In the past few decades the progress in biomedical research and clinical diagnostics has necessitated the use of a wide range of chemicals to further our understanding of biological processes. The majority of the chemicals used in biomedical research laboratories are in types or quantities which pose only minimal hazards. However, there are a few chemicals which require special safe handling procedures.
Prudent Practices in the Laboratory, Handling and Disposal of Chemicals (National Research Council, 1995) defines the issues best by stating:
The laboratory has become the center for acquiring knowledge and developing new materials for future use, as well as for monitoring and controlling those chemicals currently used routinely in thousands of commercial processes. Many of these chemicals are beneficial, but others have the potential to cause damage to human health and the environment, and therefore also to public attitude toward the chemical enterprise on which we all so heavily depend. (more)