From: lucydillman**At_Symbol_Here**COMCAST.NET
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Microbiology procedures for use of Bunsen burners?
Date: August 30, 2012 6:15:43 PM EDT
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: <D80BD295-3DDF-463D-9CA3-9DE800EFC1EC**At_Symbol_Here**>

1.  When I worked in a microbiology lab, we did not use open flame to flame a loop.  We used ceramic incinerators.  No alcohol required, either.  Loops get quite red hot quite quickly when the incinerator is properly warmed up.  The loop goes deep inside before it gets hot enough to sputter.


2.  I personally would not want to work in a microbiology lab without eye protection, lab coat or gown and gloves.  When I was a student, we used to routinely use cultures of organisms that could make one ill and many of them could be introduced through the tear ducts.  Some of them have very unfortunate results such as liquifying the cornea if you were to get them in  your eye.  And one surely does not want to be taking some nice organism home to make the roommates or family ill. 


Lucy Dillman

From: "ILPI" <info**At_Symbol_Here**ILPI.COM>
Sent: Thursday, August 30, 2012 10:51:20 AM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Microbiology procedures for use of Bunsen burners?

1. I would change that Chemical Hygiene Plan.   Eye protection should be required whenever you enter a laboratory and remain on the entire time, whether you are "doing anything" or not.  Waste bottles and reactions explode spontaneously without any regard for human presence.  As I've mentioned on this list in the past, one of my former students was "not doing anything" in a lab when a waste bottle went up.   A piece of glass bounced right off the front of his goggles which were, fortunately, over his eyes and not his forehead.  He thanked me for training him properly.  And you might be in the lab with several people who aren't "doing anything" when someone does start doing something.

2, I find the melting goggles argument specious and deliberately disingenuous.   At what distance would goggles start melting?  1 inch?  2 inches?  Without goggles your eyebrows and eyelashes are going to burn off before you can even get that close.  And this implies that during normal operations there is normally a 950 C plus flame 1-2 inches from the user's unprotected eye?   C'mon, this is the lamest excuse for "I don't feel like using PPE" that I've heard in a long, long time.     Safety glasses are the absolute minimum eye PPE required for bunsen burner use and there should, of course, be other requirements regarding clothing, hair etc.

Rob Toreki

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From: "Nancy A Richardson" <narichardson**At_Symbol_Here**LIBERTY.EDU>
Sent: Thursday, August 30, 2012 7:21:50 AM
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Microbiology procedures for use of Bunsen burners?

I teach in a college department that includes both biology and chemistry labs.  Our chemical hygiene plan is designed to cover both types of labs.  One statement we have is that eye protection must be worn when students use "chemicals, fire, or glass."  Lately the question has come up as to whether microbiology students sterilizing loops with a Bunsen burners need eye protection.  One thought is that professional microbiologists do not do this.  The other thought is that since we require eye protection in chemistry labs when students use the burners so we should also require it in microbiology.  Another objection is that the goggles might melt in the flame and cause another problem.  (It has been suggested we carry out tests of eye wear with burners and use tongs to hold them in the flame and determine how long melting takes.)


How have other departments handled such concerns?  Is use of burners in microbiology by students a lesser risk than use of burners in chemistry labs?


Thanks for any thoughts that anyone has on this.   --Nancy



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