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Laboratory Equipment Decontamination Procedures

Requirements for laboratory equipment decontamination  

Any laboratory equipment contaminated or potentially contaminated with biological material, chemicals, or radioisotopes must be decontaminated prior to delivery through Moving and Surplus (University Stores/Warehouse Operations). All equipment must be in a clean, sanitary condition before pickup, even if it was not used with radioactive, chemical, or biological agents. In addition, a Laboratory Equipment Decontamination Form must be completed and affixed to the item.

Items requiring decontamination include (but are not limited to):

  1. Animal cages and equipment
  2. Biological safety cabinets
  3. Centrifuges
  4. Freezers
  5. Fume hoods
  6. Glove boxes
  7. Incubators
  8. Ovens
  9. Refrigerators
  10. Shakers
  11. Sinks
  12. Storage cabinets
  13. Water baths

The following items CANNOT be accepted for Surplus (contact Environmental Health & Safety, (989) 774-7398, for guidance on proper disposal of items):

  1. Chemicals
  2. Capacitors, Transformers
  3. Gas cylinders, pressurized containers/vessels
  4. Instruments containing mercury
  5. Materials containing asbestos, including, but not limited to: autoclaves, laboratory ovens, fire proof file cabinets​
  6. Any equipment containing a radioactive source
  7. Gas chromatographs
  8. Germicidal UV lamps
  9. Lasers
  10. Scintillation counters
  11. X-ray equipment
  12. Any item with a radioactive sticker
  13. Any refrigerator or freezer that was used to store anything except food and beverage.

Equipment used to process or store radioisotopes

A thorough radiation survey of all accessible surfaces must be performed with an appropriate instrument. If radioactive contamination is detected, the equipment must be cleaned with small amounts of warm detergent water to avoid splash. Blot dry with paper towels. Commercial radiation decontamination solutions containing chelating agents may be helpful. Contact the Radiation Safety Officer at (989) 774-4189 for assistance with decontamination and to ensure contamination has been removed to an acceptable level.

Equipment used to process or store chemicals

Safely remove, drain, or discharge chemicals from the equipment. Collect the material for reuse or for hazardous waste disposal. If applicable, use an inert gas or liquid to purge or rinse out chemical residues. In some cases, rinsate will need to be disposed of as hazardous waste as well. Call Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) at (989) 774-7398 for more specific information about decontamination, or with questions regarding hazardous waste disposal of chemical and/or rinsate.

Contaminated refrigerators, ovens and other equipment with non-permeable surfaces must be decontaminated by scrubbing with warm soapy water.

Equipment used to process or store biological material or animals

Remove biological material from the equipment. Clean the equipment with warm, soapy water and scrub as necessary. Sanitize with a 1:10 bleach solution. After 10 minutes contact time, rinse metal surfaces as bleach is corrosive. For biological safety cabinets, call the Biosafety Officer at (989) 774-3279 to schedule decontamination procedures.


Laboratory equipment decontamination form

A Laboratory Equipment Decontamination Form must be completed and affixed to the item.