Q) Can a broken thermometer or light bulb cause mercury poisoning?
A) Small amounts most likely won’t cause problems; however, if you breathe in mercury vapor, it can be absorbed into the bloodstream and cause symptoms such as a cough, breathlessness, chest pains, feeling irritable and nervous, shaking, coughing up blood, and breathing difficulties.
Q) Where can I dispose of miscellaneous household hazardous wastes (HHW), such as paint or gardening chemicals?
A) Some major municipalities have facilities to accept these types of waste for residents. If your community does not, please contact us to get a calendar of HHW events we participate in.
Q) What are some common materials that take a long time to degrade?
A) According to the Department of Energy, diapers take 500 to 600 years, Styrofoam cups take one million years or more, and aluminum cans take 200 to 500 years.
Q) What makes someone a HAZMAT employee?
A) A HAZMAT employee is any person employed by a company that deals with the management and disposal of hazardous materials. These employees must undergo training every three years that adheres to the regulations and criteria set forth by the federal government.
Q) What are some examples of hazardous materials?
A) A hazardous material is any substance with the potential to harm humans, animals, or the environment through direct or indirect interaction. There are many different hazardous materials, but some common examples are batteries, computers, fertilizers, and oil.
Q) How are hazardous materials regulated?
A) In the United States, hazardous materials are regulated through several governmental agencies, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHand the Department of Transportation. These two agencies implement regulations regarding chemical labeling, proper handling training, and transportation of materials.
Q) Can different hazardous and nonhazardous materials be stored together?
A) Yes! As long as each material has its own specific container and meets the requirements as stated on the relevant Safety Data Sheet, nearly any materials can be stored in the same facility. The only exception is combustible materials, which have specific parameters that must be met to ensure your facility’s safety.
Q) Do I need to keep records of my hazardous materials shipments?
A) Yes. Federal regulations require declarations of hazardous material shipments be kept for 24 calendar months, and they must also be readily available upon request to FAA Hazardous Materials Safety Program personnel.
Q) My company moved into a new lab containing unknown materials. Can we dispose of these ourselves?
A) If you ever come across an unknown material, it’s imperative you contact a qualified waste management company like CG Environmental as soon as possible. These materials could put you at enormous safety risks, and should you ignore them or attempt to clean them up without knowing what they are, you put yourself at legal and financial liability for the consequences.
Q) What are the legal consequences of violating HAZMAT laws?
A) Civil penalties, or fines, can be implemented up to a maximum of $50,000, with $250 as the minimum penalty. The only exception is training violations, for which the minimum is $450. Failure to pay the penalty can result in debt collection procedures.
Q) How do I know what to use for storing different hazardous materials?
A) OSHA implements extensive safety requirements for the storage of hazardous materials. It’s imperative that materials, especially corrosive or acidic ones, are stored in containers that will not dissolve, melt, or deteriorate from exposure to the material. The best way to pick these storage containers is to consult professional waste management companies like CG Environmental to get a consultation regarding your specific needs.
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