In a memo, dated 12/10/99, the Radiation Safety Committee reported a significant increase in prices for the disposal of liquid scintillation fluid waste.  What this means for Vanderbilt is a more complicated segregation scheme based on radioisotope half-life and the need to eliminate the use of hazardous scintillation fluid. These changes should not affect the majority of laboratories as they already use biodegradable scintillation fluid and segregate vials by radioisotope.  To minimize the impact of these increased costs, you should use biodegradable liquid scintillation cocktail (LSC) whenever possible.  

If you are a Principal Investigator who needs to use hazardous scintillation cocktail for your particular research purposes, you must justify this use by submitting an amendment to your radioactive materials use permit to radsafety@vanderbilt.edu.

Minimization of LSC Waste

1. Always segregate radioisotopes by half-life.
Waste Type Segregation Category
Deregulated Vials 3H and 14C < 0.05 :Ci/ml
NRC-Regulated Vials Half-life less than 30 days
Half-life 30 - 109 days
Half-life greater than 109 days

If you decide not to segregate your scintillation vials and fluid into the categories outlined above, Vanderbilt Environmental Health and Safety (VEHS) will charge you $100 per box of vials and $25 per gallon of bulk scintillation fluid. This charge is based on the increase in price as the radioisotope half-life increases. If your research dictates that you must create mixed radioisotope (dual-labeled) vials, you need to notify Sammy Orr at sammy.orr@vumc.org to avoid being charged.

If you generate a large amount of vials containing radioisotopes with a half-life greater than 109 days, consider changing to 7 ml vials. Using the smaller vials will save you money on scintillation fluid and save the institution a great deal of money for disposal.

2. Use only biodegradable scintillation fluid.

If you are unsure about your cocktail, the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) will tell you whether it contains hazardous constituents. 

If you need to use hazardous scintillation cocktail for your particular research purposes, you must justify this use by submitting an amendment to your radioactive materials use permit to radsafety@vanderbilt.edu

Also, if you are approved to use the hazardous scintillation cocktail, you will be charged $100 per box of hazardous scintillation vials with radioisotope half-lives less than 109 days and $400 per box of hazardous scintillation vials with half-lives greater than 109 days (not including 3H and 14C with activities below 250 :Ci/box of 500 vials). You will be charged $25 per gallon of bulk scintillation fluid with half-lives less than 109 days and $160 per gallon for bulk scintillation fluid with half-lives greater than 109 days (not including 3H and 14C with activities below 0.05 :Ci/ml).

3. Always write the brand name and the product name of the scintillation fluid on the waste tag.

Biodegradable LSC Products

These "biodegradable" liquid scintillation cocktails may still present an environmental disposal concern and a contact hazard to a user’s skin and eyes. Read the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) before handling any of these chemicals and wear appropriate personnel protective equipment (lab coats, gloves, goggles, etc.) when handling LSC.

Manufacturers

In providing a sample listing of manufacturers who sell biodegradable liquid scintillation cocktail, Vanderbilt University is not in any way endorsing, recommending, or advertising on behalf of any of these vendors.