• Is the material already available from another laboratory within the institution or from a surplus-chemical stockroom? If so, waste is reduced, and the purchase price is saved. The tendency to use only new chemicals because of their purity should be scrutinized, and that tendency should be carefully justified to ensure that materials already on hand are used whenever possible.
• What is the minimum quantity that will suffice for current use? Chemical purchases should not be determined by the cheaper unit price basis of large quantities but rather by the amount needed for the experiment. The cost of disposing of the excess is likely to exceed any potential savings gained in a bulk purchase (i.e., the cost of getting rid of a chemical may exceed its acquisition cost). If a quantity smaller than the minimum offered by a supplier is needed, the supplier should be contacted and repackaging requested. Compressed gas cylinders, including lecture bottles, should normally be purchased from suppliers who accept return of empty cylinders. If paying demurrage charges, the laboratory may want to return partially filled cylinders that will not be used in the near future.
• What is the maximum size container allowed in the areas where the material will be used and stored? Fire codes and institutional policies regulate quantities of certain chemicals, most notably flammables and combustibles. For these materials, a maximum allowable quantity for laboratory storage has been established (see also sections 5.E.5 and 5.E.6).
• Can the chemical be managed safely when it arrives? Does it require special storage, such as in a drybox, refrigerator, or freezer? Do receiving personnel need to be notified of the order and given special instructions for receipt? Will any special equipment necessary to use the chemical be ready when it arrives? An effort should be made to order chemicals for just-in-time delivery by purchasing all unstable or extremely reactive materials from the same supplier with a request for one delivery at the best time for performing an experiment.
• Does the chemical present any unique security risks? Is it a controlled substance? Is there a risk of potential intentional misuse of the chemical? Will the quantity ordered affect compliance with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standard (CFATS)? (See Chapter 10 for a discussion of laboratory security.)
• Is the chemical unstable? Inherently unstable materials may have very short storage times and should be purchased just before use to avoid losing a reagent and creating an unnecessary waste of material and time. Some materials may require express or overnight delivery and will not tolerate being held in transit over a weekend or holiday.
• Can the waste be managed satisfactorily? A chemical that produces a new category of waste may cause problems for the waste management program. An appropriate waste characterization and method for proper disposal should be identified before the chemical is ordered.
Within an institution or organization, one of the advantages of computerization of ordering is that information about deliveries of chemicals can be retrieved from the chemical supplier, which provides a clear picture of the purchasing history and distribution of chemicals across buildings. Some institutions include in their annual contracts with suppliers a requirement to report on a monthly, a quarterly, or an annual basis the quantity of each type of chemical purchased and the location to which it was delivered. This information can be helpful in preparing the various annual reports on chemical use that may be required by federal, state, or local agencies. For example, centralized ordering may assist the institution in complying with the Controlled Substances Act and with CFATS. In addition, such a system is also useful for tracking the use of flammables, locations of Food and Drug Administration drug precursors, and DHS chemicals of interest. [See Handbook of Chemical Health and Safety (Alaimo, 2001); Code of Federal Regulations, 1998.]
A purchase order for a chemical should include a request for a material safety data sheet (MSDS). However, many of the larger laboratory chemical suppliers send each MSDS only when an organization first orders the chemical. Subsequent orders of the same chemical are not accompanied by the MSDS. Therefore, a central network of accessible MSDSs should be established. This collection of MSDSs can be electronic if computer access is available to all employees at all times.
5.C.2 Receiving Chemicals
Chemicals arrive at institutions in a variety of ways, including U.S. mail, commercial package delivery, express mail services, and direct delivery from chemical warehouses. Deliveries of chemicals should be confined to areas that are equipped to handle them, usually a loading dock, receiving room, or laboratory. Proper equipment for receipt of chemicals includes chains for temporarily holding cylinders and carts designed to safely move various types of chemical containers. Shelves, tables, or caged areas should be designated for packages to avoid damage by receiving room vehicles. Chemical deliveries should not be made to depart-