Date: Mon, 19 Dec 2005 11:56:10 -0500
Reply-To: Ralph Stuart <rstuart**At_Symbol_Here**>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: Ralph Stuart <rstuart**At_Symbol_Here**>
Subject: Confusing risk message?

I received the December 12 issue of C&EN news today and found the  
cover photo to be a rather confusing risk message. It shows two high  
school girls participating in National Chemistry Week activities with  
lab coats and safety glasses on. They are using straws to blow air  
into liquid soap to form bubbles.

My gut reaction in looking at the picture was "oh my god, they're  
mouth-pipetting; I thought we got rid of that last century". Looking  
at the picture more closely, I realized what was going on and  
understood why they wanted to use straws for better pressure control.  
However, my question is "Are the lab coats and glasses appropriate in  
this setting?"

By using these ppe in this situation, are the girls building good lab  
habits, or perhaps, receiving a confusing risk message that says  
liquid soap is as dangerous as any other chemical you might work  
with? When they get to college chemistry lab are they less likely to  
use ppe when working with a strong corrosive because they "too old"  
for high school habits now?

I don't expect a clear answer, but I'd be interested in hearing CHAS  
people's thoughts...

- Ralph

Ralph Stuart, CIH
Environmental Safety Manager
University of Vermont
Environmental Safety Facility
667 Spear St. Burlington, VT  05405

fax: (802)656-5407

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