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My Lab Makes Me Sick
How do you supervise undergraduate research if you can no longer work in your laboratory?
By LuAnne McNulty
Asthma is an impairment that can go unnoticed. For many people with asthma, the physical work environment is essential to being able to function on the job. That is absolutely the case for me.
I have been in and out of chemistry laboratories in an academic setting for the past 20 years, first as a student, then as a postdoc, and now as a faculty member at a comprehensive master's university. A few years ago, I became an asthmatic after what appeared to be a minor lab accident. Unfortunately, as it turned out, my asthma was (and is) triggered by volatile organic compounds. Imagine an organic chemist who has asthma attacks as a result of volatile organic chemicals.
I noticed it thanks to the latest edition of the C&EN Safety Zone blog's Friday chemical safety roundup.
Ralph Stuart CIH
Chemical Hygiene Officer
Department of Environmental Health and Safety
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