MSDS mean" questions for over 10 years and I still get ones I never heard of.   Some of the more useless ones are collected here: s/ref/useless.html   This is one of the reasons that our MSDS HyperGlossary has grown to over 500 terms.

And, even with the magic of our MS-Demystifier, sds/ref/demystify.html  there are terms and abbreviations that will have different meanings to different people as Alan already pointed out.  Thinking of a broad audience, an example is "mole" - is that a spot on your skin, a concentration unit, a rodent, or a spy?  Thus, I tend to encourage and prefer everything being written out clearly, although I plead absolutely guilty to having labeled with abbreviations galore in my research career.

Best regards,

Rob Toreki

From: "Larry D. McLouth" <LDMclouth**At_Symbol_Here**>
Date: March 29, 2010 5:26:04 PM EDT
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Abbreviations

Hi Mary Ellen,

I presume you're talking about secondary containers to which chemicals are transfered from primary containers (i.e., the original bottle from the manufacturer). In labs, the approach you suggest is fine as long as people understand the meaning.  This is consistent with the OSHA Lab Standard (29CFR 1910.1450).  The Lab Standard has very little to say about labeling.

FYI - In other areas covered by HazCom Standard (29CFR 1910.1200) the name (the term OSHA uses is "chemical identity") on the container must match the name on the MSDS and the name you have in the "list" or chemical inventory.  In practical terms that generally means no abbreviations are allowed. The HazCom standard is more prescriptive than the Lab Standard.

Good luck


From: Rigel Lustwerk <rlustwerk**At_Symbol_Here**>
Date: March 29, 2010 5:43:09 PM EDT
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Abbreviations

Hi Mary Ellen,

We use abbreviations and have keys posted throughout the labs.  For many chemicals, especially in Biotech labs, the names of the chemicals are too long to fit on the small containers!  Also, many microbiologists would not recognize the actual chemical name--for example:  EGTA, EDTA, NAA, NADP, NMP, HEPES!  This also helps with labeling compliance--people will label if it is not too difficult and if there is not too much to write!

Rigel Lustwerk

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