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I just wanted to ask, if any time, any of you have had any issues ordering hazardous chemicals in a laboratory located in the US.

Specially if you had any of your students or postdocs do it, since I recently saw that they run a background check on you for certain chemicals, so I was just wondering if this may backfire sometime in the nearby future.

I ask this because my PI had me order a couple of chemicals, but my Postdoc is in computer science, so not at all related with this, I wanted to know if this may jump in some future in a Green Card application? Perhaps I'm just being paranoid.

Do you have any experience in your laboratories with this kind of issues?

Thank you

  • How would the government know you ordered chemicals? – Bitwise Nov 16 '13 at 1:47
  • @Bitwise The US government would know it if the hazardous chemicals are in the import/export control list. – scaaahu Nov 16 '13 at 4:13
  • How could this backfire on you? You're going through all the proper channels, following all safety procedures, and not doing anything illegal... right? – Moriarty Nov 16 '13 at 4:58
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    I am not sure anyone here can answer this question unless he works for the related US government authority. People could have different experience. The issue had no impact on one person does not necessarily mean it has no impact on another person and vice versa. If you absolutely have to do it, take Moriarty's advice. Follow all procedures and do nothing illegal. – scaaahu Nov 16 '13 at 6:38
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  • If you mean order as in "sorting the bottles", then you anyways shouldn't do that unless you have the proper training so you know what you are doing. If I should give a paranoid guess: getting the training would have been the point that got you listed as owner of a "hazardous chemicals certificate". That's much easier from a large scale administrative point of view than knowing who entered which lab to touch a bottle at a nation-wide scale.

  • If you mean order as in "administrative task to buy things": This type of ordering does not imply physical access to the substances. Lists of people who do that would be full of secretaries and administrative/procurement/bookkeeping staff.

  • If you're trying to be paranoid: the other thing that is much easier to know than who actually enterd a particular lab is who is working in that group/building. From that point of view, you may already be listed as "possibly had access to X" if anyone from your lab does the order.

(Disclaimer: I'm German and in Germany and not overly worried what types of US visa I can have. However, I'm chemist, so if they list people in relation to harzardous substances, I'd expect to be listed by profession [or by my publication list/affiliations] anyways - even though taking also into account the amounts the most important hazardous substances I usually handle are alcohol/bacillol for cleaning instruments and the lab table.)

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