Chemical Management Safety

The use of hazardous chemicals in scientific research, education, and healthcare is integral to the University of California’s research, teaching, and public service missions.  Our UC campuses and medical facilities have access to millions of hazardous chemicals (commonly referred to as “hazardous materials”) as a daily part of our operations.  As our university continues to grow and expand its research capabilities, properly managing hazardous materials becomes paramount to ensure the safety of our community and built environment.

Hazardous materials, if mishandled, can pose significant physical and health risks.  Compliance with the California Fire Code (CFC), which governs the safe storage and use of hazardous materials, is crucial. The CFC establishes Maximum Allowable Quantities (MAQs) for hazardous materials, limiting the quantities allowed in buildings to reduce risks to life, property, and research capabilities.

In June of 2021, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Nathan Brostrom and Vice President for Research & Innovation Dr. Theresa Maldonado charged the UC Chemical Storage Maximum Allowable Quantities Task Force with several responsibilities:

  1. Conduct an analysis of the current MAQ status by UC location.
  2. Develop solutions and pathways to supporting MAQ compliance by engaging with key stakeholders, identifying necessary resources, and establishing possible implementation timelines.
  3. Create educational resources and materials on both the challenges and potential solutions to supporting MAQ compliance.
  4. Provide a report and recommendations to senior leadership by July 1, 2022.

The task force, after concluding its work in the first quarter of 2023, produced ten recommendations that will facilitate compliance with MAQs – four specific to each UC location and six for systemwide implementation by the UC Office of the President. The UC Chemical Storage Maximum Allowable Quantities Task Force Report and Recommendations (redacted to maintain Attorney Client Privilege) (pdf) is available to the wider UC community and the public.