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 6.1.2); 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 This e-mail and any attachments are confidential and may be privileged. If you are not the intended recipient, or the person responsible for delivering it to the intended recipient, please notify the sender immediately by replying to this message and destroy all copies of this message and the attachments. >>> "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 rstuart**At_Symbol_Here**uvm.edu fax: (802)656-5407
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