Why do we need a chemical inventory? By federal and state law, the Marine Biological Laboratory is required to track and report certain substances that are hazardous or above specified volumes.  In addition, an updated chemical inventory facilitates research activities by saving researcher’s time (availability and location of chemical), saving money (no duplicate purchases), and reducing waste (limit accumulation of unused chemicals).

chemical inventory example

What information has to be included in our chemical inventory? (Mandatory fields)

Chemical Name: Do not use abbreviations, nor chemical formula
CAS Number: It is the unique and specific identifier designated for only one substance. While a chemical can have many names, it only has one CAS number.
Containers: Number of containers of the same size
Amount: Size of the container Unit: Unit of measure (L, mg, Gallon, m3, etc.)
State: Physical state (solid, liquid, or gas)
PI Name: First and last name
Building: Name or abbreviation of building
Room: The room the chemical is stored

Do we need to inventory all of our chemicals?
MBL Safety recommends that ALL chemicals are inventoried, but at minimum, any hazardous commercial substance must be included in the inventory. Consult the manufacturer's Safety Data Sheet to determine if a chemical is hazardous.

Some substances that are not required to be inventoried include:

  • Non-hazardous chemicals (sodium chloride, natural amino acids, water, etc.)
  • Biological material such as:
    • Plant or animal tissue, blood or blood products;
    • Replicating biological agents: bacteria, viruses, fungi or yeast
    • Enzymes, antibodies, proteins, peptides, nucleic acids
  • Tissue culture media or other growth media
  • Buffer solutions for pH probes
  • Non-chemical diagnostic materials

Suggested Additional fields
Sub location: shelf, cabinet or other location the chemical is stored for faster localization while working.
Date received/date opened: keep track on how old a chemical is, useful for sensitive compounds degrading with time, and peroxide forming chemicals presenting hazards over time.
Purchaser: Person who can be asked advice on handling the chemical
Supplier: Faster identification of the chemical
Hazards: Pyrophoric, air sensitive, toxic, flammable, etc.
Expiration date: useful to know when to discard a chemical
Others: PO number, price, etc.

Complete a Chemical Inventory using available template linked below.  Do not forget to remove chemicals from the inventory that have been disposed or emptied!

The Chemical Inventory Template can be downloaded here.