Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find answers to common questions about chemical safety at the University.

If you have any questions you think we should answer on this page, please contact:
David Jenkins
Hazards and Containment Manager
Ext: 86714
Email: d.jenkins@auckland.ac.nz

How do I dispose of empty solvent winchesters?


If the winchesters contained a water miscible solvent such as ethanol, methanol or acetonitrile, rinse the Winchesters out thoroughly with water. If the solvent is not water miscible, evaporate the remaining traces of solvent out in a fume hood for at least 24 hours. Completely deface the label, discard the top and place the clean winchesters in glass rubbish.

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How do I dispose of surplus solvents?


Non-chlorinated solvents are refined and some fractions are recycled as printers ink solvent. Unfortunately chlorinated solvents cannot be so easily recycled and so must be sent overseas for treatment. Chlorinated solvents therefore cost more than 6 times the cost of non-chlorinated solvents to dispose. Therefore is is vitally important that chlorinated solvent is kept separate from non-chlorinated solvent. Contact your local Operations Manager or the Hazards and Containment Manager to arrange disposal.

David Jenkins
Hazards and Containment Manager
Ext: 86714
Email: d.jenkins@auckland.ac.nz

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I found some old chemicals in a clean up. What do I do with these?


Contact the Hazards and Containment Manager to come and have a look and to arrange disposal. If there are old bottles of ether or picric acid, do not move the containers under any circumstances. Contact the Hazards and Containment Manager urgently.

David Jenkins
Hazards and Containment Manager
Ext: 86714
Email: d.jenkins@auckland.ac.nz

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How do I dispose of old urethane?


The following protocol is helpful for small quantities of surplus urethane. Store unused urethane solution in 10ml aliquots in a 50ml capped test tube. In a fume cupboard, carefully decant the urethane solution into a beaker in an ice bath. Add 14ml 1M HCl and add 1g sodium nitrite (NaNO2). Leave 5 minutes and then dispose down the sink with running water.

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What medical waste can go in the yellow bags and what can be disposed in the sharps bins?


All contaminated and/or broken lab glass, needles and syringes and hard plastic pipettes go in Sharps bins. Only petri dishes, gloves, tissues, tissue culture flasks and pipette tips go in the bags. All medical waste is now treated by autoclaving only. Remember also that any material that has come in contact with high titre viral vector stock or with pathogenic bacteria must be autoclaved prior to disposal as medical waste. When you use a bag or pail, remember that the disposal cost is prepaid as part of supply of bags or pails. Medical waste bags and pails are therefore very expensive buckets for cleaning up or for use as receptacles for other waste.

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I wish to import foramldehyde fixed specimens. I can't find an import permit for these. Help!


Formaldehyde and ethanol fixed specimens are considered non-viable and MAF has issued an Import Health Standard. This Import Health Standard (INESPEIC.ALL) directs that provided these specimens are fixed, they can be imported without a permit. Therefore you should include a copy of the Import health standard with the shipment (contact the Hazards and Containment Manager for a copy) and a declaration that these specimens have been fixed in formaldehyde or ethanol for at least 24 hours.

David Jenkins
Hazards and Containment Manager
Ext: 86714
Email: d.jenkins@auckland.ac.nz

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The testing certificate on the fume hood I am using is expired. Who do I contact?


Contact your Operations Manager immediately to arrange for the fume hood to be tested.

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