Hazardous Chemicals, Activities, or Devices

Does your project involve working with?

  • Chemicals or substances with warning labels?
  • Activities or devices that require adult supervision?
  • DEA Controlled Substances? (Any substance that can be diverted from its’ intended use to make illegal drugs)
  • Prescription Drugs?
  • Alcohol and/or Tobacco?
  • Firearms and/or Explosives?
  • Any Radiation or Lasers?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, please read the guidelines below for details about each topic, allowable projects, and any additional forms you may need to complete.

ALL projects involving hazardous chemicals, activities, and/or devices require:

  • Direct supervision by a designated supervisor or qualified scientist.
  • A Risk Assessment Form 3 must be conducted in collaboration with the designated supervisor or qualified scientist.
  • All local, state, and federal laws must be followed if applicable.
  • For any chemical, activity, or device for which a local, state, or federal permit is required, the permit should be received BEFORE the start of the experiment and available for review prior to the competition.
  • Experiments must be designed to minimize the impact of the experiment on the environment. When using hazardous chemicals, use minimal quantities and dispose of the chemicals following good laboratory practices and/or in accordance with the directions of use on the chemical or Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS).
  • The following additional forms:
  1.  Any chemical with a warning label will be considered a hazardous chemical and the label instructions are to be followed.

  2.  If the activity or device is something that you do not encounter everyday, then it is considered to be hazardous.

  3.  Any substance controlled by the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) – illegal drugs or components to make such drugs- which can be found at the DEA website - must:

    1. Be supervised by a Qualified Scientist Form 2 who is licensed by the DEA for use of the controlled substance.

    2. If it involves a Schedule I substance, must have the research plan approved by the DEA prior to research beginning. Schedule 2, 3, and 4 substances do not require approval by the DEA.

  4.  Prescription Drugs are any substance available only through a pharmacy and in accordance with the North Carolina Scientific Review Committee, the research plan will have to clearly describe how the prescription drugs were obtained.
    1. Students are prohibited from administering prescription drugs to any human subjects (see Human Participate rule section for more information).
    2. Administering prescription drugs to vertebrate animals must be done under all the vertebrate animal rules and requires a veterinarian (see Vertebrate animals rule section for more information).

  5. Alcohol and Tobacco have age restrictions for purchase and as such a designated supervisor is responsible for the purchase, use and proper disposal and in accordance with the North Carolina Scientific Review Committee, the research plan will have to clearly describe how the prescription drugs were obtained.
    1. Production of beer or wine is allowed in the home under the supervision of a parent but such production must meet US Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) rules http://www.ttb.gov or http://www.atf.gov .
    2. Fermentation studies in which minute quantities of ethyl alcohol are produced are permitted.
    3. Experiments in which the distillation of alcohol is used to make fuels or other non-consumable products must be done at school and a TTB permit is required.

  6.  Firearms and Explosives are regulated by the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and are defined as any small arms weapon in which a projectile is fired by gunpowder and any chemical, mixture or device, the primary purpose of which is to function by explosion.
    1. Purchase or use of firearms requires proper state certification.
    2. Projects using firearms or explosives are allowed under the direct supervision of a designated supervisor an in accordance with all local, state, and federal laws.
    3. Any fully assembled rocket motor; reload kit, or propellant modules containing more than 62.5 grams of propellant are subject to additional ATF rules.
    4. Potato guns or paint guns are not considered firearms unless they are intended to be used as weapons. The must be treated as hazardous devices and therefore requires Risk Assessment Form 3.

  7.  Radiation and Lasers are defined as either non-ionizing or ionizing.
    1. Non-ionizing radiation includes ultraviolet (UV), visible light, infrared (IR), microwave, radiofrequency (RF), and extremely low frequency (ELF). Lasers usually emit visible, UV or IR radiation and are classified into four classes:
      1. Class I Lasers are commonly found in CD players and laser printers. There are no known risks associated with using Class I lasers. Use of a class I laser does not require Form 3 unless the overall experiment requires one.
      2. Class II lasers are commonly found in larger laser printers and aiming and range finding equipment (i.e. laser pointers). Class II lasers pose a risk if the beam is directly viewed over a long period.
      3.  Class III lasers are found in higher powered laser pointers, printers, and spectrometers. They are considered hazardous devices that can cause eye damage if viewed even for a short period of time.
    2. Class IV lasers are high powered lasers used in surgery, research, and industrial settings. They are extremely hazardous and use requires a Qualified Scientist Form 2 and the laser should be used in its intended location.

  8.  Ionizing radiation includes x-rays and radioisotopes. Projects involving ionizing radiation are to be conducted at regulated research institutions (require a completed Regulated Research Institution Form 1C) under the supervision of a qualified scientist (requires a Qualified Scientist Form 2).