There is confusion about what regulations are applicable when using carcinogens. However, in the United Kingdom the use of "carcinogens" is governed by COSHH and its associated Approved Codes of Practice, the CHIP regulations and EH40/2005 Work Place Exposure Limits.

Storage facilities for chemical carcinogens should always be locked, and a record kept of each chemical deposited.

Exposure Limits

EH40 Occupational Exposure Limits Supplement 2005. HSE. ISBN 0717629775 - copy available from Paul Phillips.

The COSHH Carcinogen Approved Code of Practice only applies to substances bearing the risk phrases R45 "May cause cancer" and R49 "May cause cancer by inhalation." It does not apply to substances labelled "suspected carcinogen" or appearing in lists produced by other countries, although COSHH regulations for non-carcinogens still apply. Note that all COSHH records should be kept intact as part of the laboratory's (and University's) safety records.

Use of Carcinogens

All the reagents should be contained in a metal tray and all implements in contact require to be treated as carcinogen and decontaminated or sent to toxic waste. These should be carefully kept aside on a metal tray and stored for inactivation immediately at the end of the experiments.

One stage at which a carcinogen is most potent is when it is being solubilised or added to a chemical reaction. These Modifications should be carried out in a safety cabinet.

Storage of Carcinogens

Storage facilities for chemical carcinogens should always be locked, and a record kept of each chemical deposited.

Recording Data

list of carcinogensfor which COSHH records must be completed

By law, a register of all carcinogen users within CMVLS is held and records are maintained for 20 years. On purchasing any chemicals with the Risk Phrase "R45" and "R49", Paul Phillips should be informed with the substance name, where it was purchased from, the quantity and date of purchase.

Inactivation and disposal of carcinogens

Where possible use prepared commercial solutions of ethidium bromide (ETBr) and acrylamide gels. The low levels of ETBr present in gel buffers can be flushed down the sink.

Particular care should be taken when viewing DNA gels by transilluminator. Buffer splashes should be dried by wiping with a tissue and alcohol solution and the tissue discarded into the yellow plastic bags provided for the disposal of solid carcinogen waste.

Outdated carcinogens or ones no longer is use should be arranged for disposal by the University Chemical Safety Adviser. Helen Arthur or Jim Scott can advise on arrangements for uplift and disposal.