Chemical Waste-Environmental Health & Safety - Carnegie Mellon University

Defining Hazardous Waste

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has defined a hazardous waste as any material that no longer has a use and is either specifically listed in the regulations or meets defined hazard characteristics.

Characteristic Waste:

Wastes exhibiting any of the following characteristics.


  • Liquids that have a flash point less than 140°F (60°C)
  • Flammable solids
  • Flammable compressed gases
  • Oxidizers


  • Aqueous solutions with pH less than 2 and greater than 12.5
  • Corrodes steel


  • Water reactive substances
  • Unstable or explosive chemicals
  • Cyanide or sulfide containing chemicals that generate toxic gases when exposed to corrosive substances


  • Materials that have certain heavy metals or organic constituents above regulated limits (EPA D List) (see 40CFR 261)
  • Materials that meet or exceed TCLP laboratory testing
  • Contact EH&S for additional toxicity information

Specifically listed chemicals: (see 40CFR 261)

The EPA has specifically listed approximately 500 chemicals as hazardous waste.

  • EPA P List
  • EPA U List
  • EPA F List
  • EPA D List

Office: FMSB 3rd Floor
Phone: (412) 268-7501
Contact: Jeff Harris


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