Lab Equipment Decontamination Guidelines

All instruments must be wiped down with soap and water or Simple Green solution. A visible examination should be made to check for evidence of spills. All instruments must be cleaned of all visible residue and encrusted material.

In addition, a potential hazard determination must be made regarding the materials currently and previously used or stored in the instrument/equipment being dispositioned. Some potential hazards include but are not limited to:

  • Chemical
  • Radioactive
  • Infectious Biohazard
  1. Where there is the potential for HAZARDOUS CHEMICAL CONTAMINATION customer must initiate a material appropriate decontamination process. It is important that laboratory personnel properly decontaminate their laboratory equipment from hazardous chemicals (flammable, corrosive, reactive, toxic) prior to allowing the moving contractor to transport the equipment to BioSurplus. It is important to check every piece of laboratory equipment that once held chemical samples to insure that any remaining samples or standards have been removed. If any laboratory equipment has appreciable chemical contamination on the outside surface which would present a hazard to anyone handling it, the equipment needs to be properly decontaminated with soap and water or Simple Green by the customer / supplier.
  2. For items used in conjunction or in contact with RADIOACTIVE materials, insure that no radioactivity may be detected with survey equipment and/or incidental swipe tests.
  3. Where INFECTIOUS / BIOHAZARDOUS materials were used or suspected, disinfect all surfaces with material specific effective disinfectants.
  4. When hazards have been successfully removed by decontamination, remove all hazard warning labels or signs.
  5. The customer must complete and sign a Decontamination Certificate designating the equipment as clean. A copy of the completed certification document must accompany all equipment received by BioSurplus whether as new supply or returned goods. For a larger list of instruments, a letter signed by an officer of the company stating that all instruments in the contract Exhibit (the list should be attached to the letter) have been cleaned and is free from any contaminants. BioSurplus, at its sole discretion may require additional documentation for certain instruments.

Equipment Checklist

  • Refrigerators and Freezers. Remove all contents, to include mercury thermometers, chemical reagents, radioactive isotopes. Dispose of any frozen tissues or specimens must be treated either by incineration, by autoclave and /or pickup by a qualified biohazard waste vendor. Defrost the refrigerator/ freezer if there is a buildup of ice around the freezer compartment. Decontaminate if equipment held any radioactive isotopes, infectious agents or toxic chemicals. Follow Radiation Decontamination for surveying refrigerators which stored radioactive isotopes. The units must be completely empty prior to being moved.
  • Ovens. Remove all mercury thermometers or containers holding samples or liquids. For outdated ovens, check the lining for the presence of asbestos (inhalation hazard).
  • Incubators. Remove any remaining samples and drain the water from the jacket and any pans. Remove mercury thermometers. Laboratory equipment which was used for infectious agents must be wiped down with appropriate disinfectant or have a professional decontamination with paraformaldehyde performed. Radioactive isotopes or hazardous chemicals must be properly decontaminated by the researchers.
  • Biosafety Cabinets. Remove any tubing and glassware connected to the hood. Wipe the workspace and walls with soap and water or a simple green solution. Have the biosafety cabinet professionally decontaminated with a paraformaldehyde or comparable treatment.
  • Centrifuges. Inspect for centrifuge tubes holding water or samples to insure they have been removed from the rotor system. Centrifuges which were used with infectious agents, radioactive isotopes or hazardous chemicals must be properly decontaminated.
  • Water baths. Drain the water from the unit and remove any remaining samples or mercury thermometers.
  • Balances or scales. Wipe clean to remove any remaining chemical contamination inside the balance or on the scale.
  • Chemical storage cabinets such as flammable or corrosive cabinets must have all the chemical containers removed prior to moving the cabinet. Decontaminate the chemical storage cabinet of any remaining spills or residues.
  • Chemical / Fume Hoods. Must have all the chemical containers removed prior to moving. Decontaminate the cabinets and workspace of any remaining spills or residues.
  • Vacuum pumps contain vacuum pump oil. Vacuum oil which is grossly contaminated with toxic chemicals or other hazardous materials should be drained into an appropriate waste can.
  • Heating blocks need to have samples and mercury thermometers removed. If necessary, decontaminate the heating block.
  • Photo-processing equipment usually has three storage tanks holding caustic developer, acidic photographic fixer and rinse water. Drain the storage tanks into appropriate chemical waste can (also supply and drain hoses) prior to the move.
  • Silver recovery cartridges which are connected to photo-processing units contain slightly acidic photographic fixer and silver salts. Have the silver recovery cartridge recycled through your supplier.
  • Gas chromatographs (GC) which have electron capture detectors contain a radioactive source.
  • High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) may have containers, solvent lines, and columns that may contain organic solvents. Drain the columns and waste lines into appropriate chemical waste container. Wash system and columns thoroughly with DI water.
  • Tissue dehydrating units. Remove or drain all the ethanol and xylene from the storage tanks. Dispose the solvents through Health & Safety as chemical waste. Paraffin wax and tissue samples may also need to be removed from the tissue dehydrating unit.
  • Colorimeters may contain cuvets holding liquids (remove them).
  • Spectrophotometers may have automatic sample feeders holding sample containers or standards (remove them). Flush lines with DI water if applicable.
  • Desiccators may contain drying agents (Drierite, NaOH, phosphorus pentoxide). Discard the spent drying agents in appropriate waste container.
  • Water purification systems. Remove all the free standing water from the water purification cartridges prior to the move.
  • Automated Liquid handling systems may contain toxic compounds that were involved in the small molecule drug screening (may be inhalant hazard). Wipe down all surfaces. Drain any liquids from system. Rinse lines with copious amounts of DI water.

The above document is strictly a guideline and may not be inclusive of all hazards. It is the responsibility of the company (owner of the equipment) to ensure that all equipment is certified as clean and free from all contamination.