substance is commonly used in laboratories. Preference was also given to materials that pose relatively serious hazards. Finally, an effort was made to select chemicals representing a variety of classes of substances, so as to provide models for the future development of additional LCSSs. A blank copy of the form is provided for development of laboratory-specific LCSSs.

4.B.5 Labels

Commercial suppliers are required by law (OSHA Hazard Communication Standard) to provide their chemicals in containers with precautionary labels. Labels usually present concise and nontechnical summaries of the principal hazards associated with their contents. Note that precautionary labels do not replace MSDSs and LCSSs as the primary sources of information for risk assessment in the laboratory. However, labels serve as valuable reminders of the key hazards associated with the substance. As with the MSDS, the quality of information presented on a label can be inconsistent. Additionally, labeling is not always required for chemicals transferred between laboratories within the same building.

4.B.6 Additional Sources of Information

The resources described above provide the foundation for risk assessment of chemicals in the laboratory. This section highlights the sources that should be consulted for additional information on specific harmful effects of chemical substances. Although MSDSs and LCSSs include information on toxic effects, in some situations laboratory personnel should seek additional more detailed information. This step is particularly important when laboratory personnel are planning to use chemicals that have a high degree of acute or chronic toxicity or when it is anticipated that work will be conducted with a particular toxic substance frequently or over an extended period of time. Institutional CHPs include the requirement for CHOs, who are capable of providing information on hazards and controls. CHOs can assist laboratory personnel in obtaining and interpreting hazard information and in ensuring the availability of training and information for all laboratory personnel.

Sections 4.B.2 and 4.B.4 of this chapter provide explicit guidelines on how laboratory personnel use the information in an MSDS or LCSS, respectively, to recognize when it is necessary to seek such additional information.

The following annotated list provides references on the hazardous properties of chemicals and which are useful for assessing risks in the laboratory.

1.   International Chemical Safety Cards from the International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS, 2009). The IPCS is a joint activity of the ILO, the United Nations Environment Programme, and the World Health Organization. The cards contain hazard and exposure information from recognized sources and undergo international peer review. They are designed to be understandable to employers and employees in factories, agriculture, industrial shops, and other areas, and can be considered complements to MSDSs. They are available in 18 languages and can be found online through the NIOSH Web site,, or through the ILO Web site,

2.   NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards (HHS/CDC/NIOSH, 2007). This volume is updated regularly and is found on the NIOSH Web site ( These charts are quick guides to chemical properties, reactivities, exposure routes and limits, and first-aid measures.

3.   A Comprehensive Guide to the Hazardous Properties of Chemical Substances, 3rd edition (Patnaik, 2007). This particularly valuable guide is written at a level appropriate for typical laboratory personnel. It covers more than 1,500 substances; sections in each entry include uses and exposure risk, physical properties, health hazards, exposure limits, fire and explosion hazards, and disposal or destruction. Entries are organized into chapters according to functional group classes, and each chapter begins with a general discussion of the properties and hazards of the class.

4.   2009 TLVs and BEIs: Based on the Documentation of the Threshold Limit Values for Chemical Substances and Physical Agents and Biological Exposure Indices (ACGIH, 2009). A handy booklet listing ACGIH threshold limit values (TLVs) and short-term exposure limits (STELs). These values are under continuous review, and this booklet is updated annually. The multivolume publication Documentation of the Threshold Limit Values and Biological Exposure Indices (ACGIH, 2008b) reviews the data (with reference to literature sources) that were used to establish the TLVs. (For more information about TLVs, see section 4.C.2.1 of this chapter.)

5.   Fire Protection for Laboratories Using Chemicals (NFPA, 2004). This is the national fire safety code pertaining to laboratory use of chemicals. It describes the basic requirements for fire protection of life and property in the laboratory. For example, the document outlines technical

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