From: kauletta**At_Symbol_Here**NOTES.CC.SUNYSB.EDU
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] lab coat question
Date: June 7, 2012 9:33:10 AM EDT
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: <C0972A45C7DC7040BB5D18BB89552EA10424F932**At_Symbol_Here**019-SN2MPN1-061.019D.MGD.MSFT.NET>

We're looking into bringing in a vendor for lab coat laundry & rental also. Its looking very promising. I also found out that we have a laundry service on campus available for staff, but geared mostly to student/residents. A student called me last week & told me he was putting his lab coat into that service! I contacted the service to let them know they may be receiving potentially contaminated lab coats & asked if they were they ok with that - he'll get back to me. If he says yes, I won't advertise the option, but if he says no, I need to put out an email to stop the practice.

Does anyone have a chart/risk assessment/SOP on what lab coat material (poly blend, 100% cotton, flame resistant FR rated) needs to be worn when working with different chemicals/materials?


Kim Gates Auletta
Lab Safety Specialist
EH&S    Z=6200
Stony Brook University
FAX: 631-632-9683
EH&S Web site:

Remember to wash your hands!

From:        Frank Coppo <Frank.T.Coppo**At_Symbol_Here**GSK.COM>
To:        DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU
Date:        06/07/2012 09:19 AM
Subject:        Re: [DCHAS-L] lab coat question
Sent by:        DCHAS-L Discussion List <dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>

Dear Colleagues -
                A few comments, after some 22 years as a synthesis chemist prior to my EHS tenure... If at all possible, use cotton lab coats for synthetic chemistry work - polymer blends can melt onto the skin under certain incident circumstances, for example heavy solvent exposure or fire (especially).   Acids & bases are but a small sample of what the typical synthesis chemist will work with.
                We employ PPE guidelines similar to what Mr. Arnold has described below; discipline-specific lab coats (fastened closed, of course), closed toed shoes, safety glasses w/ side shields - as a minimum to even enter lab space.   We also have a similar service that handles the supply & maintenance of our lab coats.   I believe even Fisher Scientific is making inroads into the business of rental/recycling of lab coats, so you certainly have many commercial options.
                More than anything, I think it's important to foster a defined culture of laboratory safety & PPE use early on in the educational process, a position you are privileged to be in.   Regardless of hazard, estimated risk, or even fashion choice, my advice would be to ALWAYS have students wear a basic level of laboratory PPE to include a lab coat, safety glasses w/ side shields, closed-toed shoes, full-length pants and appropriate protective gloves as per the task (& educate them on the concept of cross-contamination, i.e. don't spread contamination via the OUTSIDE of the glove...).  Concomitantly, the staff should lead by example & do the same.   PPE is a simple precautionary measure that packs a lot of punch.   If it's too hot, discuss it with your facilities managers - in many facilities it's actually cheaper to keep it colder (Industrial HVAC is often not like your house A/C ;)
                Most chemists (at all degree levels) come out of academia with at best a weak concept of industrial laboratory safety, even though they are fairly likely to end up employed by industry of one type or another.  Providing clear guidance on safety practices (starting with PPE) early on in the educational process not only helps to mitigate the immediate risks of their academic work, but better prepares them for their future as safe, productive industrial scientists.  As an added bonus, experience in the consideration of risk & it's management is a plus in ANY discipline.
                My two cents :)  Hope this helps some.
Best regards,

Frank T. Coppo
EHS Specialist, Environment, Health, & Safety Services

GlaxoSmithKline | 1250 S. Collegeville Rd. | UP2410 | Collegeville, PA | 19426 | USA
 : 1-610-917-4548 (GSK shortcode 8282-4548) |: Environment, Health & Safety

-----Original Message-----
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [
mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU] On Behalf Of Herriott, Carole
Sent: Wednesday, June 06, 2012 8:21 PM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] lab coat question

I would argue the chemical resistance of scrubs, provided you use the poly blends. They are much more resistant to acids than a pair of blue jeans.
-Carole Herriott
Weyerhaeuser R&D

----- Original Message -----
From: Brady Arnold [
Sent: Wednesday, June 06, 2012 01:10 PM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] lab coat question

We're a business with 60 or 70 people that enter the labs, so I realize things are slightly different for us. Each labworker has 2 labcoats and the uniform company picks up laundry every week. There are other specialized labcoats that we use too, so a worker may have 4 labcoats.

We use Aramark for our labcoats, but were impressed with Cintas too. Aramark gave us a better bid. There are other companies that provide labcoats. These same places also will sell labcoats. If you rent labcoats, they take care of the cleaning. I think you could work out a cleaning plan with the provider even if you purchased them.

They are, of course, not set up to clean majorly contaminated labcoats with toxic, highly toxic, or radioactive materials, but those should be disposed of with their respective waste.

If you don't mind getting a sales pitch, I would say to contact some local uniform companies. The price will depend the quality of the labcoats, how often they're picked up, and, of course, if you purchase or rent.

For the clothing, we require closed toe shoes, full length pants or a dress long enough to cover the legs. We do provide scrubs (rented from Aramark), for those who didn't think they would have to go into the lab. The scrubs serve as a backup if people do get something on their clothes too. I'm not thrilled about their chemical resistance, but they are better than shorts.


Brady P. Arnold
Safety Officer
XenoTech, LLC
phone (913) 227-7143
fax      (913) 227-7199

-----Original Message-----
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [
mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU] On Behalf Of David Roberts
Sent: Wednesday, June 06, 2012 2:26 PM
Subject: [DCHAS-L] lab coat question

Sorry to re-hash old issues.  Can somebody please help me in thinking
about lab coats as a means of PPE?  When places have a lab coat policy -
where do you get them washed (what contractors do you hire for this, or
what has to be done to generate an in house service)?  What kind of
costs are we talking about here?

We are a small, undergrad only University.  We take safety seriously,
but frankly, we don't do a lot of extremely dangerous things. We have
2000 students total, of which we have about 35 or so chemistry majors a
year.  Of that, about 10 do research, so the numbers are small, and
faculty guidance is present.  At present, we obviously do not use lab
coats because we have not figured out how to launder them.  In some labs
with infectious agents, we use disposable lab coats (and we properly
manage them).  But I feel in the synthetic chemistry labs, disposable
coats aren't proper (plus, they are not made of the correct material for
organic synthesis).  Just as a side, we have over 65 fume hoods in our
small space.  All of the students do everything in hoods - so really the
hope is that there is no need to deal with spilling.  We teach them to
work behind the fume hood glass, which is very effective but not always
practical (so there are of course times when they have a potential to
have an accident and spill on themselves).  We try to take that all out
of the equation, and have done a good job thus far, but nothing is perfect.

On a similar note - in the summer months, how do you specify a "minimum"
bit of lab clothing to be worn by people.  If you allow shorts - do you
specify a minimum length, and with shirts, do you have any specifics on
minimum coverage?

All of this is related if you didn't guess.  We have students that we
want to cover up, and so we are just looking for ways to do this properly.

Thanks for any help

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