Warm and Cold Environmental Rooms Safe Use

Updated August 05, 2010

Both warm and cold rooms at MIT use a refrigerant gas (Freon-22, R-12, or MP39) to control temperatures.  In order to keep temperatures stable, there is minimal ventilation to the rooms. These rooms are NOT designed for chemical use because of the minimal ventilation. 

  • Do not use alcohols, solvents, or other chemicals in these rooms.
  • Do not store flammable, volatile toxic, or corrosive chemicals in cold rooms.
  • Storage or use of dry ice should not be done in cold rooms because large quantities of carbon dioxide are released when dry ice sublimes, displacing oxygen in the room.

Each room is alarmed if the temperature changes by more than one degree, which may indicate that a door has been left open or in rare instances, that refrigerant gas is leaking.  If an alarm sounds, please leave the room and the alarm should reset.  If it does not, please call the Department of Facilities (617-253-4948, or FIXIT from an MIT telephone) and report the alarm condition. 

  • Do not enter the room until it has been checked. 
  • Minimize time spent in environmental rooms. 
  • Notify a coworker if you are using the room alone.

If you have any questions about work or general air quality in environmental rooms, please contact the Industrial Hygiene Program (617) 452-3477) for an evaluation.