Date: Fri, 2 Apr 2010 13:51:09 -0400
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From: List Moderator <ecgrants**At_Symbol_Here**UVM.EDU>
Subject: Re: Abbreviations

From: Rita Kay Calhoun <r.calhoun**At_Symbol_Here**>
Date: April 2, 2010 1:46:01 PM EDT
Subject: RE: [DCHAS-L] Abbreviations

Abbreviations are not going away, and as long as we have a government or military neither are acronyms.  Yes, there can be confusion just as there can be with words.  If I write lead, do I mean the element, Pb, or the verb?  The context gives the reader the answer.  When a person starts working in a lab, they will surely familiarize themselves with the nomenclature of that facility.  If they do not, then this points out a more serious safety issue than whether or not the ethanol squirt bottle is labeled ETOH or ethanol.  Likewise, a responder who enters a hazardous situation without checking all the information available to them is showing a lack of safety =93ethic=94, if you will.  Certainly, when extremely hazardous materials are involved the clearest labeling should be employed.   An example of when an abbreviation would be the clearest is TNT.  If I label a container TNT, almost all would recognize the hazard.  However, if I label it trinitrotoluene, many would not.   As Confucius probably said, or should have, there is little in life that is black or white.


By the way, when we teach abbreviations it is not instead of full chemical name; it=92s in addition to.  Students will run into them and need to know what they can mean.  We also teach the ferric and ferrous nomenclature in addition to Fe3+ and Fe2+.  They will see it and need to understand it.


Kay Calhoun

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