We make available to any student who requests it a list of all chemicals and/or microorganisms used in each course. We then recommend that if they are concerned, they should discuss the list with their physician. Also, MSDS's are available in each laboratory for all the chemicals used in that laboratory, sorted by course. The following is the wording we use in our student safety documents, that are distributed and reviewed during the first lab session: "If you are or think you might be pregnant, if you have a lowered immune response, or if you have any other health concerns, consult with your physician before performing any of the laboratory activities. A list of chemicals and/or microorganisms used in the course will be provided upon request." Due to student confidentiality and the fact that we are not health professionals, we do not discuss individual health concerns with the students, but rather refer them to this statement. John Agar Dr. John R. Agar, Jr. Dean of Mathematics, Science, & Engineering Division Chemical Hygiene Officer Delaware County Community College 901 South Media Line Road Media, PA 19063-1094 jagar**At_Symbol_Here**dccc.edu >>> "David C. Finster"
8/9/2010 2:54 PM >>> I am aware that a student who will be taking a general chemistry course this fall is pregnant. I am writing to the list to seek advice about how to best handle this circumstance (assuming that one of the options - not taking the course - is not a preferred option). (I have checked the D-CHAS archives, and other sources, and found no particularly helpful answers to this question. This is not really a CHP matter since the student is not an employee - although we ordinarly use our CHP as the safety document for students, too.) So far as I know (but I can check this to be certain) none of the chemicals used in our general chemistry labs are teratogens. Thus, my initial suggested course of action is that the student participate in all of the labs experiments (using all of the PPE at all times that is recommended for all students.) We rarely use chemical hoods in this particular course since most of the chemicals we use present no significant inhalation risk. (We use hoods when there is an inhalation risk.) If there is some chemical that is, or is suspected to be, a teratogen, I would advise the student to skip that lab (and have the instructor determine how to do this without any penalty to the student). The pathway suggested above seems reasonable and prudent to me. However, since we live in a world where the consideration of worst-case scenarios is wise and legally prudent, it seems to me that having the student consult with her physician (with a complete list of chemicals "in hand") and having the physician and/or student "sign off" on some reasonable statement in advance seems smart. Since I would not expect a physician to be familiar with the teratogenic effects of "all chemicals", I would also present the physician with a detailed list of the known or suspected effects of each chemical (extracted from TOXNET) with regard to being handled while pregnant. The advice and experience of the D-CHAS group is welcome. Dave David C. Finster Professor of Chemistry University Chemical Hygiene Officer Department of Chemistry Wittenberg University dfinster**At_Symbol_Here**wittenberg.edu
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