Handling, Storage & Disposal


Liquid Nitrogen & Dry Ice

There is a liquid nitrogen tank near the Biology Stores for anyone to use. This liquid is very cold! Do not forget to wear the supplied heavy gloves and face shield; turn the release valve slowly (the one with the attached metal hose). Be careful not to spill or inhale. Enter your record in the nearby log book, as indicated.

This also applies when you take the dry ice located in the loading dock. There is a charge for both liquid nitrogen and dry ice.

Autoclaved Waste

To all Stewart lab personnel: where autoclaved material is produced, revised procedures are as follows.

Yellow bins will only be used in the McIntyre, Bellini and Goodman Cancer Centre.  All other buildings instead, including the Stewart,  will be using the boxes as noted in the picture below, for the disposal of autoclaved waste.

Users will not have to bring down their boxes once they are 2/3 full ; they can leave their boxes for pick-up by our custodial staff, in the same spot as the orange autoclaved bags were left for disposal.
Empty boxes for the Stewart occupants will be made available at the “Receiving” desk.

For additional information, please contact Christian Bouchard at Waste Management or refer to the Waste Management website concerning their latest policy.

Natural Gas

When dealing with equipment that use natural gas, such as Bunsen burners, make sure that the valves are turned off completely when you are done. Always double check before leaving a room. If you smell the gas, you must investigate the source immediately. If unable to find the leak, contact Facilities Management at (514) 398-4555 to have someone come over as quickly as possible. At night or on weekends, call emergency (514) 398-3000.


The following substances are controlled as carcinogens by the U.S. department of Labour:

Chloromethyl methyl ether 
Hexamethyl phosphoramide 
Chromium VI 
4,4'-Methylene bis(2 chloroaniline)
Methylene chloride
Propylene imine 
Dimethyl carbamoyl chloride
4,4'-Methylene dianiline 
Methyl hydrazine 
Dimethyl sulfate
Methyl iodide 
Ethylene dibromide 
Vinyl bromide 
Carbon tetrachloride 
Ethylene oxide 
Vinyl chloride 
bis-Chloromethyl ether 

Please refer to your Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for proper use and handling.

Chemical Inventory

Chemical inventory requirements for all McGill labs

Please note that all McGill labs are required to prepare and maintain a chemical inventory that is updated annually. MSDS paper documents are no longer necessary for those who have an electronic version.

You can obtain the Chemical Inventory by going to the EHS - MyLab website and entering your McGill User Name and Password. This is provided that your lab has migrated to the MyLab system and that your supervisor has given you access to the system on the web. To request access for additional users, the PI should contact Parisa Parang (Tel.: -8778) at EHS.

If you maintain multiple labs, then you only need to create one inventory but should indicate where each item is stored. Keep your inventory with the MSDS collection. Integration with McGill Marketplace will soon follow.

Questions, feedback or suggestions should be directed to the MyLab team: mylab.EHS@mcgill.ca



Suggested segregation of chemical storage

  • FLAMMABLES (Acetone, ethanol, glacial acetic acid): store in grounded flammable liquid storage cabinet and separate from oxidizing materials
  • NON-FLAMMABLE SOLVENTS (Carbon tetrachloride, ethylene glycol, mineral oil): store in cabinet, can be stored with flammable liquids and separate from oxidizing materials
  • ACIDS (Nitric acid, hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid): store in cabinet of non-combustible material, separate oxidizing acids from organic acids and separate from caustics, cyanides, sulfides
  • CAUSTICS (Ammonium hydroxide, sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide):store in dry area and separate from acids
  • WATER REACTIVE CHEMICALS (sodium, potassium, lithium): store in cool, dry location, separate from aqueous solutions and protect from fire sprinkler water
  • OXIDIZERS (sodium hypochlorite, benzoyl peroxide, potassium permanganate): store in cabinet of non-combustible material and separate from flammable And combustible materials
  • NON OXIDIZING COMPRESSED GASES (nitrogen, hydrogen, carbon dioxide): store in well ventilated area and separate physically from oxidizing compressed gases
  • OXIDIZING COMPRESSED GASES (oxygen, chlorine, nitrous oxide): separate physically from flammable compressed gases
  • NON-VOLATILE, NON REACTIVE SOLIDS (agar, sodium chloride, sodium bicarbonate): store in cabinets or open shelves with edge guards

Hoods and cabinets

Always check the performance of a fume hood before using it. A piece of tissue hanging on the bottom of the hood's door should be moving inwards when the sash door is closed at 2/3 of the way down. Some highly hazardous products, such as perchloric acid, can only be used in a "wash down fume hood" especially designed to handle this kind of chemical. Ask the room owner for permission and instruction on how to use it. Keep the fume hood uncluttered, overstocking disturbs the airflow and puts you in danger.


There are different types of hoods to work in:


Chemical fume hoods are enclosed units with a sliding sash. They protect the operator from heavy vapors while working with hazardous chemicals by exhausting the fumes through a duct that goes outside the building. This system will work optimally if you bring the sash down at least 2/3 of the way; the narrower the opening, the swifter the air...


  • Stewart Building:
    Room N3/4, N3/5, N3/11, N3/12, N3/13, N4/2, N4/3, N4/7, N4/8, N5/2, N5/12, N5/16A, N5/5, N5/6, N6/10, N6/14, N6/15, and S5/211.
  • Bellini:
    Room 256, 257, 270 and 273.

A clean bench protects your samples from contamination coming from you and the room. The air is blown at you.

Protect you, your samples and your environment from particulate contamination. It is NOT designed for harsh or radiolabeled chemicals. To be used for work with low to moderate risk agents NOT with high-risk pathogens. A HEPA filter (High Efficiency Particulate Air filter) is the essential component of these cabinets.


  • Stewart Building: N5/22, and S4/115A.
  • Bellini: Room 243 (2X) and 247.

Personal Protective Equipment

Eye and face protection: students, staff, faculty and visitors must wear appropriate eye and/or facial protection in all areas where:
  • Hazardous materials or substances of an unknown nature are stored, used or handled
  • There is a possibility of being splashed, of flying or rupturing objects, or of moving particles
  • Other eye hazards exist (e.g. UV light, lasers)

Lab Coats: Appropriate protective clothing (e.g. lab coats, aprons, coveralls) is required in all areas where hazardous materials are handled (e.g. laboratories and workshops)

For more information, please refer to the Personal Protective Equipment

Waste & Disposal

Would you like to get rid of old electronic/laboratory/scrap metal scrap metal equipment / and don’t know how?

Waste Management will arrange to have it picked up on site (no need to bring it down to the loading dock unless you have received instructions to do so). All you need to do is fill out a pick-up request form on this page: https://www.mcgill.ca/hwm/forms

If you need to get rid of a fridge or any other piece of equipment containing Freon, a FOAPAL must be provided on the request form. Such equipment will be picked up on site, during the last week of every month.

McGill's Hazardous Waste Management department will also collect batteries and send them for subsequent treatment. If you have small quantities, you can drop your batteries in one of the red battery recycling bins located in the lobby of all major buildings.

As far as wood pallets & crates: it is the responsibility of the owner/client to arrange with the supplier to get rid of them. If that is not possible, alternate arrangements must be done with Building Services (it is not a Waste Management issue)

NOTE: Hazardous chemicals are to be disposed in the usual manner:

  • Stewart occupants must bring their full containers to the storage area “biomedical waste cold room” or “solvent/isotope waste room” that is located in the loading dock and exchange them for empty containers. They must log into the book at the “Receiving” desk beforehand. Those chemicals will be picked up on a weekly basis. For safety reasons, only containers approved by Hazardous Waste Management can be stored in those rooms.
  • 2/F Bellini occupants must follow instructions from their building.

Waste is subdivided into the following categories. For details on waste disposal procedures and appropriate waste containers, you must refer to: http://www.mcgill.ca/hwm/


1.1 Organic solvents and oils
1.2 Miscellaneous chemicals and cylinders
1.3 Unknowns
1.4 Peroxide forming (e.g. ether) or explosives (e.g. dry picric acid)
1.5 Corrosives

If your laboratory is located in the Stewart Building, the 20 liters white & yellow bulk waste containers must be brought down by the users to the “Storage Area for Chemical and Radioactive Waste” in room N3/19D. The key to that room can be obtained through the Biology Receiving and the waste must be logged into their book. If your laboratory is NOT located in the Stewart, you must follow your own building instructions.

In limited cases and ONLY upon Waste Management approval the waste material can be poured back into its original container provided the label is intact and that the container is clearly labeled as “WASTE”


2.1 Human anatomical waste
2.2 Animal anatomical waste (carcasses, body parts, organs)
3.3 Non-anatomical waste which includes:
3.3.1 Sharps contaminated with animal or human blood, biological fluids or tissues (must be in a sealed rigid container before disposing)
3.3.2 Tissue or microbial cultures, and material contaminated by such cultures
3.3.3 Live vaccines

Biomedical waste must be segregated according to the above categories and disposed of frequently. If your laboratory is located in the Stewart Building, your waste must be brought to the loading dock cold room that is designated as “Biohazard Waste” room (N3/19B).  You must record your waste into the designated book at the Biology Stores and ask the storekeeper to hand you the key. If your laboratory is NOT located in the Stewart, you must follow your own building instructions.


3.1 Contaminated sharps
3.2 Non-contaminated sharps
3.3 Broken glassware (uncontaminated)
3.4 Empty chemical reagent bottles


4.1 Solid waste (except sealed source)
4.2 Sealed and encapsulated sources
4.3 Liquid scintillation vials
4.4 Liquid radioactive waste


A general chemical waste pick-up can be arranged for the Stewart Building, as needed. This general pick-up is meant for the occupants who want to get rid of their unwanted/hazardous/ expired/ or surplus chemicals. Chemicals must be segregated according to compatibility into different boxes with their respective inventory list attached.

Unknowns are not accepted. Service is free of charge.

If you have further questions please contact McGill Waste Management at (514) 398-5066.


Once your research is completed, YOU are responsible for labeling, packaging and disposing of your samples and solutions. Do not forget your material in freezers, cold rooms, incubators and storage rooms. Whatever needs to be thrown out (non hazardous items) can be put in a box and left for janitors to take away but it must be clearly labeled as garbage. Remember to return keys and temporary ID cards to room W4/14. Do not leave keys to fellow workers or supervisor.

For more information, please visit the Waste Management Program website or phone (514) 398-5066. They are located in the McIntyre Medical Sciences Building (Room 129); or e-mail Christian Bouchard (Manager) at christian.bouchard@mcgill.ca.