The Illinois EPA prohibits the Division of Research Safety (DRS) from collecting unlabeled chemical containers. If you have unlabeled chemical containers in your workplace for disposal, ask the person who generated the substance to identify it or perform the following screening procedures for each unlabeled chemical container.
Over time, peroxide-forming chemical compounds such as ethers, dioxanes, and tetrahydrofuran absorb and react with oxygen to form potentially explosive compounds. Exposure to air and light accelerates this process. Therefore, if an unlabeled liquid is partially or fully evaporated, and crystals are present (or the liquid has become cloudy), label the container as "POSSIBLE PEROXIDE." DO NOT attempt to screen this container; send an email to email@example.com or call 217-333-2755 to request assistance from the DRS.
Some unlabeled chemicals contain radioactive materials. If possible, use a radiation detection instrument to determine if the material is radioactive. If radioactivity is found, DO NOT attempt to screen the container; request assistance from the DRS by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 217-333-2755.
Unlabeled chemicals may contain biological materials. If you suspect a biohazard, DO NOT attempt to screen the container; request assistance from the DRS by sending an email to email@example.com or calling 217-333-2755.
Use chemical-resistant gloves, goggles, a face shield, and/or a poly work shield. Perform all screening work in an empty chemical fume hood. Because the procedure tests items for flammability, have a functioning fire extinguisher available in case of unexpected violent reactions. Locate the nearest fire alarm pull station in advance. If you are uncomfortable performing these procedures, ask your supervisor to find someone else to do them.
Each unlabeled material is screened for air reactivity, water reactivity, corrosivity, and flammability. Because of the small quantities involved for each unlabeled chemical container, a rigorous sampling method is not required. One test container (aluminum dish, evaporating dish, watch glass) may be sufficient for all four steps of the screening procedures. Residues from the screening procedures may be poured down the sink drain. When labeling the chemical container, do not cover the original label or any markings with the new label.
After containers have been labeled according to the preceding guidelines, request a picked up on the DRS web site. The UI# and Chemical Name required on the DRS portal is listed above. DRS waste labels will be returned to be placed on the containers. Do not cover the original label or any markings with this new label.
If you have questions or need assistance, contact the DRS by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 217-333-2755.