Safety and Sustainability

Green Chemistry

Student studying near the pond


Sustainability and "going green” are top priorities in nearly every sector worldwide, particularly within the scientific community. As chemists, we have a responsibility to ensure that our work is both sustainable and environmentally friendly. The American Chemical Society aims to become completely sustainable within the next 150 years. Through the application of the twelve principles of green chemistry, a practical outline for environmental accountability within our field, we believe this goal is not only attainable, but necessary.

At Texas Woman’s University, we strive to make the dream of sustainable green chemistry a reality, beginning with our classrooms and laboratories. Join us as we usher in the "green" age of chemistry through sustainable practices, environmentally-friendly experiments and improved waste disposal. To learn more about green chemistry, visit beyondbenign.org or the Environmental Protection Agency's green chemistry website.

Laboratory Safety

The American Chemical Society's Chemical Safety Practices and Recommendations

Emergency contacts

  • Student Health Services: 940-898-3826
  • Department of Public Safety: 940-898-2911
  • Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry: 940-898-2550/2551

Rules

  1. Always wear eye protection, safety glasses for impact protection and goggles for chemicals, when in the laboratory. Even if you aren't working on the experiment someone else may be. If you refuse to wear your glasses/goggles or forget to bring them, you will be ejected from lab and could receive no credit for that lab.
  2. Latex or nitrile gloves are to be worn as directed by your instructor/supervisor. These may not be necessary in every case, but it is never wrong to wear gloves.
  3. Do not wear contact lenses in the laboratories, they prevent the flushing of chemicals from the eye and absorb organic vapors from the air. Students must obtain a pair of prescription glasses for working in the laboratory. Students must notify the laboratory instructor/supervisor if they wear contact lenses.
  4. No horseplay is allowed! There are too many corrosive and toxic materials present to allow for stupid actions.
  5. Do not pipette by mouth. Bulbs will be provided for this purpose.
  6. Do not pipette from or pour anything back into reagent bottles. Pour a sample into a smaller container first and dispose of the left over material afterwards. Contamination can ruin an experiment or cause an explosion.
  7. Only perform the laboratory assigned. Unauthorized experiments are dangerous, distract other students, and are strictly prohibited. Conducting unauthorized experiments will be cause for ejection from lab.
  8. Listen to instructions at the beginning of each lab. Your instructor will point out potential hazards and where caution must be taken.
  9. All chemical waste must be deposited into proper containers such as halogenated liquids, non halogenated liquids, aqueous liquids and solid chemicals. The instructor will indicate those rare instances when something may be poured down the sink.           
  10. Broken glassware must be put in the proper containers made for that purpose not in the garbage.
  11. Sharps and bio-hazardous waste must be placed in the proper receptacles for that purpose; do not break needles before disposing of syringes.
  12. Students should wear long pants and long sleeve shirts and solid non-canvas top shoes. Remember that these clothes only offer protection against dirt and weak solvents. A second layer of clothing may be worn for additional protection: Disposable lab coats will be available for purchase and are highly recommended. As always, exercise care in handling chemicals. Open shoes, sandals, and high heels are prohibited in the laboratory. If you attend lab wearing the prohibited clothing will result in your being ejected from lab and you may receive a zero for the lab.
  13. Know the location of safety showers, fire blankets, first aid kits, emergency phones, exits, and eyewashes they will be pointed out by your instructor before the first laboratory is performed.
  14.  Glassware should not be considered clean unless you have just cleaned it. Your lab partner may have been in a hurry last week and borrowing his/her glassware and considering it clean may have unexpected results.
  15. There will be no eating or drinking in labs! This includes all foods, drinks, gum, candies, breath mints, and even medicines.
  16. Radios, televisions, iPods, MP3 players, etc. are not allowed in instructional laboratories. Such devices are only allowed in research laboratories, provided the supervisor permits them.
  17. In case of fire or accident, call the instructor at once. All injuries must be reported to and treated by the infirmary staff.
  18. Do not force glass tubing into rubber stoppers. Use a lubricant suggested by your instructor.
  19. You may not work in the laboratory alone.
  20. Exercise care in noting the odor of substances. Never place your nose to any container and inhale!
  21. Come to lab prepared. If you have not read the lab (or understood what you read), accidents are much more likely to occur.
  22. Long hair must be confined in all labs. It must be pulled back or put into a hair-net.  In addition, loose clothing, dangling earrings, chains, and scarves are forbidden in lab.
  23. Wash hands frequently when handling chemicals and before leaving the laboratory. Beware of contamination of clothing or on door knobs, frames, etc.  Remove any protective gear before leaving the laboratory; this includes gloves.