I agree, Alan, The problem with the caveat emptor strategy is that
1) the student is unprepared by definition to make an informed decision and
2) neither the student nor their physician knows which chemicals or procedures will be done, how effective the ventilation and precautions are in the laboratory, and so on.
The only entity with access to that information is the school. While consultation with a student's physician should be part of the school's policy, the policy must have more recommendations than this.
At the end of each media section of my building planning reports is a segment on high risk students. It considers whether or not, even if all my recommendations for proper ventilation and safety equipment are met for that class, the school should be admitting pregnant women, asthmatics, or other high risk students to it. I also set up the rules for alternative material classes in painting, drawing, printmaking, etc,, which would be safe for such students and need no special ventilation--if the school is so inclined. And these alternate materials classes will not adversely affect the school's accreditation by NASAD.
I include children as high risk individuals in my reports because universities that also teach Art Education often have the disturbing practice of hauling flocks of youngsters periodically into the filthy dangerous art department studios to simultaneously teach/expose them to art materials not suitable for use by children. Children should be taught in classrooms designed for teaching children and child-proofed prior to their arrival. Some idiot art administrators also look firmly the other way when teachers to bring their kids into the school and park them in the classrooms and offices in lieu of sitter. And many art teachers still don't know that an office is not an appropriate place for doing art work or storing all the old and personal stash of products too dangerous or expensive to let the kids use. And then there are the graduate student individual studios or cubicles............
Come on down, safety folks, into the art department to see the third world up close.
But you can use the same common sense in the chemistry department. If you can find your way to the organic chem lab by using your nose, this is no place for pregnant women or people with allergic asthma. If there are ionizing radiation emitting chemicals or equipment in the area, explain both sides of that issue before turning the decision over to students and their doctors. And so on.
Be dead sure than the need for students to fill classes does not color the advice.
Monona Rossol, M.S., M.F.A., Industrial Hygienist
President: Arts, Crafts & Theater Safety, Inc.
Safety Officer: Local USA829, IATSE
181 Thompson St., #23
New York, NY 10012 212-777-0062
From: Alan Hall <ahalltoxic**At_Symbol_Here**GMAIL.COM>
To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Sent: Thu, Feb 27, 2014 7:28 am
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Question about lab policy for "medical condition"
"Let the Buyer Beware" does not seem to be a good policy. Never worked to anyone's advantage unless you were trading horses and Abe Lincoln taught us all how to do that.
What you might consider is having a Board Certified Occupational Physician consult with students as to what ADA accommodations might be appropriate. For those with asthma of RADS/RADS-like syndrome, consultation with a pulmonologist might be considered.
You might look at the ATSDR Case Study in Environmental Medicine for Reproductive and Developmental Hazards if pregnancy is a concern.
Alan H. Hall, M.D.