Science Labs


The Science Labs Inventory Worksheet provides a laundry list of potentially hazardous products that may be found in your school’s Science Labs. We tried to make this list comprehensive, so that anything you might find stored in your wood shop will be listed here.

As you investigate your stored products, find each one on the list, and fill in the columns to keep track of what you have, and what should be disposed of. Though we have tried our best to include any and all potentially hazardous products that might appear in school wood shops, we may have missed something that you have in stock. Since you have this Excel file on a CD, please add rows at the appropriate alphabetical location to add your items.

Simultaneously with using your Inventory Worksheet as you investigate what you have in storage, you’ll want to have your Storage and Labeling Best Management Practices Checklist on hand. We don’t want you to have to go through your inventory twice, once to check off what you have and then again to make sure everything is properly labeled and appropriately stored. Anything you find that is marked in red on the Inventory list should best be immediately transferred to a safe holding area pending removal by a certified hazardous waste hauler. Use the Storage and Labeling Checklist and storage graphics provided in this toolkit to make sure that the items you transfer to a holding area are clearly marked (assuming you know what they are in the first place), and kept apart from other hazardous substances with which they might react. In the Science Labs Folder you’ll find two documents that may help you with the transfer and hold procedure:

For those products you intend to keep, this Toolkit provides suggestions about how to organize chemicals for safety, but if you have another, equally safe, system in place, with just a few problems here and there, by all means use your own system. The important point is to make sure, as you conduct your inventory, that everything you want to keep is labeled and safely stored.

Note: Before starting the inventory:

  • Ensure that all emergency supplies are available and ready to use.
  • Use appropriate personal protective equipment (e.g. gloves, chemical splash goggles, lab coat, closed-toe shoes).
  • Use extreme caution in handling all containers! Crystallized chemicals should NOT be moved. They are shock sensitive and can explode if not handled with extreme care.
  1.  Inventory all chemicals, solvents, and hazardous substances a minimum of once a year. See Number 4 for recommended details to include in inventory. A copy of the inventory shall be kept on file in a location away from the areas where the substances are stored.
  2. Confirm that current MSDS are present for all poisonous, toxic, or hazardous substances.
  3. Identify each storage area by name. Storage areas can be segregated by:
    • Physical location.
    • Individual shelf/cupboard within location provided there is individual containment for spills.
    • Include storage areas for open laboratory areas.
  4. Identify the chemicals contained within each identified storage area. For each container, record the following information if applicable:
    • The full name of the material (already included on inventory lists in alphabetical order)
    • The CAS number (add next to chemical name on inventory list)
    • The purchase date or general age
    • The expiration date (if available)
    • The number of containers
    • An estimate of the volume/amount of the substance
    • Comments on the physical state of the container (good; fair; poor)
    • Amount of chemical needed to retain for classroom use
    • Amount of chemical needed to be dispose
  5. During inventory, label containers for disposal that are not in good condition, are close to, or beyond, the stated expiration date, or are not labeled and cannot be adequately identified. Ensure the record identifies these containers for disposal.
    • Unacceptable conditions include deteriorated (e.g., corroded or bulging containers, broken caps) containers and container integrity issues (e.g., leaking or spilled materials).
    • Primary original containers need to have a legible label.
    • Secondary containers that are used for storage (e.g., squeeze bottles) must be labeled with the contents.
  6. During inventory, label containers as questionable that have chemicals spilled on the outside of the containers. Ensure that record identifies these containers as questionable.
  7. Identify for each container the appropriate compatibility designation.
    • Inorganic acid
    • Organic acid
    • Inorganic base
    • Flammable liquid (include glacial acetic acid)
    • Flammable solid
    • Corrosive
    • Strong oxidizers
    • Pyrophorics
    • Water reactive
    • Compressed Gas
    • Solid
  8. Identify prohibited/very high hazard materials (in red on inventory list included in toolkit). Physically label these containers for disposal. Ensure the record identifies these containers for disposal.
    • Prohibited chemicals are chemicals that pose an inherent, immediate and potentially life threatening risk, injury or impairment due to toxicity or other chemical properties to the students, staff or other occupants of the school. These chemicals should be prohibited from use and/or storage at the school. The school should not purchase or accept donations of such chemicals.
  9. Identify restricted/high hazard materials (in purple on inventory list included in toolkit) eliminate and substitute with alternatives if possible.
    • Restricted chemicals are those chemicals that are restricted by use, and/or quantities. Restricted chemicals should be limited to instructor demonstration. Any restricted chemicals present in the school should be included in the school’s written emergency plan.
  10. Identify materials that are no longer used in the current curriculum. Physically label these containers for disposal and ensure that the record identifies these containers for disposal.
  11. Identify materials that have an excessive inventory. Physically label these containers as questionable and ensure the record identifies these containers as questionable.
  12. Identify any cases where incompatible chemicals (by hazard class) are stored together.
    • Acids and bases are separated
    • Flammable liquids away from corrosives (except acetic acid – store with flammables)
    • Organic acids from inorganic acids (nitric from formic, acetic acid, and anhydrides)
    • Strong oxidizers and pyrophorics away from flammables and corrosives
    • Water reactive away from aqueous sources
  13. Provide a copy of the inventory to the school representative.

Sources: Kansas Dept. of Health & Environment: Waste Chemical Disposal Guidance for Schools Program; EPA’s Indian Country School Lab Hazard Program; ID DEQ Chemical Roundup; WY DE Chemical Inventory Procedures

       Disposal | Checklist for purchasing of chemicals (EXCEL) | Purchasing | Storage and Labeling Principles of Green Chemistry (DOC) | Alternative Options (Reduced Scale Chemistry) Checklist (EXCEL) | Hazardous Waste Management Checklist and BMPs (WORD) | Science Laboratories: Waste Disposal Guidance (WORD)



Contact Us
P2 Network | Web Library | Directory | Topic Hubs™ | Search
Operated by MSU Extension Service | Funded by EPA Region 8 | Member P2Rx™
Has this publication been helpful to you?
Please email us about how this information helped you in your daily life: webmaster@peakstoprairies.org