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Laboratories without waste

In chemical companies, the treatment of chemical waste has been common for years. As it is still a rarity in research institutes, FAPESP’s Board approved an Infrastructure Program for Treating Chemical Waste, at the meeting of June 14, with a budget of US$ 10 million, to encourage the proper disposal of waste material used in teaching and research. Among these are chlorine solvents, already banned on some countries in Europe, ether, hexane, toluene, benzene, and heavy metal waste such as lead, mercury, cobalt, and cadmium. The waste can be disposed off directly, untreated, “only in exceptional cases”, observes Hans Viertler, a member of FAPESP’s Chemical Coordination, that contributed by preparing the program, jointly with other specialists from universities and institutes in São Paulo. A requirement for research centers wishing to join this program is to submit a Program for Managing Laboratory Waste, which must include the purchase of equipment, staff training, the adaptation of premises, and plans for the analysis, treatment, disposal, and reduction of waste.