Hazardous Materials

A hazardous material is any substance or material in a quantity or form that may pose a reasonable risk to health, the environment, or property.

Hazardous waste is generated at USF from various activities including research, teaching, art, and facilities support. These areas on campus have measures in place to decrease the likelihood of an incident and have the proper precautions in place to minimize damage if a release were to occur. At USF, all chemical waste is considered hazardous and must be disposed of through Environmental Health & Safety.

The USF Hazardous Waste Program services include:

  • Chemical waste pickup
  • EPA waste characterization
  • DOT compliant shipment of waste
  • Chemical spill response
  • EPA reporting

The USF Radiation Safety Office in Research Integrity and Compliance maintains the radiation safety program. The goal of the Radiation Safety Office is to keep radiation exposure to university personnel, members of the public, and the environment As Low As Reasonably Achievable (ALARA) and in compliance with state and federal regulations.

In the event of a chemical or radioactive release:

  • Report immediately any spillage of a hazardous material to campus police at 9-1-1 and Environmental Health & Safety at 813-974-4036 (for chemical releases) or USF Radiation Safety at 813-974-5638 (for radioactive releases).
  • When reporting, be specific about the nature of the material involved and the exact location of the spill. Campus police will contact the necessary specialized authorities and medical personnel.
  • Move away from the spill and help keep others away. Do not walk into or touch any of the spilled substance. Try not to inhale gases, fumes, and smoke.
  • Those who may be contaminated by the spill should avoid contact with others, remain in the vicinity, and give their names to campus police. As necessary, first aid and cleanup by specialized authorities should be started at once.
  • The key person on site should vacate the area at once and seal off to prevent further contamination until the arrival of campus police, fire and other safety personnel.
  • Assist emergency crews as requested.
  • An Incident Command Post may be set up near the emergency site. Stay clear of this area unless you have official business there.
  • Do not return to an evacuated building until told to do so by an authorized public safety official.


The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has developed information on large-scale hazardous material situations. 

Radiation Emergencies

Nuclear Weapons