From: Don Abramowitz <dabramow**At_Symbol_Here**BRYNMAWR.EDU>
To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Sent: Thu, Oct 3, 2013 11:53 am
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Definition of a "wet lab"
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
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 Stuart CIH
Chemical Hygiene Officer
Department of Environmental Health and Safety
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