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Compliance with Homeland Security Ruling on Possesion of Chemicals
February 5, 2008, Volume 54, No. 20

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently promulgated an interim final rule that imposes comprehensive federal security regulations for high-risk chemical facilities; The Chemical Facilities Anti-Terrorism Standards require the University to report possession of over 300 chemicals if any of the listed chemicals are possessed at or above a specific regulatory limit called the Screening Threshold Quantity (STQ). Penalties of up to $25,000/day are possible for violations of the rule. The cooperation of the University community is vital to achieving compliance with this rule.

The Chemical Facilities Anti-Terrorism Standards STQ amounts vary from 100 grams up to 10,000 pounds with differing amounts depending on the rule’s hazard categories: Release, Theft or Sabotage. The list of chemicals and their STQs may be found in Appendix A of the rule. The University could fall under the rule if it possesses a chemical of interest (COI) above an STQ either in one location or when aggregated with the same COI in a different location. It is likely that a number of Penn laboratories will have COIs to report, particularly laboratories that use hazardous compressed gases which have low STQs, (e.g., hydrogen fluoride with a Theft STQ of 45 pounds.)

To comply with the rule, a careful review of chemicals used or stored throughout the University must be conducted. Please note that the School of Medicine and the School of Veterinary Medicine buildings in Philadelphia are exempt from the rule. Faculty and other managers are responsible for inventorying their labs/areas and reporting—to Environmental Health and Radiation Safety (EHRS)—the possession of DHS listed chemicals in any room or area for which they are responsible. To assure complete inventories, rooms that do not have COIs must also be reported.

A two-phase process was developed to gather and aggregate the information. For the first phase, Inventory, EHRS is providing the list of COIs on its website for Principal Investigators and others to use in conducting the inventory of COIs in each space, lab or room where chemicals are used or stored. For the second phase, Reporting, use the EHRS website for entering COI information for aggregation. This website must be used to report quantities, by building and room(s), of any amount of COIs. EHRS will aggregate the data and submit any required reports to DHS.

Due to the very short timeline for compliance with the DHS mandate, February 29, 2008 is the deadline for reporting possession of any DHS-listed chemicals to EHRS.

The Reporting website for the submission of COI data and Inventory list of COIs can be found at: www.ehrs.upenn.edu/CFATS.

Questions regarding these requirements should be addressed to: Karen Kelley (cfats@ehrs.upenn.edu), phone (215) 573-9446.

—Steven J. Fluharty,
Vice Provost for Research

Almanac - February 5, 2008, Volume 54, No. 20