Homeland Security

On November 20, 2007 the US Department of Homeland Security published a final rule in the Federal Register that impacts many businesses, including higher education. This law, entitled Chemical Facilities Anti-Terrorism Standard, will require the University to determine if it possesses any "chemicals of interest" (COI). These substances could be a target (theft or release onsite) for terrorists and fall into several hazard categories including highly flammable, explosives, and extremely toxic. Of particular interest is Appendix A of the standard, which includes the COI. A threshold, expressed in mass (lbs. or grams), accompanies each substance found in Appendix A. The minimum concentration for most chemicals on the list is 1%. Many of the chemicals must be present in large quantities (e.g. 5000 lbs.) to exceed the regulatory threshold. However, some COIs have thresholds as low as 100 grams.

What substances are covered?

It is important to note that this standard applies to mixtures, by-products, intermediates and not solely to pure chemicals. Hazardous waste is excluded from the requirements. Chemicals of Interest in concentration of 1% (by weight) or greater must be included, although some substances specify a higher concentration.

When does the standard take effect?

The standard took effect on November 20, 2007, and covered institutions have a limited amount of time in which to conduct a survey to determine if any of the COIs are onsite. A report, called a Top Screen, must be submitted to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).All surveys must be completed and turned in to the Safety Affairs Department by January 31, 2008.

What should be done?

  1. Make sure your chemical inventory is up to date. All chemical inventories should be updated at least once per year. Submit the updated inventory to Carolyn Fields, Safety Specialist (via campus mail or electronically cfields@uthsc.edu) and to your designated departmental safety officer.
  2. Compare your updated chemical inventory to the list of COI.
  3. Complete the applicable COI inventory questionnaire (laboratory or non-laboratory) and submit to Carolyn Fields (via campus mail or electronically to cfields@uthsc.edu.
  4. If no COIs are present in your area, sign and submit the COI exemption statement in lieu of the COI inventory questionnaire.

Are there any future requirements?

Yes. After the Top Screen report is submitted to DHS, they may require that we develop security plans to address COI that exceed their respective threshold. Also, if any entity at UTHSC comes into possession of any of the COI above the threshold levels, it must be reported to DHS within 60 days.