Providing Sustainable Solutions to Manage Chemical Usage in Labs

Diane Sokal, Jacobs
Bob Moser, Jacobs

A wide range of chemicals commonly used in laboratories carry significant health, safety and environmental concerns. Building codes, fire safety codes, environmental regulations and local EHS guidelines specify how chemicals are stored and handled, how to contain chemicals in use to prevent human exposure, and how to address spills and dispose of chemical waste. A sustainable laboratory design must allow for laboratory personnel to store, handle and use hazardous chemicals safely, assuring good operability while adhering to regulatory and building code requirements.

This presentation will provide an overview of common laboratory chemicals and their associated health, safety and environmental hazards; summarize the content of the many codes and regulations that address chemical storage, use and disposal; and present sustainable solutions for chemical distribution and chemical waste collection systems that provide significant health, safety and environmental improvements, as well as increasing the operational efficiency of laboratories.

Learning Objectives

  • Categorize the types of hazardous materials used in laboratories, and the environmental, health and safety concerns associated with their storage, use and disposal.
  • Understand the basis of building code and fire code requirements (IBC and NFPA) for limiting quantities of hazardous materials in laboratories, and the environmental regulations that govern their use and disposal.
  • Learn how a solvent distribution system can provide health, safety and environmental improvements and code compliant solutions for storage and use of solvents in laboratories.
  • Learn how a solvent waste collection system can provide health, safety and environmental improvements and code compliant solutions for chemical waste disposal in laboratories.


Diane Sokal is an Architect and LEED Accredited Professional in Jacobsí Boston office with over 30 years of experience in laboratory, transportation and higher education projects. Diane's career in laboratory work started at age 5, joining her mother at work in a biology research lab. With a life-long personal interest in environmental issues, Diane advocates for research into the connections between environmental toxins and human health through her volunteer work with the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition.


Bob Moser is a chemical engineer in Jacobsí Conshohocken, Pennsylvania office with over 20 years experience in creating and leading environmental, safety and risk control programs and products within the chemical, refining and pharmaceutical industries. He has broad domestic and international (Europe and Asia) experience. His background also includes technical and staff management, consulting, project management, personnel training and engineering standards development.


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