High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) is an analytical technique used in laboratories to separate, identify, and quantify components in a mixture. Used across a spectrum of industries, including pharmaceutical, industrial, forensic and environmental health applications, this technique involves passing a sample through a column packed with particles, which interact with the sample's components based on their properties, enabling separation.
HPLC is a highly effective analytical technique, but how do laboratories manage the chemical waste and hazardous materials generated?
The Dangers of HPLC Chemical Waste
HPLC chemical waste is hazardous. The solvents used in the analysis, such as acetonitrile, hexane, and methanol, are often flammable, creating a fire hazard. Additionally, samples injected for testing could pose health risks to laboratory personnel.
OSHA, NFPA and EPA hazardous waste regulations require hazardous waste containers to be closed and sealed, except when adding or removing waste. But that’s not always the case. Some labs engage in dangerous waste collection practices, such as running waste lines into an open bucket, a glass carboy, or solvent containers, with sometimes nothing, or at most, aluminum foil or Parafilm stretched around the bottle’s neck opening to create a seal.
Improper collection and management of hazardous and corrosive waste pose risks to people and property. Laboratories need to adopt safe HPLC chemical waste disposal solutions to mitigate these safety concerns.
HPLC Flammable Hazardous Waste Cans Keep Lab Personnel Safe
HPLC safety disposal cans from Justrite can receive hazardous materials and waste from multiple HPLC machines. Each can has two quick-disconnect fittings - one intake and one vent. Valves automatically close when disconnected to prevent the release of vapors or flammable liquids.
A coalescing carbon filter attaches to the vent fitting and removes harmful gases, protecting lab personnel from adverse health effects. The filter is 99 percent effective in removing liquid particulates released as vapors. The carbon part of the filter changes color when spent.
A PTFE manifold with compression fittings is available for the inlet connection. The manifold accepts up to six waste lines to discharge into the can. A second manifold connects to the first to enable multiple HPLC machines to attach to a single safety disposal can. Cans with stainless steel fittings feature manifolds with up to four waste connections.
HPLC safety disposal cans have a large pouring spout with a stainless-steel flame arrestor. A spring-loaded lid provides pressure relief and prevents explosions. An easy-carrying handle with a fixed position latch keeps the lid open for easy and controlled pouring.
Justrite’s HPLC hazardous chemical waste containers are FM approved. As a third-party testing and certification agency, FM Approvals evaluates products to ensure they meet the highest standards for property loss prevention and safety.
Industries that Use HPLC Equipment
HPLC equipment serves critical functions across diverse industries:
In the pharmaceutical sector, the accurate labeling of drug components is vital for ensuring safe usage. HPLC equipment plays a pivotal role in scrutinizing pills and pharmaceutical products, enabling personnel to identify impurities and confirm compositions with a high degree of precision. Pharmaceutical waste generated from HPLC can include solvents, buffers and other chemicals and liquid waste.
The food and beverage industry benefits from HPLC equipment in ensuring the safety of consumables. Scientists utilize it to measure sugar levels, detect vitamins, and identify harmful substances.
In the realm of forensic science, HPLC equipment helps analyze compounds present in human bodily fluids and tissues, aiding in the identification of causes of death, infections, and potential organic poisons. This enhances the efficiency of investigative processes.
Environmental testing relies extensively on HPLC in detecting pollutants within the atmosphere, water, and soil, including arsenic, heavy metals, and residual pesticides. This application contributes significantly to monitoring and addressing environmental challenges related to pollution. It is especially useful with helping the EPA monitor and assess potential contaminants and pollutants.
VaporTrap™ Solvent Waste Systems Collect Non-Flammable Chemical Waste from HPLC Machines
Justrite VaporTrap Solvent Waste Systems consist of a HDPE carboy and two 83-mm polypropylene caps (one with a ported adapter for waste collection and the other closed for safe transport). Various ports and fittings attach to the adapter for waste collection. Its carbon filter prevents volatile organic compounds vapors from releasing into the air.
HPLC chemical waste lines connect directly to the cap adapter to channel the waste into the carboy. Once full, remove the adapter from the cap to maintain the leak-proof system.
The carbon filter attaches to any of the standard ports on the adapter. It fits upright or at a 90-degree angle for space limitations.
For safe transport of hazardous liquids, Justrite offers VaporTrap UN/DOT Solvent Waste Systems. The carboy is UN/DOT rated and the HDPE cap has a UN rating of 3H1/Y1.8/100. These systems are specifically designed for packaging group II and hazardous chemicals.
Handle HPLC Chemical Waste with Care
When handling HPLC waste in laboratories, always follow safety methods to ensure the protection of personnel, the environment, and compliance with regulations. Some key tips for staying safe include:
- Proper waste segregation: It is important to segregate different types of HPLC waste based on their properties, such as flammable, corrosive, or toxic. This helps prevent reactions between incompatible waste and facilitates appropriate disposal.
- Adequate waste container selection: Choose waste containers that are suitable for the type of waste being handled. For example, flammable waste should be stored in flammable liquid containers, while corrosive waste should be stored in chemically resistant containers.
- Secure and labeled containers: Ensure that waste containers are securely closed and labeled with relevant hazard information, including the type of waste, hazards, and accumulation start date.
- Proper storage: Store waste containers in well-ventilated areas away from ignition sources, and compatible with the hazards of the waste. Flammable waste should be stored in approved flammable storage cabinets, while corrosive waste should be kept separate from other waste streams. But remember, not any empty container will do. Be sure to use container specifically for hazardous waste storage.
- Training and awareness: Provide comprehensive training to laboratory personnel on proper handling, storage, and disposal procedures for HPLC waste. This includes educating them on the hazards associated with different types of waste and the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Regular waste disposal: Ensure that HPLC waste is disposed of in accordance with local regulations and guidelines. This may involve working with licensed waste management vendors or utilizing on-site treatment methods, such as chemical treatment or incineration.
- Emergency response planning: Develop and communicate clear procedures for responding to spills, leaks, or other hazardous situations involving HPLC waste. This includes providing access to emergency response equipment, such as secondary containment, spill kits and safety showers, and having protocols in place to address incidents promptly.
HPLC machines add great value to laboratory work. Justrite HPLC chemical waste disposal solutions help labs take advantage of their benefits. They also contribute to a safer workplace. Sealed safety cans and carboys with leak-proof systems ensure HPLC waste stays where it belongs. Coalescing carbon filters even make sure the vapors pose no risk to laboratory workers.