Chemical Safety


Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) provide a full range of environmental, health and safety services to the Boston University community.   The Research Safety Division of  Environmental Health and Safety provides professional services to the laboratory community by evaluating the risk of chemicals in use, developing programs and procedures to assure that chemicals are used in a safe and healthful manner, and supporting compliance with all applicable federal, state, and municipal regulations.

Chemical Inventories

Principal Investigators are required to keep an inventory of all hazardous chemicals used or stored in their laboratories.  Chemical inventories are maintained in the Research Information Management System (RIMS). Principal Investigators or their designated Safety Coordinators

must update their laboratory’s chemical inventories at least annually.  Chemical inventories must be updated immediately if:

  • If the amount of any chemical stored or used in the laboratory increases or decreases significantly (more than 25% change)
  • If new chemicals are added to the laboratory
  • If any chemicals on the inventory are no longer in use in the laboratory

MSDSs should also be kept as hard copies in a separate binder in the laboratory.  Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) for the chemicals in your inventory are available online through the following sites:

The best place to find an MSDS is from the chemical manufacturer.   In the event the manufacturer is unknown or cannot be located, the Vermont Safety Information Resources has an MSDS search engine available.

Additionally, you may access MSDSs through your RIMS Chemical Inventory.

Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) is available to assist you in maintaining your chemical inventory.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact EHS at 353-4094 on the Charles River Campus or 638-8830 on the Medical Campus.


The Chemical Hygiene Plan

The Chemical Hygiene Plan outlines the policies, procedures, and safe work practices used while working with chemicals in laboratories at Boston University.  Applicable sections of the plan are available on the web below.  The Chemical Hygiene Plan can also be viewed online in its entirety:

Chemical Hygiene Plan


Other chemical safety information

  • Hazard Communication/MSDS
  • DHS Chemicals of Interest Information
  • Transporting Chemicals
  • Chemical Segregation and Storage
  • Chemical Containment Levels for Animal Administration