Date: Tue, 20 Dec 2005 13:45:45 -0600
Reply-To: Diane Amell <Diane.Amell**At_Symbol_Here**STATE.MN.US>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: Diane Amell <Diane.Amell**At_Symbol_Here**STATE.MN.US>
Subject: Re: Confusing risk message?
Comments: To: rstuart**At_Symbol_Here**UVM.EDU

For what it is worth, here's my two cents:
While I realize that high school and college students are looking 
"younger" all the time, I think the two girls in the photo aren't high 
school age yet. (Note the adults and the little blond boy in the background
As far as the lab coats and safety glasses go, I would be interested in 
what they were told up front. I wonder if they weren't told that this is 
what scientists and chemists wear when performing experiments in the lab. 
(Lots of kids like to play Dress Up or wear costumes. After all, you often 
see kids wear "helmets" when visiting the local station during National 
Fire Prevention Week.) It certainly doesn't hurt to teach them the 
importance of eye protection. 
As far as goggles vs spectacles go, yes, if there was a serious splash 
risk, then goggles should be worn. As the material in question looks 
suspiciously like a slightly irritating Palmolive dish soap solution, and 
there isn't much of it to splash in the face, goggles would have been 
major overkill. My guess is that, since goggles are more expensive and 
much more uncomfortable than the inexpensive glasses used, they decided to 
go with the cheaper alternative for educational purposes.
I don't think young kids have the chemical/environmental paranoia that 
many adults have; in fact that is one of the reasons National Chemistry 
Week was started in the first place. (In fact, many are curious about 
chemistry and "mixtures".) I don't think the get-up would instill the same 
fear that adults get from reading "lawyerized" MSDSs or listening to 
extreme environmentists screaming about the "evils" of chemicals and that 
they all should be banned. 
As far as college freshman attitude goes, I can't help you there. I would 
hope that some of the kids being required to wear PPE in high school would 
be conditioned to accept wearing it in college. (Similar to young children 
and car safety seats.) It wouldn't hurt, however, to make sure that the 
professors, TAs and grad students are all complying with proper practice 
as well.
In regards to ANSI Z87.1-2003, while it doesn't say explicitly that "Thou 
shalt wear goggles when exposed to chemical splash risk," it does:
1) State that "goggles provide more protection than spectacles from 
impact, dust, liquid splash and optical radiation hazards" (paragraph 
2) Requires that a hazard assessment be conducted and identifies six 
hazard categories to address, including chemical (liquid splash) (paragraph
 6.2.2 (1)); and
3) Recommends that goggles be used to protect against chemical hazards 
(Annex I * Selection Chart).
I'll shut up now.
- Diane Amell, MNOSHA
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>>> "Ralph Stuart"  12/19/2005 10:56:10 AM >>>

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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