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4.11 Chemical Purchasing

Before ordering new chemicals, search your existing inventories and use those chemicals currently in stock. An accurate and up-to-date chemical inventory can help to minimize purchase of chemicals already on hand and can facilitate acquisition of  Safety Data Sheets (SDS). Cornell has an institutional subscription to the Vertere chemical inventory system that can help facilitate maintaining a chemical inventory. If you are interested in learning more about the Vertere system, then contact the EHS Chemical Inventory contact or contact

If it is necessary to purchase new chemicals, laboratory personnel should order the smallest size necessary to carry out the experiment. Avoid ordering extra quantities because the chemical “might be needed in the future”. Try to take advantage of chemical vendors “Just-In-Time” delivery rather than stockpiling chemicals in your lab. Before ordering chemicals, be sure to check Cornell purchasing guidelines for preferred vendors and pricing.

Some chemical purchases may require special approval or permits, such as those chemicals that are Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) or Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) listed substances, select agents (contact the Biosafety Officer at EHS for more information), or particularly hazardous substances. There are also building and fire codes that restrict the amount of flammable materials that can be stored in any one room, floors, and buildings at a time. For more information, contact