From: Don Abramowitz <dabramow**At_Symbol_Here**BRYNMAWR.EDU>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Definition of a "wet lab"
Date: Thu, 3 Oct 2013 11:44:41 -0400
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: 673828873.443895.1380815081536.JavaMail.root**At_Symbol_Here**
In-Reply-To <5564F9EDC11C09468EE5DAF02B5CB30F4A8C52B5**At_Symbol_Here**> sez:

wet lab:  a laboratory equipped with appropriate plumbing, ventilation, and equipment to allow for hands-on scientific research and experimentation.

dry lab: 
a laboratory for making computer simulations or for data analysis especially by computers (as in bioinformatics).

I think that definition could be used for lab safety purposes to embrace labs with biological hazards or physical hazards, like lasers, engineering labs, x-ray generating equipment, etc. that don't necessarily involve running water, perhaps by changing "appropriate plumbing, ventilation, and equipment" to "approriate plumbing, ventilation AND/OR equipment."   Another approach might be to get away from the terms wet vs. dry altogether and just carve out an exemption for computer-only labs from the definition of a lab used in lab safety-related policies.

Donald Abramowitz, CIH
Environmental Health & Safety Officer
Bryn Mawr College
Bryn Mawr, PA

I'm working with the Cornell Undergraduate Research Board to develop lab safety training for undergrads working in research labs here. A question that arose in this context is:

One other issue I noticed is that some students don't seem to know what a "wet lab" is. This may not be as much of a problem for our targeted group of experienced researchers, but just in case, do you have any suggestions on the best way to describe that to students?

I wonder if anyone in DCHAS land has developed a short answer to that question. "Wet lab" doesn't mean much to me as a lab safety professional, but I know that it's an important concept in the lab planning and design world. Is a sink enough to define a "wet lab"? Is a hood necessary?

Thanks for any help with this.

- Ralph

Ralph Stuart CIH
Chemical Hygiene Officer
Department of Environmental Health and Safety
Cornell University


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