Chemical Spill

If you are exposed to a chemical, follow the first aid procedures below.

If at Boston University Charles River Campus and need medical attention, call the BUPD at 617-353-2121 IMMEDIATELY.

If at Boston University Medical Campus and need medical attention, call 617-414-6666 IMMEDIATELY.

Never clean a chemical spill if you feel uncomfortable doing so.

  • Restrict access to the area and assess the extent of the spill.
  • If you have been exposed to a hazardous chemical, consult the first aid procedures listed below. Contact the BUPD at 617-353-2121 immediately for medical assistance.
  • For assistance cleaning the spill, call Environmental Health and Safety at 617-353-7233.
  • Attend to injured personnel, as necessary.
  • Wear personnel protective equipment (PPE) appropriate to the chemical spilled (at a minimum, safety glasses and gloves. Consult the MSDS for the chemical and more information on the proper PPE).
  • If it is safe to do so, contain the spill, unless doing so poses a risk, and alert others in the immediate area. Try to protect hallways, elevator shafts, floor drains, etc.
  • If it is a small spill and you feel comfortable doing so, clean the spill. Be sure to wear appropriate PPE. Collect the cleanup material and label it as hazardous waste. Place it in a hazardous Waste Satellite Accumulation Area and make a request for disposal. Do not attempt to clean up a large spill.


Any spill involving mercury MUST be reported to Environmental Health and Safety at 353-7233 (BU) or 617-414-6666 (BUMC). DO NOT attempt to clean a mercury spill., no matter how small.


If you feel that you need medical assistance, do not hesitate. Even a small hesitation in response time can have an adverse affect. If you are transported to the hospital, try to bring a MSDS of the material to which you have been exposed. Contact Environmental Health and Safety at 353-7233 (BU) or 617-414-6666 (BUMC) to report any chemical exposure.

Skin Contact

  • Remove any exposed clothing as quickly as possible.
  • Flush any exposed skin or hair with water for at least 15 minutes. Do not be afraid to activate a safety shower.
  • In the event of gross contamination, or if a rash or swelling develops, contact the BUPD at 353-2121 for medical assistance.

Eye Contact

The easiest route of absorption of chemicals into the body is through the eyes. Always wear proper eye protection when working with chemical material. Any exposure to the eyes should be reported to Environmental Health and Safety at 353-7233 (BU) or 617-414-6666 (BUMC).

  • Flush with large quantities of water continuously for at least 15 minutes.
  • Hold eyelids open while flushing.
  • Seek medical attention immediately. Contact the BUPD at 353-2121 (BU) or 617-414-6666 (BUMC) for medical assistance.