tion of hazardous waste. Detail of the many requirements for transporting hazardous waste is beyond the scope of this book.

11.E.2 Management of Radioactive and Biohazardous Waste

Disposal of low-level radioactive waste from laboratories is governed by USNRC rules in Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Parts 20 and 30, as well as conditions specified in institutional licenses. Short-half-life radwaste is typically held for decay in storage, and then disposed of without regard to its radioactivity.

Federal laws that regulate laboratory biohazardous and infectious waste are limited. Most important are the OSHA bloodborne pathogen standard, DOT rules for transporting biomedical waste, and EPA medical waste incineration rules. The OSHA bloodborne pathogen standard addresses the collection and management of needles, blades, and other sharps. Most states regulate the treatment and disposal of laboratory biohazardous waste; consult your state laws for specific requirements.

11.E.3 Discharges to the Sewer

Contact your local publicly owned treatment works (POTW) for rules on discharges to the sanitary sewer. Your POTW is the best source for information about limits and prohibitions for the discharge of laboratory wastewaters that contain chemicals, biologicals, or radioactive materials. Federal rules exist that pertain to the discharge of hazardous waste and radioactive materials, but those limits are usually incorporated in POTW ordinances.

11.E.4 Air Emissions from Laboratories

The Clean Air Act (CAA) regulates emissions into the air. Laboratories should be aware of the regulations that control stratospheric-ozone-depleting substances. The list of such substances can be found in 40 CFR Part 82, Appendixes A and B to Subpart A. The list includes as “Class I” substances most common freons, carbon tetrachloride, and methyl chloroform.

Under the CAA, EPA also sets national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants (NESHAPs). NESHAPs for radionuclides and sterilants have been established, and these may apply to some laboratories. EPA has not established emission standards for volatile organic compounds or other emissions from laboratory operations, nor has EPA established a special source category for research or laboratory facilities. However, some states have set emission limits that apply to laboratories, or require permits for laboratory hoods. Check with your state environmental agency to determine if there are Specific air emission requirements for your laboratory.


Shipping, export, and import laws strictly regulate the domestic and international transport of an extensive list of laboratory materials, including many chemicals, vaccines, genetic elements, microbiological agents, radioactive materials, and a wide array of research equipment, technologies, and supplies. Many items that are not perceived to be particularly hazardous, valuable, or uncommon are nevertheless subject to export control laws and shipping regulations. Export and import laws may require special licenses or permits prior to leaving or entering the United States.

Regulated activities include conveying laboratory materials via

   shipments and mailings using the U.S. Post Office and other mail couriers;

   receiving or sending regulated materials by any method of transport;

   shipments to (exporting) or from (importing) a foreign country;

   transporting any amount of regulated material in a commercial aircraft, whether on your person or in carry-on luggage or checked luggage.

The many laws for shipping laboratory materials are described below, including regulations from the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC), DOT, and EPA. Although these rules are described individually, please note that several regulations often apply to a single shipment.

In addition to these requirements, your institution may have entered into a Material Transfer Agreement, which controls any transfer of the research materials from your institution to another.

See Chapter 5, section 5.F for practical, nonlegal information about shipping laboratory materials.

11.F.1 General Shipping Regulations

Regulations on the transportation of hazardous materials are aimed at ensuring that the public and the workers in the transportation chain are protected from exposure to potentially hazardous materials being transported. Protection is achieved through the following requirements:

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