Procedures for Using Particularly Hazardous Chemicals (PHC) in Rodents


This procedure describes prudent practices, procedures and equipment to reduce risk when introducing Particularly Hazardous Chemicals (PHC) in laboratory rodents. Specific precautions will vary depending on the PHC, dose, route of administration and metabolism of the PHC. At UCSF, carcinogenic and/or chemotherapeutic PHCs used in rodents are of particular concern (including tamoxifen, 5-FU, etc.). Read the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) and researcher-generated Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) prior to handling a PHC.

  1. PI must ensure all laboratory personnel receive appropriate/applicable training prior to beginning animal work involving the PHC. Upload signed Safety Training Verification document to the CUA.
  2. Lab personnel must inform LARC supervisor prior to using PHC in rodents. EH&S may call a safety consideration meeting if needed to discuss safety concerns regarding PHC with LARC, IACUC and/or lab personnel.
  3. Preparations and/or dilutions of the PHC must be performed by lab staff in a chemical fume hood located in the lab (not at LARC locations).
  4. Before administering the PHC on rodents, lab staff must post a carcinogen or chemical hazard label on the cage card which will include the chemical full name and date of administration. Label must remain on the cage for one week (see sample label below).
  5. Rodents may be housed in standard animal housing rooms.
  6. Lab staff must wear PPE as specified in the SDS and lab specific SOP. Minimum requirements will include lab coats or gowns, gloves (check SDS for guidance on glove selection) and safety glasses or safety goggles.
  7. During the first week after the PHC administration, lab staff must provide husbandry care for the rodents. LARC staff may only be involved in emergency situations. Refer to # 6 above for PPE requirements.
  8. One week after last PHC administration, lab staff must: 
  • Transfer rodents to clean cages
  • Remove all hazard label(s) from used rodent cages
  • Dispose of dirty bedding as hazardous chemical waste. Dumping of bedding must be performed in a biosafety cabinet or chemical fume hood.
  • Decontaminate dirty cages and surfaces with a bleach solution

  9. After step # 8 has been completed, rodents are treated as non-hazardous animals. At this time, LARC staff will provide husbandry care for the rodents.

 10. In the event of an exposure to the PHC:

  • Wash exposed areas with copious amounts of water or rinse in eyewash for a minimum of 15 minutes
  • For acute and/or severe injuries, seek medical attention at the nearest Emergency Department.
  • Perform first aid if applicable and notify supervisor
  • For more information, contact the California Poison Control Hotline (1-800-222-1222)

11. Lab staff must dispose of sharps in a sharps container. Hazardous waste (including bedding) must be contained in clear trash bags (not red biohazard bags) which must be transported back to your lab for eventual pick-up by EH&S.

12. Rodent carcasses must be disposed as pathological waste for incineration.


Carcinogen or Chemical Hazard labels can be obtained from LARC supervisors.

Contact Peili Zhu at 514-2824 ( for questions.

Posted: July 2015