SOP for Formaldehyde Use

University of Washington Department of Microbiology

Standard Operating Procedures for Chemicals or Processes

#1   Process

(if applicable)

Formaldehyde-All use of formaldehyde is regulated under Occupational Health regulation WAC 2966207540.

#2  Chemicals

Formaldehyde: Flammable liquid, irritant, sensitizer and potential human carcinogen. PEL (8hrs.): 0.75 ppm, STEL (15 min.) 2 ppm, action level (8hrs.): 0.5 ppm.

#3   Personal Protective                        Equipment (PPE)

Chemical splash goggles and nitrile gloves must be worn to prevent eye contact and limit dermal exposure. A lab coat or apron is also required.

#4   Environmental /

Ventilation Controls

Formaldehyde containing solutions and preserved samples should be dispensed and used only in a properly operating fume hood. Routine use outside of a fume hood is acceptable only when formaldehyde levels are monitored and are below 0.5 ppm.

#5  Special Handling Procedures & Storage Requirements

Mixing or dispensing should be done in a hood. Store in a cool dry well ventilated flammable liquid storage area or cabinet. Do not store with strong oxidizing or reducing agents, strong acids or bases, alkalies, alkali metals, amines, ammonia or phenol. Storage cabinet is located in 351 or 352 hood or hazardous chemical storage room 3rd floor.

#6  Spill and Accident                         Procedures

1.     If skin is exposed, wash immediately with soap and water. Flush mucus membranes with large amounts of water. Use drench shower in case of extensive contamination.

2.     Remove all sources of ignition from the spill area. Respiratory protection is required to clean up spills and all users must have respirator certification. Use absorbent pads or vermiculite to clean up small fume hood spills or to dike spill area. Clean up spill area with additional pads or Kim Wipes. Absorbent pads can be found next to bookcase in room 352.                 

      Call 9-911 in the event of a spill beyond lab's capability.

3.     After clean-up, room air must be monitored by EH&S prior to occupancy.

#7  Waste Disposal

Place used absorption pads and materials in metal can with leak proof lid. Over pack with additional unused absorption pads. Seal can and label with "Hazardous Waste Label" and contact Environmental Health and Safety (685-2848) for collection.

#8  Special Precautions                       for Animal Use

(if applicable)

Disposal of sample tissues or material soaked in formaldehyde should be disposed of by EH & S. Obtain appropriate disposal procedures from EH&S based on % concentrations.

Particularly hazardous

substance involved?

  X   YES:

Blocks #9 to #11 are Mandatory


Blocks #9 to #11 are Optional.

#9  Approval Required

Users must receive specified physical and health hazard information and safe laboratory work practices training from their supervisor. Lab supervisors must ensure that at least two representative breathing zone air samples have been taken for evaluation. Personnel using respirators must be enrolled in University's Respiratory Protection Program. For further information, air sampling guidelines, or a copy of the formaldehyde regulations contact EH&S at (543-7388).

#10 Decontamination

Wash affected area with soap and water.

#11 Designated Area

Room # 351. Special signage may be required depending on air sampling results (see #9 above). Contact EH&S (3-7388) for further information.

Name:                                                                                  Title:

Signature:                                                                                              Date:                                    

Environmental Health and Safety, Box 354400                         *to be filled in by PI or Supervisor


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