Welcome to CP Lab Safety’s Health & Safety Blog

Thank you for visiting CP Lab Safety’s official blog about promoting health and safety in the laboratory and within the greater scientific community.

CP Lab Safety’s stated intention is Making Science Green™ through the use of environmentally friendly laboratory supplies and practices. We hope to educate and inform the public on how to meet EPA and OSHA standards and maintain an optimized safety management system within the workplace.

Please contribute stories and advice on chemical handling, accident avoidance, and any other ideas you have on how to improve the safety of your fellow students, coworkers and personnel.

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is Saturday, April 26th!!

What's this doing in here?

What’s this doing in here?

Is your medicine cabinet beginning to look like your own private pharmacy? Get rid of unwanted and expired pharmaceuticals before they get mixed up with current medications, or worse, fall into the wrong hands – and free up some shelf space for something you do use!

Subsequent to our article on how to get rid of non-disposable household products, one of our staff made an exciting discovery – the Drug Enforcement Administration does have a Take-Back program in place, but it only happens once a year, and only during a four hour window! But if you can make it over to one of the DEA’s Take-Back locations between 10am and 2pm on Saturday, April 26th, follow this link to find a drop-off point near you!

More information is available at the DEA’s official website at justice.gov.

A CP Lab Safety Exclusive Earthday Expose

Hazardous Items Haunting Your Household?
How to Dispose of the Non-Disposable

What do we do with unused household medications? What about cosmetics? Cleaning supplies? Or batteries?

Earth Day is just around the corner, so we at CP Lab Safety set out to see what more we could do to take better care of our home turf. It didn’t take long to spot some areas in urgent need of improvement. Here in California we’ve gotten pretty good at separating our waste items and taking out the recycling with the trash. But there are still plenty of things collecting dust in our cupboards because we simply don’t have a clue where to go with them. What do we do, for example, with unused household medications? What about cosmetics? Cleaning supplies? Or batteries?

All of these things contain chemicals toxic to the environment. If we flush them down the sink or toilet, they poison our groundwater, but if we throw them in the trash and consign them to a heap somewhere, they can still come back to haunt us. Rainwater flows over landfills and into rivers and streams that we and other animals bathe in and drink from. When we eat fish or game, we consume the toxins that have poisoned them. And water off of landfills also joins the groundwater which nourishes our gardens and contributes to our drinking water. According to studies reported at wegreen-usa.org, a whopping 82% of landfills leak!

pollution monster
Disney’s Hexxus

Disposemymeds.org warns, “More than 100 different pharmaceuticals have been detected in lakes, rivers, reservoirs and streams throughout the world.” And that’s just medicines, and doesn’t take into account other byproducts like methane, bleach, cadmium and ammonia. These things steadily leach off of our refuse like a karmic antagonist wreaking silent sabotage as its power swells toward armageddon. But if we can’t throw them away and we can’t recycle them, where on Earth do they go?

We made a phone call to the local pharmacy to see if they had a program to take back unused medications. To our surprise, they were totally ignorant to the concept. Many major electronics companies, like Apple and Acer, have established voluntary programs to “take back” their old electronics before they become e-waste.  Some even compensate recyclers with discounts on new items. Organizations like e-stewards also regularly audit electronics companies to judge whether their e-waste ends up in landfills or, worse, third world countries.  So why not something similar for pharmaceuticals?

The pharmacy referred us to the local police, who subsequently confirmed that they have a bin where we can unload old medications after removing them from the packaging. Rules will vary demographically, so check with local pharmacies and law enforcement. If no program exists, recommend it! Better yet, write to the manufacturer and ask them to collaborate with the pharmacy on a take-back program. You can also check out disposemymeds.org for help finding disposal programs or for more information.

Another household hazard are consumer cosmetics. Our company owner, Kelly, has three adult daughters and drawers overflowing with abandoned cosmetics. Used cosmetics may become contaminated with bacteria and could pose a source for infection, so hanging onto them beyond the recommended shelf life only adds unnecessary clutter. She decided to advise her daughters on environmental conscientiousness and to recommend clearing out what they don’t need. But this prompted the question, where do we go with the old stuff? According to ecolife.com, “The average woman uses 12 products daily” and with more than 112 million women in the US alone, that’s a growing mountain range of cosmetics! What to do?

A recent survey discovered that both men and women consider the optimal amount of makeup to be 40% less than the average woman applies to herself.

The first and best line of defense is to limit your consumption. Cultural movements like the “no makeup selfie” that even attracted Lady Gaga, and sociology studies are reducing the pressure on ladies to augment their natural beauty. A recent survey discovered that both men and women consider the optimal amount of makeup to be 40% less than the average woman applies to herself. But for the stuff that you actually use, make sure to get your money’s worth! Check out our handy reference chart, here, to learn more about the product life of popular cosmetics.

If you have unused cosmetics lying around, rather than throwing them in the trash you can always donate them to local women’s shelters, thrift stores, or sites like beautybus.org and dressforsuccess.org, which provide support to elderly, ill and disadvantaged men and women. Major Donation chains like Goodwill can’t accept previously opened cosmetics, but sites like makeupalley.com and projectbeautyshare.org allow users to exchange directly with other members.

save the humansFor the makeup you do use, much of the packaging can be recycled. Look for the triangular recycling icon and check out the number designation to determine the material and whether or not it qualifies. For the packaging that can’t be recycled, see if you can find your own alternative use for it. Many people have found success converting cleaned cosmetics containers to a variety of other uses. Here are some popular ideas: jewelry containers, paint jars, pill bottles, desktop organizers, or to carry small quantities of things while traveling.

We live on a planet where everything is connected, so we can’t afford to ignore the unintended consequences of human activities. Everything in nature exists in a balance. Our food, water and air resources are exponentially impacted by our every thoughtless action. As Albert Einstein said, “The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.”

“The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.”

Albert Einstein

CP Lab Safety was founded by Dr. Ron Najafi, a medicinal chemist. In 1996 he set out to prevent hazardous pollution in chemistry laboratories. CP Lab Safety’s patented Safety Ecological funnel addresses the "open waste container" problem in chemical and pharmaceuticals industries. Today CP Lab Safety manufactures and distributes thousand of products that prevent pollution from going into soils, water and air. CP Lab Safety distributes fire safe cabinets, recycle bins of all kinds and many more environmental and personal laboratory safety products.

CP Lab Safety
Making Science Green!

Do-It-Yourself: Lab Safety

lab-safetyOne of the best things about science class is doing experiments in a laboratory. Whether you are conducting experiments in a classroom, a high-tech science lab or the International Space Station, it is important to follow the rules for laboratory safety. Proper care and use of equipment in the lab will help to ensure a more reliable outcome to an experiment.

The first rule of lab safety is to behave appropriately. You may be working with hazardous materials or delicate equipment, and you don’t want to harm yourself or others. You always want to avoid mishaps. Staying safe may require wearing special gear to protect your eyes, face and hands or using extreme caution while doing an experiment. It’s important to become familiar with safety rules that apply to potential hazards, such as:
• Heat
• Fire
• Electricity
• Chemicals
• Glassware
• Sharp objects
Safety rules in the science laboratory help to prevent accidents and mistakes. The rules also give you a plan in case an accident occurs.

The rules that apply on Earth are similar to the rules on the space station. However, in space, astronauts have to consider how their equipment and materials will work in microgravity.

The International Space Station is the largest orbiting laboratory ever built. The space station actually has more than one science lab. The United States operates the Destiny laboratory, which supports experiments that contribute to health, safety and quality of life for people all over the world. The European Space Agency’s Columbus laboratory holds 10 experiment racks that are each about the size of a refrigerator. The Japanese Experiment Module, called Kibo, will be used for experiments in space medicine, biology, Earth observations and much more. Russia will have two Mini Research Modules to study Earth, space, life and microgravity sciences. Whether research involves a cutting-edge science experiment 220 miles above Earth or a classroom science project, lab safety rules must always be followed.

Credit: http://www.nasa.gov/audience/foreducators/diypodcast/labsafety-index.html

EPA Definition of Solid Waste for RCRA Subtitle C Hazardous Waste

Hazardous waste is waste that is dangerous or potentially harmful to our health or the environment. Hazardous wastes can be liquids, solids, gases, or sludges. They can be discarded commercial products, like cleaning fluids or pesticides, or the by-products of manufacturing processes.

Learn more about hazardous waste and the regulations that govern it:

Definition of Solid Waste (DSW): Before a material can be classified as a hazardous waste, it must first be a solid waste as defined under RCRA. Resources, including an interactive tool, are available to help.

Types of Hazardous Waste: Hazardous waste are divided into listed wastes, characteristic wastes, universal wastes, and mixed wastes. Specific procedures determine how waste is identified, classified, listed, and delisted.

Generators: Hazardous waste generators are divided into categories based on the amount of waste they produce each month. Different regulations apply to each generator category.

Transporters: Hazardous waste transporters move waste from one site to another by highway, rail, water, or air. Federal and, in some cases, State regulations govern hazardous waste transportation, including the Manifest System.

Treatment, Storage, and Disposal (TSD): Requirements for TSD facilities govern the treatment, storage and disposal of hazadous waste, including land disposal, the permitting process and requirements for TSD facilities.

Waste Minimization: EPA, States, and industries are working to reduce the amount, toxicity, and persistence of wastes that are generated.

Hazardous Waste Recycling: EPA is addressing safe and protective reuse and reclamation of hazardous materials.

Corrective Action: RCRA compels those responsible for releasing hazardous pollutants into the soil, water, or air to clean up those releases.

Test Methods: EPA has a variety of analytical chemistry and characteristic testing methodologies, environmental sampling and monitoring, and quality assurance in place to support RCRA.

International Waste: EPA provides information and guidance on regulations, agreements, initiatives, and other developments in waste policy and law, both in the United States and abroad.

Read more at the EPA website http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/hazard/dsw/index.htm

We Have a New Mission!

What's Your Mission?

What’s Your Mission?

This New Years, we put our heads together and gave our Mission Statement an overhaul!

In 1996, Ron Najafi realized the extent that toxic chemicals were contaminating the workspace, and ECO Funnel® was devised to resolve the threat. Since CP Lab Safety was founded on principals of health and safety, we want to uphold these ideals in how we do business.

During our annual review, we voted to make it official by revising our Mission Statement and Company Vision with the following commitments:

Our Mission: To keep people healthy & safe.
Our Vision: To be the best safety company in the world.

We hope these changes will help clarify our purpose not only to our customers, but ourselves, by reminding us where we came from and what our focus should continue to be.  Please join us in safeguarding the workplace, and protecting our people for a healthier, happier tomorrow!

Your Friends at CP Lab Safety

Photo courtesy Forbes.com

We Hope 2014 Brings You Many Reasons to Smile!

Happy New Year

☆ ☆ ☆ HAPPY NEW YEAR ☆ ☆ ☆

May you find time to enjoy the simple pleasures of life
May the love in your heart never fade
May you find treasure more precious than gold
May you be healthy, safe and joyful all year long

CP Lab Safety intends to continue providing you with excellent service in 2014!

Our New Year’s Resolution is to help make the world a safer and healthier place.

CP Lab Safety – Your environmentally friendly supplier, bringing you smiles with every package!

Today’s Best Read: Making the Right Choices for a Sustainable Future

Today’s Best Read:

Making the Right Choices for a Sustainable Future
…just because that plastic water bottle is recyclable, doesn’t mean that its footprint is eliminated once you diligently place it into a recycle bin.

Happy Earth Day, everyone! Thanks to you lovely readers, I had the opportunity to really research the issues affecting our home planet this year, and by filling in some critical gaps in my education, I’ve finally received the nudge I needed in order to graduate from intention to action.

Here at CP Lab Safety, we’re proud to be among the first U.S. companies to have brought our manufacturing back to the United States (a kind of “reverse off-shoring”). That’s because product transportation is one of the most significant drains on resources, and produces some of the largest carbon footprints on the stratosphere. Each day, products are boxed and loaded into trucks, delivered to boats or planes, carried across state and international borders, relocated onto more trucks, and then fanned out across the country so consumers everywhere can choose from isle upon isle of redundant options. Imagine the gallons of fuel, oceans of exhaust, mountains of packing and packaging material proliferating on a daily basis, and without end. The ability to share the world’s wealth is a wonderful thing, particularly when it means bringing essential goods to deprived communities. But clearly our lust to consume has eclipsed our sense of moderation.

As consumers, we have the power to minimize waste by being more conscientious in our purchasing decisions. Giving preference to locally-made products reduces the necessity of long-distance shipping. Bringing your reusable items with you rather than accepting disposable, single-use products saves valuable resources. Consider the process that brings your favorite disposable products to your fingertips, and then think about how often these items are restocked with a whole new batch of the same products. Daily? Weekly? It’s a relatively modern phenomenon, but the culture of convenience has rendered things like the single-use grocery bag or water bottle a presumed necessity, even though they’re not.

A clever poster circulating the web neatly summarizes this curiosity:

“It’s pretty amazing that our society has reached a point where the effort necessary to extract oil from the ground, ship it to a refinery, turn it into plastic, shape it appropriately, truck it to a store, buy it, and bring it home is considered to be less effort than what it takes to just wash the spoon when you’re done with it.”

In recent years, a growing awareness to the issue has given rise to a boycott on plastic bags, evidenced by an increasing number of major outlets no longer offering them. But as we reported in a previous Earth Day newsletter, switching to paper bags is not the holy grail that we hoped for. Recycling any product is a fairly expensive process, and with each pass through the production mill, components break down at a molecular level, reducing their structural integrity. Reprocessed paper and plastics may have to be combined with newly milled trees or minted polymers to be usable.1

This applies to products across the board. Just because a plastic water bottle is recyclable, doesn’t mean that its footprint is eliminated once you diligently place it into a recycle bin. Aside from the extensive resources consumed to keep our stores initially stocked, those that make it back to the recycling plant still have a finite cycle of rebirth. And that doesn’t account for the vast number that end up in landfills anyway. Clearly, simple recycling isn’t a perfect answer.

So what is the answer? As is often the case in complicated matters, sometimes its simple steps, taken by a large group, that can make the most difference. Convenience has given rise to a broad range of single-use products, but we can choose the situations in which we accept them, and where we can do better. Instead of mindlessly grabbing a new bottle off the shelf, accepting disposable bags at checkout, or purchasing a nine dollar shirt that will fall apart in the wash, it would do the world a good turn if we all invested in more durable, more personal, and less replaceable items. Thinking ahead even saves money long-term; 99 cents per bottle, per day will save you $350 every year (even after you subtract the cost of a reusable bottle and the water to wash it). Living responsibly has more to recommend it than a clean conscience.

To really maximize their environmental impact, some creative companies and consumers are turning to “upcycling” – a privately-driven recycling process where waste products are reassembled into original and unrelated products. Several successful and promising ventures have been sprouting up as a result of the movement. Melissa Richardson of Totem sells a line of bags converted from old advertising banners. Connie Carman does the same with recycled newspapers at Couture Planet. Jake Bronstein has a kickstarter going on right now for a hoodie that comes with an unusual warranty – free mending for life. Companies like FunkyJunk and HipCycle produce everything from clothing to cup holders, exclusively from upcycled materials. And if you’re feeling adventurous, sites like Pinterest, Etsy, YouTube, and of course the ever reliable Google are a treasure map to inspiration.

The reuse wagon still comes with a warning. Although reusable products are better for everyone, potential remains for abuse. Be mindful in your decisions. If a free or inexpensive reusable bag is just going to end up forgotten in your trunk, resist the reflex to accept. Waste is waste, “green” or no, so inflating the apparent demand for it is still donating straight to the local landfill. For those of you in Sales, how about limiting marketing material production to a volume you can reasonably liquidate, to minimize your overrun instead of printing extras? There are lots of small decisions we can make every day that contribute to the greater whole.

Finally, if green incentives just aren’t working, the Mother Nature Network offers the following insight for businesses wishing to reduce the consumption of disposables: penalty often garners greater success than reward. Rather than offering benefits to the already conscientious consumer, perhaps a slight tax on single-use products may be just the thing to startle sleep-shoppers from their stupor?

Jordan Leigh and Michelle Walters
CP Lab Safety

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