Date: Mon, 9 Aug 2010 12:25:59 -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: "Debbie M. Decker" <dmdecker**At_Symbol_Here**UCDAVIS.EDU>
Subject: Re: pregnant student in chemistry lab
In-Reply-To: <B1331E0BABBF2F41ADBB549EF89EA74A033492391CA6**At_Symbol_Here**>

Hi Dave:

Here’s what I deve loped for UCDavis:  It has a hazard assessment form that may be helpful, some guidance document s and helpful links.  We don’t typically distinguish between stude nts and employees.

It’s a pretty new si te – let me know what you think.



Debbie M. Decker, Campus Chemical Safety Officer
Environmental Health and Safety
University of California, Davis
1 Shields Ave.
Davis, CA  95616
(530)754-7964/(530)681-1799 (cell)

(530)752-4527 (FAX)
Co-Conspirator to Make the World A
Better Place -- Visit www.HeroicS and join the conspiracy

From: DCHAS-L Discu ssion List [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU] On Behalf Of David C. Finster
Sent: Monday, August 09, 2010 11:55 AM
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU
Subject: [DCHAS-L] pregnant student in chemistry lab

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 s eek 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 w e 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.  T hus, my initial suggested course of action is that the student participate in al l 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.& nbsp; (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 instru ctor determine how to do this without any penalty to the student).

The pathway suggested above seems reasonable and prude nt 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 havin g the student consult with her physician (with a complete list of chemicals & #8220;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 physicia n 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 eac h chemical (extracted from TOXNET) with regard to being handled while pregnan t.

The advice and experience of the D-CHAS group is welco me.


David C. Finster
Professor of Chemistry
University Chemical Hygiene Officer
Department of Chemistry
Wittenberg University

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