Last Revised: January 24, 2022

Revision 1/2022 (K. Brown)

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Hazard Description

Hazard Description

A carcinogen commonly describes any agent that can initiate or speed the development of malignant or potentially malignant tumors, malignant neoplastic proliferation of cells, or cells that possess such material. 

The OSHA Lab Standard defines a “Select Carcinogen” as any substance, which meets one of the following criteria:

(i) It is regulated by OSHA as a carcinogen; or

(ii) It is listed under the category, "known to be carcinogens," in the Annual Report on Carcinogens published by the National Toxicology Program (NTP) (latest edition); or

(iii) It is listed under Group 1 ("carcinogenic to humans") by the International Agency for Research on Cancer Monographs (IARC) (latest editions); or

(iv) It is listed in either Group 2A or 2B by IARC or under the category, "reasonably anticipated to be carcinogens" by NTP, and causes statistically significant tumor incidence in experimental animals in accordance with any of the following criteria:

  • (A) After inhalation exposure of 6-7 hours per day, 5 days per week, for a significant portion of a lifetime to dosages of less than 10 mg/m(3);
  • (B) After repeated skin application of less than 300 (mg/kg of body weight) per week; or
  • (C) After oral dosages of less than 50 mg/kg of body weight per day.

With regard to mixtures, OSHA requires that a mixture, “shall be assumed to present a carcinogenic hazard if it contains a component in concentrations of 0.1% or greater, which is considered to be carcinogenic.”

Interpreting the SDS

Consult the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for each chemical to determine whether there is a human carcinogen hazard.

Carcinogenic materials labeled according to the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) will have a container label and SDS that shows the "Health Hazard Pictogram"

GHS health hazard pictogram red bordered diamond with white starburst on black silhouette of human torso
         Health Hazard

Under GHS, carcinogens are categorized as either known/presumed carcinogens (Category 1) or suspected carcinogens (Category 2). Category 1 is subdivided further based on whether the evidence for classification is mostly from human (1A) or animal (1B) data.

The procedures in this SOP apply to all known or suspected carcinogenic chemicals used in the laboratory.

To identify the chemicals with this hazard in your ChemTracker chemical inventory, use the instructions in EHRS Tip Sheet:  Completing a Hazard List Analysis.

Approvals

Approvals

If you or your lab has not worked with this hazard before and you are considering a procedure that requires you to do so, we recommend contacting EHRS for guidance.

All work that involves the handling or transfer of carcinogenic chemicals requires the approval of the P.I.  The P.I. must ensure that the person or team who will be working with the carcinogenic chemicals understands the hazards and has received adequate training and supervision for the procedure.   For any task that requires safety controls beyond those specified in this SOP, a task-specific Hazard Control Plan (HCP) must be written.  The HCP must be sent to EHRS for review.  EHRS will upload the HCP to the “documents” section of the lab’s BioRAFT page.

Training Requirements

Training Requirements

No researcher may work independently with the hazardous material described in this SOP until the Principal Investigator (or their designee) has ensured that the researcher:

  • Has completed all required EHRS laboratory safety training programs
  • Understands the hazards of the materials and risks of the processes involved
  • Has read and understand the contents of this SOP
  • Demonstrates the ability to execute their work according to the requirements in this SOP
Facility Requirements

Facility Requirements

General Ventilation

Carcinogenic chemicals may not be handled or stored in a room or facility with recirculating exhaust.

Chemical Fume Hood

All work with carcinogenic  chemicals in open or closed systems must be done in a designated area of a laboratory inside of a properly functioning chemical fume hood.

Emergency Irrigation

Emergency irrigation (safety shower, eyewash) must be accessible within a 10-second travel distance of the area where the work is performed.

Signage and Labeling

Signage and Labeling

The room sign for the laboratory must contain a “Designated Area” identifier.

In cases where the entire lab is not already considered a Designated Area, all locations within the laboratory where acutely toxic chemicals are handled must be demarcated with designated area caution tape and/or posted with designated area caution signs.  Designated area caution tape is available from EHRS, the Cell Center, the Chemistry stockroom, or can be made by writing "designated area" on label tape. This includes all fume hoods and bench tops where the carcinogenic chemicals are handled.

A legible manufacturer’s label including hazard information must be present on all commercial containers of carcinogenic chemicals.

If carcinogenic chemicals are transferred to another container for storage or to make stock solutions for later use, special labeling requirements apply.  See the “Researcher-Created Labels” section in Section IV:  Chemical Container Labeling in this CHP for a complete list of requirements.

Storage and Transport

Storage and Transport

Proper storage and transport of carcinogenic Chemicals must be determined by assessing all of the hazards and physical properties of the chemical. 

See Section VI:  Chemical Storage and Transportation in this CHP for a complete list of requirements.

Hazard Controls

Hazard Controls

Engineering Controls

Chemical Fume Hood

All work with carcinogenic chemicals in open or closed systems must be done in a designated area of a laboratory inside of a properly functioning chemical fume hood.

The fume hood is designed to capture chemical vapor and the hood sash acts as a shield in case of chemical splash.  The sash must be kept closed as much as feasible.

Vacuum Protection

Mechanical vacuum pumps must be protected using cold traps and, where appropriate, must include a filter to prevent particulate release.  The pump exhaust must be vented into an approved exhaust duct or chemical fume hood.

Glove Box

Certain acutely toxic chemicals must be handled in a glove box rather than a fume hood. The Office of Environmental Health and Radiation Safety (8-4453) or the Principal Investigator will determine if this is required.

If a chemical fume hood or glove box is not available, contact EHRS to determine whether the risks can be adequately controlled using alternative controls.

Work Practices

A list of recommended work practices for hazardous chemical handling is included in Section V: Chemical Handling in this CHP. Of particular relevance to carcinogenic  chemical use:

Considerations for purchase

  • Do not use carcinogenic  chemicals if less-hazardous alternatives are possible.
  • Purchase, dispense, and use the smallest quantity of carcinogenic chemicals possible. 
  • Purchase the lowest concentration of carcinogenic chemicals that will meet your research needs.

Considerations for work space

  • Use disposable work surface covers (“bench protectors”) in areas where carcinogenic chemicals are handled to prevent contamination of work surface.  Change bench protectors daily when carcinogenic chemicals are used, and properly dispose of contaminated covers.

Considerations for handling

  • Do not handle carcinogenic chemicals when working alone.
  • Immediately close all containers of carcinogenic chemicals after use.
  • Due to the risk of splashes and equipment failures, not use a syringe and needle to perform transfers of carcinogenic chemicals in volumes of greater than 5 mL. 
  • Do not dispense carcinogeni  chemicals directly onto a laboratory balance in the general lab space.  Instead, transfer the material into a sealable, pre-tared container inside the fume hood; then take the sealed container to the balance.  Adjust the amount of material inside the container until the desired mass is reached.  Make all adjustments inside the fume hood.
  • The use of carcinogenic chemicals in laboratory animals may require additional work practice controls.  Contact EHRS if your protocol involves acutely toxic chemicals.

Additional work practices for reducing the risks of any lab procedure involving carcinogenic chemicals must be described in a written Hazard Control Plan.

Personal Protective Equipment

Consider the potential routes of exposure and health consequences when selecting personal protective equipment (PPE) for tasks involving carcinogenic chemicals. 

In addition to the minimum lab apparel and PPE requirements, other protective equipment may be necessary to reduce risks.  When additional equipment (such as tight-fitting chemical splash goggles, chemical-resistant gloves, or disposable lab coats) are required, a Hazard Control Plan must be written to document the risk assessment and controls.

Contact EHRS for assistance with risk assessments, glove compatibility, and other PPE selection.

The minimum PPE requirements for all chemical handling tasks, and information about specialty PPE can be found in the "Personal Protective Equipment" section of Section V:  Chemical Handling in this CHP.

Waste and Decontamination

Waste and Decontamination

Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling any chemical and whenever you leave the lab.

Use good housekeeping practices to avoid contamination of surfaces, garments, personal belongings, and self.

Decontaminate all surfaces that have come in contact with carcinogenic chemicals and clean-up small spills promptly.  See the chemical Safety Data Sheet or contact EHRS for assistance with determining an appropriate decontamination method.  See “Spills” below for instruction on what to do in the event of a large or hazardous spill of a carcinogenic chemical.

For complete hazardous waste guidelines, see the waste section of the EHRS website: Laboratory Chemical Waste Management Guidelines

Emergencies

Emergencies

Emergency Contacts

General emergency response information can be found at Emergency Info

Spills

General procedures for chemicals spill response can be found in Section X: Chemical Spills in this CHP.

Do not hesitate to call EHRS for assistance with spill cleanup for carcinogenic materials.

24 hours: 215-898-4453

Contact Penn Police (511) only if the spill involves a fire, imminent risk of fire, an injury requiring an ambulance, or if there is a hazard that may affect others in the building.

Examples of Carcinogenic Materials

List of Select and Suspected Carcinogens

This list is provided as a guide and is not all inclusive. Carefully review safety data sheets before working with chemicals.

Chemical Name
A-alpha-C (2-Amino-9H-pyrido{2,3-b]indole)
Acetaldehyde
Acetamide
Acetochlor
2-Acetylaminofluorene
Acifluorfen
Acrylamide
Acrylonitrile
Actinomycin D
Adriamycin (Doxorubicin hydrochloride)
AF-2; [2-(2-furyl)-3-(5-nitro-2-furyl)]acrylamide
Aflatoxins
Alachlor
Aldrin
Allyl chloride
2-Aminoanthraquinone
p-Aminoazobenzene
ortho-Aminoazotoluene
4-Aminobiphenyl (4-aminodiphenyl)
3-Amino-9-ethylcarbazole hydrochloride
1-Amino-2-methylanthraquinone
2-Amino-5-(5-nitro-2-furyl)-1,3,4-thiadiazole
Amitrole
Aniline
ortho-Anisidine
ortho-Anisidine hydrochloride
Antimony oxide (Antimony trioxide)
Aramite
Arsenic (inorganic arsenic compounds)
Asbestos
Auramine
Azaserine
Azathioprine
Azacitidine
Azobenzene
Benz[a]anthracene
Benzene
Benzidine [and its salts]
Benzo [b] fluoranthene
Benzo [j] fluoranthene
Benzo [k] fluoranthene
Benzofuran
Benzo [a] pyrene
Benzotrichloride
Benzyl chloride
Benzyl violet 4B
Beryllium and beryllium compounds
Betel quid with tobacco
Bis(2-chloroethyl)ether
N,N,-Bis(2-chloroethyl)-2-naphthylamine (Chlornapazine)
Bischloroethyl nitrosourea (BCNU) (Carmustine)
Bis (chloromethyl) ether
Bitumens, extracts of steam-refined and air-refined
Bracken fern
Bromodichloromethane
Bromoform
1,3-Butadiene
1,4-Butanediol dimethanesulfonate (Busulfan)
Butylated hydroxyanisole
vbeta-Butyrolactone
Cadmium and cadmium compounds
Captafol
Captan
Carbon tetrachloride
Carbon-black extracts
Ceramic fibers
Chlorambucil
Chloramphenicol
Chlordane
Chlordecone (Kepone)
Chlordimeform
Chlorendic acid
Chlorinated paraffins
Chlorodibromethane
Chloroethane (Ethyl chloride)
1-(2-Chloroethyl)-3-cyclohexyl-1-nitrosourea
1-(2-Chloroethyl)-3-(4-methylcyclohexyl)-1-nitrosourea (Methyl-CCNU)
Chloroform
Chloromethyl methyl ether
3-Chloro-2-methylpropene
4-Chloro-ortho-phenylenediamine
p-Chloro-o-toluidine
Chlorothalonil
Chlorozotocin
Chromium (hexavalent)
Chrysene
C. I. Acid Red 114
C. I. Basic Red 9 monohydrochloride
Ciclosporin (Cyclosporin A; Cyclosporine)
Cinnamyl anthranilate
Cisplatin
Citrus Red No. 2
Cobalt metal powder
Cobalt [II] oxide
Conjugated estrogens
Creosotes
para-Cresidine
Cupferron
Cycasin
Cyclophosphamide (anhydrous)
Cyclophosphamide (hydrated)
D&C Orange No. 17
D&C Red No. 8
D&C Red No. 9
D&C Red No. 19
Dacarbazine
Daminozide
Dantron (Chrysazin; 1,8-Dihydroxyanthraquinone)
Daunomycin
DDD (Dichlorodiphenyldichloroethane)
DDE (Dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene)
DDT (Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane)
DDVP (Dichlorvos)
N,N'-Diacetylbenzidine
2,4-Diaminoanisole
2,4-Diaminoanisole sulfate
4,4'-Diaminodiphenyl ether (4,4'-Oxydianiline)
2,4-Diaminotoluene
Diaminotoluene (mixed)
Dibenz[a,h]acridine
Dibenz[a,j]acridine
Dibenz[a,h]anthracene
7H-Dibenzo[c,g]carbazole
Dibenzo[a,e]pyrene
Dibenzo[a,h]pyrene
Dibenzo[a,i]pyrene
Dibenzo[a,l]pyrene
1,2-Dibromo-3-chloropropane (DBCP)
p-Dichlorobenzene
3,3'-Dichlorobenzidine
1,4-Dichloro-2-butene
3,3'-Dichloro-4,4'-diaminodiphenyl ether
1,1-Dichloroethane
Dichloromethane (Methylene chloride)
1,2-Dichloropropane
1,3-Dichloropropene
Dieldrin
Dienestrol
Diepoxybutane
Diesel engine exhaust
Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate
1,2-Diethylhydrazine
Diethyl sulfate
Diethylstilbestrol
Diglycidyl resorcinol ether (DGRE)
Dihydrosafrole
3,3'-Dimethoxybenzidine (ortho-Dianisidine)
3,3'-Dimethoxybenzidine dihydrochloride (ortho-Dianisidine dihydrochloride)
Dimethylcarbamoyl chloride
1,1-Dimethylhydrazine (UDMH)
1,2-Dimethylhydrazine
Dimethylvinylchloride
1,6-Dinitropyrene
1,8-Dinitropyrene
2,4-Dinitrotoluene
1,4-Dioxane
Diphenylhydantoin (Phenytoin)
Diphenylhydantoin (Phenytoin), sodium salt
Direct Black 38 (technical grade)
Direct Blue 6 (technical grade)
Direct Brown 95 (technical grade)
Disperse Blue 1
Epichlorohydrin
Erionite
Estradiol 17β
Estrone
Ethinylestradiol
Ethyl acrylate
Ethyl methanesulfonate
Ethyl-4-4'-dichlorobenzilate
Ethylene dibromide
Ethylene dichloride (1,2-Dichloroethane)
Ethylene oxide
Ethylene thiourea
Ethyleneimine
Folpet
Formaldehyde
2-(2-Formylhydrazino)-4-(5-nitro-2-furyl)thiazole
Furazolidone
Furmecyclox
Glu-P-1 (2-Amino-6-methyldipyrido[1,2-a:3',2'- d]imidazole)
Glycidaldehyde
Glycidol
Griseofulvin
Gyromitrin (Acetaldehyde methylformylhydrazone)
HC Blue 1
Heptachlor
Heptachlor epoxide
Hexachlorobenzene
Hexachlorocyclohexane (technical grade)
Hexachlorodibenzodioxin
Hexachloroethane
Hexamethylphosphoramide
Hydrazine
Hydrazine sulfate
Hydrazobenzene (1,2-Diphenylhydrazine)
Indeno [1,2,3-cd]pyrene
IQ (2-Amino-3-methylimidazp[4,5-f]quinoline)
Iron dextran complex
Isosafrole
Lactofen
Lasiocarpine
Lead acetate
Lead phosphate
Lead subacetate
Lindane
Mancozeb
Maneb
Me-A-alpha-C (2-Amino-3-methyl-9H-pyrido[2,3-b]indole)
Medroxyprogesterone acetate
Melphalan
Merphalan
Mestranol
8-Methoxypsoralen with ultraviolet A therapy
5-Methoxypsoralen with ultraviolet A therapy
2-Methylaziridine (Propyleneimine)
Methylazoxymethanol
Methylazoxymethanol acetate
3-Methylcholanthrene
5-Methylchrysene
4,4'-Methylene bis(2-chloroaniline)
4,4'-Methylene bis(N,N-dimethyl)benzenamine
4,4'-Methylene bis(2-methylaniline)
4,4'-Methylenedianiline
4,4'-Methylenedianiline dihydrochloride
Methylhydrazine and its salts
Methyl iodide
Methyl methanesulfonate
2-Methyl-1-nitroanthraquinone
N-Methyl-N'-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine
N-Methylolacrylamide
Methylthiouracil
Metiram
Metronidazole
Michler's ketone
Mirex
Mitomycin C
Monocrotaline
5-(Morpholinomethyl)-3-[(5-nitro-furfurylidene)-amino]-2 -oxalolidinone
Mustard Gas
Nafenopin
1-Naphthylamine
2-Naphthylamine
Nickel and certain nickel compounds
Nickel carbonyl
Nickel subsulfide
Niridazole
Nitrilotriacetric acid
Nitrilotriacetric acid, trisodium salt monohydrate
5-Nitroacenaphthene
5-Nitro-o-anisidine
4-Nitrobiphenyl
6-Nitrochrysene
Nitrofen (technical grade)
2-Nitrofluorene
Nitrofurazone
1-[5-Nitrofurfurylidene)-amino]-2-imidazolidinone
N-[4-(5-Nitro-2-furyl)-2-thiazolyl]acetamide
Nitrogen mustard (Mechlorethamine)
Nitrogen mustard hydrochloride (Mechlorethamine hydrochloride)
Nitrogen mustard N-oxide
Nitrogen mustard N-oxide hydrochloride
2-Nitropropane
1-Nitropyrene
4-Nitropyrene
N-Nitrosodi-n-butylamine
N-Nitrosodiethanolamine
N-Nitrosodiethylamine
N-Nitrosodimethylamine
p-Nitrosodiphenylamine
N-Nitrosodiphenylamine
N-Nitrosodi-n-propylamine
N-Nitroso-N-ethylurea
3-(N-Nitrosomethylamino)propionitrile
4-(N-Nitrosomethylamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)1-butanone
N-Nitrosomethylethylamine
N-Nitroso-N-methylurea
N-Nitroso-N-methylurethane
N-Nitrosomethylvinylamine
N-Nitrosomorpholine
N-Nitrosonornicotine
N-Nitrosopiperidine
N-Nitrosopyrrolidine
N-Nitrososarcosine
Norethisterone (Norethindrone)
Ochratoxin A
Oxadiazon
Oxymetholone
Panfuran S
Pentachlorophenol
Phenacetin
Phenazopyridine
Phenazopyridine hydrochloride
Phenesterin
Phenobarbital
Phenoxybenzamine
Phenoxybenzamine hydrochloride
Phenyl glycidyl ether
Phenylhydrazine and its salts
o-Phenylphenate, sodium
Polybrominated biphenyls
Polychlorinated biphenyls
Polygeenan
Ponceau MX
Ponceau 3R
Potassium bromate
Procarbazine
Procarbazine hydrochloride
Progesterone
1,3-Propane sultone
beta-Propiolactone
Propylene oxide
Propylthiouracil
Reserpine
Saccharin
Saccharin, sodium
Safrole
Selenium sulfide
Silica, crystalline
Streptozotocin
Styrene oxide
Sulfallate
Talc� containing asbestiform fibers
Testosterone and its esters
2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-para-dioxin (TCDD)
1,1,2,2-Tetrachloroethane
Tetrachloroethylene (Perchloroethylene)
p-a, a, a-Tetrachlorotoluene
Tetranitromethane
Thioacetamide
4,4� - Thiodianiline
Thiourea
Thorium dioxide
Toluene diisocyanate
ortho-Toluidine
ortho-Toluidine hydrochloride
para-Toluidine
Toxaphene (Polychorinated camphenes)
Trasulfan
Trichlormethine (Trimustine hydrochloride)
2,4,6-Trichlorophenol
Triphenyltin hydroxide
Trichloroethylene
Tris (aziridinyl)-para-benzoquinone (Triaziquone)
Tris (1-aziridinyl) phosphine sulfide (Thiotepa)
Tris (2-chloroethyl) phosphate
Tris (2,3-dibromopropyl) phosphate
Trp-P-1 (Tryptophan-P-1)
Trp-P-2 (Tryptophan-P-2)
Trypan blue (commercial grade)
Uracil mustard
Urethane (Ethyl carbamate)
Vinyl bromide
Vinyl chloride
4-Vinyl-1-cyclohexene diepoxide (Vinyl cyclohexene dioxide)
Vinyl trichloride (1,1,2-Trichloroethane)
2,6-Xylidine (2,6-Dimethylaniline)
Zineb
Related SOPs and Fact Sheets

Related SOPs and Fact Sheets

Phenol-Chloroform Extraction

References

References

This SOP was based on the previous version of EHRS SOP for Carcinogens and the following additional resources:

  1. International Agency for Research on Cancer
  2. OSHA's Guide to The Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS)
  3. OSHA Lab Standard

 

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