Chemical Tracking System (ChemTracker)

ChemTracker is a web-based software program created by Stanford University that tracks chemical containers and links them to important safety and regulatory information. The Morningside Heights Campus utilizes ChemTracker to make real-time chemical inventories available to laboratory personnel at no cost. Use ChemTracker to keep track of your chemicals, borrow from a colleague, and lookup important safety information.

Columbia University has an obligation to meet regulatory requirements by maintaining an accurate chemical inventory. By implementing a chemical inventory management system, the burden on laboratory staff to maintain an accurate chemical inventory is greatly reduced.

You can search the chemical inventories of other research groups within the same building or department. Using the chemical inventory system to share infrequently used chemicals, or to redistribute surplus chemicals, can lead to significant cost savings for all research groups. The program also stores chemical safety information and connects to Columbia’s Safety Data Sheet software, ChemWatch.


Frequently Asked Questions by Campus:

Manhattanville Campus:

For information about chemical tracking at Manhattanville laboratories, please visit the internal Zuckerman Institute website.

Medical Center Campus:

For information about chemical tracking at Columbia University Medical Center laboratories, please reach out to your Research Safety Specialist.

Morningside Heights Campus:

For information about chemical tracking at Morningside please refer to our brochure and see FAQs listed below.

Log in to your laboratory account here:

To set up an account, send an email to [email protected] with your name, your UNI, your Principal Investigator (PI) name, and the laboratory building and room number(s). Optional but recommended information to include is your lab email alias and the laboratory telephone number. This information ensures your group is notified immediately when your orders arrive.

Hazardous chemicals must be shipped to an EH&S Chemical Inventory Station at one of the campus loading docks. Please ensure the delivery address for the order is as follows:

ChemStore Loading Dock – (for Havemeyer and Chandler Laboratories):
Attn: PI Name (Lab Email)
3000C Broadway 119th Street

Chandler Hall, Room 154
New York, NY 10027

Pupin/CEPSR Loading Dock – (for all other Morningside Laboratories):
Attn: PI Name (Lab Email)
530 West 120th Street
Pupin 200
New York, NY 10027

The chemical inventory management system requires that all hazardous chemicals are delivered to the loading docks for processing. Hazardous chemicals are defined by meeting any of the following criteria:

Table showing hazardous chemicals

Vendor websites and online catalogs often supply the hazard information directly on the product page. If safety information appears on the product page, and one of the above hazard pictograms is present, then the chemical must be delivered to a loading dock for processing.

If safety information is not apparent on the product page, then you will need to review the Safety Data Sheet (SDS or MSDS) for the product. There will often be a link to the SDS or MSDS on the product page. If one of the above hazard pictograms is present in the SDS or MSDS, then the chemical must be delivered to EH&S for processing. The SDS or MSDS can also be looked up through the EH&S website or through your preferred internet search engine, such as Google.

EH&S will process the hazardous chemicals within a few hours of arrival. EH&S will notify your laboratory when the hazardous chemicals are ready for pick up. Laboratory staff will pick up the hazardous chemicals from an easily accessible location on the loading dock.

Chemicals and other supplies that do not meet the definition of a hazardous chemical can be delivered directly to your laboratory, and should not be sent to EH&S.

Hazardous chemicals for disposal must be picked up by an EH&S Hazardous Materials Specialist; this includes stock bottles with any solid or liquid chemical contents still inside. Each laboratory is responsible for managing their hazardous waste properly in accordance with the Columbia 5 Ls of Hazardous Waste Management. Each building has a service day when chemical waste is picked up. Submit your pick-up form here and the service schedule will appear on your confirmation page:

Empty chemical bottles are discarded in the hallway yellow bins pictured above. This is also the process by which your inventory is updated to reflect chemical containers no longer in the laboratory.

ChemTracker supports recycling. All of the empty chemical containers placed in the yellow bins go out for recycling. To reuse an empty chemical container in your lab for waste collection, check out our Insider's Guide, or follow these two options:

  1. Simply peel off the barcode and place it on the grid paper on top of the yellow bin to take it out of your PI’s inventory.
Image of bin, bottle and labels

     2. Take a photo of the barcode and email it with subject line “empty” to [email protected]

Image of cell phone taking a picture of barcode on chemical bottle.

There is a detailed user guide available here, but in general, using ChemTracker is as easy as using any search engine. You can search for chemicals by name or CAS number, and by owner (the PI), department, or location. If you have additional questions or would like an in-house tutorial, feel free to schedule this by contacting [email protected].

Chemical Hygiene Plan & LATCH

A Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP) is required per OSHA’s Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories standard (29 CFR 1910.1450) and Columbia University policy. The CHP provides essential information on prevention of potential exposures to hazardous materials and physical hazards in the laboratory.  Columbia University has developed a Chemical Hygiene Plan to provide an overview of information about the use of hazardous materials in research laboratories, their hazards, warning signs, control measures, safety training to minimize exposure and waste management. 

The University’s CHP is managed by the Director of Occupational Health & Safety and can be found on the EH&S website.

Columbia University Chemical Hygiene Plan

The Laboratory Assessment Tool and Chemical Hygiene Plan (LATCH) is your laboratory-specific complement to the Columbia University Chemical Hygiene Plan. The LATCH identifies laboratory tasks and indicates the corresponding appropriate administrative and engineering controls, safety training, and personal protective equipment (PPE) needed to reduce potential exposures. 

The LATCH is managed and maintained by the each PI and/or laboratory.  EH&S has developed a comprehensive electronic database, the Laboratory Information Online Network (the LION) to manage the creation and maintenance of the LATCH.  The LATCH also includes information on staff training, emergency equipment and other laboratory assets and laboratory spaces under the management of each PI.

Laboratory Assessment Tool & Chemical Hygiene Plan

The LION system Tutorials: 

Laboratory Information Online Network (LION) is a web-based software platform, designed to simplify laboratory safety information management between the research community and supporting departments, including EH&S. Please click here to watch a video on how to log into LION and see the links below for specific instructions on various LION functions.

LATCH – Begin or update a hazard assessment, add personnel and spaces, update training information
Corrective Actions – Respond to a corrective action notice following a laboratory survey (click here to watch the Inspection Module video)