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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 assist with maintaining a chemical inventory. If you are interested in learning more about the Vertere system, 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 the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) controlled substances and/or listed chemicals; Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) listed substances; select agents or particularly hazardous substances. Building and fire codes restrict the amount of hazardous materials that can be stored in any one room, floor, and building at any given time. For more information, contact