Date: Fri, 2 Apr 2010 17:12:25 -0700
Reply-To: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: Eric Clark <erclark**At_Symbol_Here**PH.LACOUNTY.GOV>
Subject: Re: Abbreviations
In-Reply-To: <SNT116-W37F1A3FF7BBB26DC36AFBDC41C0**At_Symbol_Here**phx.gbl>
Point well taken.  Apparently I didn't get all that lab jargon and 
acronyms past the entire lab crowd - which further stresses the need for 
clear labeling, even in emails.  
The "DI water" in that 600-gal tank is deionized water.  The firefighters 
wanted to know that it wasn't some solvent that would blow them up or melt 
them down.  Their rule of thumb is that if there's no NFPA label on a 
large tank, or if numbers on an NFPA diamond add up to 7, they don't go in 
there.  They wanted to see "0,0,0" on an NFPA label.  
As for the deionized water at the bench level - DI wash water - those are 
just plain 500 mL squeeze bottles of DI water used to rinse down, make up, 
or top off whatever it is you might need a small amount of clean, clear 
water for.  The firemen weren't concerned about that.  However, when a DI 
wash bottle was labeled "HIV" (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) that caught 
their attention.  It seems the microbiologists who work in the HIV section 
were tired of their stuff getting borrowed and moved to other sections in 
the lab, so they labeled it "HIV".  These are just some of the dynamics 
that contribute to labeling confusion - which is why I mentioned that I'll 
be creating those reagent-specific label templates, thanks to this email 
This is one of the largest public health labs in the country with plenty 
going on all the time, and the fire inspectors were generally uncomfortable
 everywhere they went in the lab.  As they walked through the various 
sections, like Tuberculosis, Biological Terrorism, Medical Waste, Fecal 
Parasites, etc., they were very cautious and kept their hands close to 
their sides and didn't breath much.   
I appreciate all the emails from this listserve.  

Eric Clark, MS, CCHO, CHMM 
Safety & Compliance Officer
Los Angeles County Public Health Lab 

>>> Alan Hall  4/2/2010 1:08 PM >>>



All of these are good points.  I quite agree that this is a very complex 
area.  I didn't spend 13 years of my life editing a database that tried to 
correlate all of them (the common ones; for better or for worse) for no 
reason.  Labeling has the purpose of letting everyone know, whether lab 
personnel on a day-to-day basis or emergency responders, just what they 
are dealing with.  There's a way to handle anything safely, but as we used 
to say in Spanish "cacahuete occurrio" or "bad things happen."  Murphy is 
alive and well.  If it can go wrong, it will, and at the least opportune 


Labels, placards, DOT numbers, STCC Codes, CAS numbers, RTECS Numbers, 
etc. all have their places.  I'd hope the bottom line is that everyone who 
uses chemical substances or might have to respond to a release incident 
all know, to the best of our abilities, what they're dealing with.  A 
little knowledge my be a bad thing; but a lot of knowledge is better.


Just for "grins"; what is a "DI" wash?  A reference to a dead and by some 
lamented member of the British Royal Family, Distilled Water, Disinfectant 
International, Distinguished Informal , or what?  I'm sure you and your 
colleagues know perfectly well what is meant, but suppose I (as an old 
volunteer firefighter) had to respond to a cxhemical spill/release in your 
laboratory, would I know?  How would I know?  


And was "HIV" a container of certain types of infectious agents, or 
something else?  Firefighters (most of whom are paramedics and some of 
whom I've trained myself) know about protecting themselves from blood-borne
 pathogens; if this was not the case, perhaps another label might have 
been more appropriate?


What we all have to do in our own setting is to promote health and safety, 
as best we can.  We must also remember that depending on circumstances, 
others may be required to respond to our location(s) and we must strive to 
protect them as well.


Another medical/old firefighter/emergency response person's 2 cents.





> Date: Fri, 2 Apr 2010 11:50:27 -0700
> From: erclark**At_Symbol_Here**PH.LACOUNTY.GOV 
> Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Abbreviations
> To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU 
> Good point, Bradley. The firemen who inspected the lab recently wanted 
an NFPA fire diamond with "0,0,0" on the 600-gallon DI water tank, I can 
understand that. Of course they don't care about the DI wash bottles on 
the bench (although they did notice the one that was labeled HIV - for the 
lab section). 
> Our Chemical Hygiene Plan has a list of lab-specific acronyms and 
abbreviations right up front. But that still doesn't really solve that 
shorthand labeling problem we see from time to time. [But then everyone in 
the lab seems to know what a container that's labeled "128" is, right? 
(it's vesphene diluted down 1:128).] Thanks to this discussion string, 
I'll be creating reagent-specific label templates for things we make up 
all the time - like the profiled hazardous waste streams. It's a complex 
field folks. (Hope you don't mind that I used a few undefined acronyms.) 

> Top Five: 
> Chemistry Acronyms (14383)
> NASA Acronyms (8940)
> Uncategorized Acronyms (5754)
> Atmospheric Research Center Acronyms (4622)
> Text Language Acronyms And Abbreviations (1855) 
> Eric Clark, MS, CCHO, CHMM 
> Safety & Compliance Officer 
> Los Angeles County Public Health Lab
> >>> Bradley Harris  4/2/2010 8:15 AM >>>
> Using Abbreviations should be dependent on several items, including 
hazard levels, and the amount of chemical. For example, a small container 
with non hazardous chemicals used in a small laboratory could have an 
abbreviation. If there is a gallon, or 55 gallons of the same chemical the 
container should have a full label.
> teaching abbreviations in school seems to undermine the information 
given from the full chemical name.
> Brad
> On Apr 1, 2010, at 9:20 PM, Alan Hall wrote:
> > Use simple chemical formulas: NaCN, KCN, Ca2Cn2, etc, I won't argue: 
use abbreviations that might kill somebody, BAD idea.
> > 
> > Whoever has to walk into a HAZMAT incident doesn't have time to look 
for a bunch of abbreviations. Lives may be on the line. The AHLS Course 
stresses some of that. Those who have not worn Level A or Level B might 
consider that others have and will continue to due so. Bad labels, some of 
us might be invoked, whether needed or not.
> > 
> > Alan
> > ahalltoxic**At_Symbol_Here** 
> > 
> > 
> > Date: Thu, 1 Apr 2010 19:50:48 -0400
> > From: JAKSAFETY**At_Symbol_Here**AOL.COM 
> > Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Abbreviations
> > To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU 
> > 
> > One of the major problems is going to be distinguishing TLAs from 
FLAs. ... Jim
> > 
> > **********************************
> > James A. Kaufman, Ph.D.
> > Kaufman & Associates
> > 101 Oak Street, Wellesley, MA 02482
> > 508-574-6264 Fax: 508-647-0062
> > Res: 781-237-1335 
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > 

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