So let me get this straight. You’re saying that because the biology department might adopt a policy which is inappropriate for them, the chemists have to adopt a policy that is unwarra nted for them! That makes no sense. Hopefully the faculty are not ki ds and can look at each situation separately and make appropriate decisions. We do provide gloves for our students, but they don’t wear them when there is no realistic dermal hazard. I agree with David that students tend to be more careless when gloved. This results in contam ination of other bottles, benches, notebooks and pens that they then take back to t heir dorms, etc. Part of the learning process is risk assessment – w ith guidance, of course. In those rare situations where our upper-class students require more than disposable nitriles we provide gloves appropriate to the hazard.
P.S. I can’t help but point out that there is no such thing as 0.1N HCL. There is 0.1N HCl. However, since there is element whose symbol is a lone L, HCL can’t exist! We’ve been doing formula writing and I’ve been trying to convince my students th at it’s ok if we work with CoCl2 , but we really would not want to work with COCl2!
I'm really sorry if I c ome across a little harsh here, and oddly generally the opposite stance I take; but WERE TALKING ABOUT STUDENTS....KIDS!!! Let me ask you this, first its OK to handle 0.1N HCL fine no real dermal hazard with a quick rinse, but now t he bio department adopts your successful policy. Now the kid gets someth ing on his hand that doesn't sting a bit...but what he really took home was a little ecoli they were working with, which, although harmless, mutates...li ke ecoli likes to do and boom...you got yourself an outbreat. OK, a litt le outlandish....but insert disaster at any point...it could happen and chance s are something bad will happen, what is more likely is little suzy's parents suing you for the little red mark left by the acid and you can use your new ly saved money to settle with them. You can warn them about the hazards of working no glove...but this is America and they will win.
On Fri, Mar 5, 2010 at 8:57 PM, David C. Finster << a href="mailto:dfinster**At_Symbol_Here**wittenberg.edu">dfinster**At_Symbol_Here**wittenberg.edu> wro te:
We make gloves available, but I personally encourag e students to wear them only in situations where they are warranted. In my judgment, in many labs the chemicals in use provide no significant skin haz ard, especially when a quick rinse with readily-available tap water is possible even in instances where perhaps some dermal hazard might exist (for extended exposure.) The skin is a pretty good barrier, but there are surely chemicals that can destroy and/or penetrate skin. For some dermal hazards, the gloves that might “be routinely available” in lab may not provide protection, either, so unlike splash goggles that provide virtu ally all-encompassing eye protection, “gloves” might not protect the skin depending upon the chemical and the glove. Wearing t he wrong glove may be worse than wearing no glove. And, this email threa d is about “student labs” where many of the most dangerous der mal hazards would be avoided in the first place. (HF in general chemistry? I think not!)
Also, unlike goggles, gloves are disposable, which incurs the cost that prompted this email thread. I don’t “discourage” glove use, but (I think that) some students use th em more routinely than others, and perhaps more than necessary (perhaps relate d to bouts of chemophobia that may not be warranted). Some students realiz e that gloves become uncomfortable to wear after awhile. Safety overrides comfort (as with some goggles, for some students), to be sure, bu t when there is no need for gloves why endure discomfort? Gloves may or may not hinder manipulations; in principle they shouldn’t, but inexperienced users don’t make what others might consider “good judgment” in many situations.
Finally, I recall reading (about 40 years ago) some human behavior study that indicated that some drivers drove faster when wearing s eat belts (when these were new devices in cars) since they “felt safer 221; wearing the seat belt and therefore “felt safer to drive faster.” (This was hardly the intended effect of wearing seat belts, and I’d guess not a universal response for all personality types.) But, I wonder, if some students won’t feel somewh at less need to be careful about spilling solutions or solvents when they are wearing protective gloves? Just speculation; no data, not even pseudo-data like an anecdote!
It could be argued that it is prudent to wear glove s all of the time (just as we mandate splash goggles all of the time) but for me, the arguments above about cost, comfort, lack of need in many lab situations, a nd the possibility of using the wrong glove material all argue for a more tempered, occasional use of gloves. Of course, one idiosyncrati c allergic reaction by one student out of a thousand can lead to universal CYA-motivated use that, in my judgment, could end up doing more damage than good over the long haul for the other 999+ that follow. Alas.
P.S. Here is a list of resources that may be helpful regarding glove selection:
This chart is sorted by categories of chemicals. Gloves types are indicated; n o thickness information.
This chart has an alphabetical list of chemicals. Gloves types are indicated; no thickness information.
Gener al categories and characteristics of glove materials.
Allow s users to search by either specific chemical or specific gloves. Extensive information provided.
Alpha betical listing of chemicals. Several glove materials listed, with thicknes s indicated.
Infor mation on nitrile gloves for many chemicals.
Searc hable database.
PDF f ile with many gloves and chemical listed.
This chart has an alphabetical list of chemicals. Gloves types are indicated; relatively thick gloves tested.
David C. Finster
Professor of Chemistry
University Chemical Hygiene Officer
Department of Chemistry
We provide them in our undergraduate chemistry/biochemistry labs, amid some gnashing of teeth over the cost! We do require students to purchase their own safety goggles. I don’t know what other undergraduate lab classes provide – biolo gy, geology, etc.
Debbie M. Decker, Campus Chemical
Environmental Health and Safety
University of California, Davis
1 Shields Ave.
Davis, CA 95616
Co-Conspirator to Make the World A
Better Place -- Visit www.HeroicStories.com and join the conspiracy
the staff of the Chemistry & Biochemistry Teaching Labs, we have been ask
to propose ideas for saving money, as budgets are only getting tighter over
next few years. One idea proposed is that we stop providing gloves ad lib.
students, but have them buy & bring their own. We currently supply eith
nitrile or PVC examination (thin, single-use) gloves in our labs.
Do you provide/require gloves for student labs?
Sheila M. Kennedy, CHO
Chemistry & Biochemistry Teaching Laboratories
University of California, San Diego
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