From: Monona Rossol <actsnyc**At_Symbol_Here**>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Question about lab policy for "medical condition"
Date: Thu, 27 Feb 2014 12:55:41 -0500
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: 8D101FC43F609C9-2AE4-3355**At_Symbol_Here**
In-Reply-To <463500705.3443195.1393516102027.JavaMail.zimbra**At_Symbol_Here**>

Vivian,  Also a good statement. 
I know that the Johnson Controls case determined that no pregnant woman could be kept out of any job, but I don't know of any case law that supports the contention that students also have this right.  If you have time, could you ask the school's counsel how they would support that statement?  And I think that would be a great thing to post on this forum to settle this issue clean and clear.
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

-----Original Message-----
From: Vivian L. Longacre <vlongacr**At_Symbol_Here**CALPOLY.EDU>
Sent: Thu, Feb 27, 2014 10:53 am
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Question about lab policy for "medical condition"

We have a similar statement to Sammye's.  See below:

Policy on Pregnant Students in the Teaching Laboratory
The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry realizes that no absolute standard exists on any level as to what constitutes a hazard-free chemistry laboratory environment.  With this in mind, we strive to maintain the safest environment possible using any and all information sources, official guidelines, and existing state and federal directives.  Students are informed of safety procedures and give their written acknowledgement of this information.
While there are many suspected human teratogens, currently a limited number of chemical agents are known to produce teratogenic effects in humans.   Our search of databases and health safety publications suggests that studies are inconclusive as to adverse effects for pregnant women and fetuses.   For these reasons it is difficult to produce a definitive list of dangerous substances and provide absolute protection in all laboratory situations.
According to state and federal law, pregnant students may not be denied access to laboratory courses merely because they are pregnant.  However, all students, including pregnant women may request a comprehensive list of the chemicals to be encountered in a lab course for which they are registered.  (Note that this may be an amended list if the course requires the analysis and identification of unknowns.) Pregnant students are encouraged to consult with her physician or other professional versed in risk assessment to decide whether or not they will request an exemption from, or delay of, completion of the laboratory course.  The faculty will decide what experiences may be used in lieu of actual participation in lab. 

From: "Samuella Sigmann" <sigmannsb**At_Symbol_Here**APPSTATE.EDU>
Sent: Wednesday, February 26, 2014 9:19:37 PM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Question about lab policy for "medical condition"

Hi Dave - Here is our pregnancy statement.  Approved by our university attorney 5+ years ago.  We have this in all our manuals and lab syllabi.  According to the attorney, the rights of the mother to participate in lab take precedence.  In other words, we cannot tell them to stay out for the baby's safety.  We do just what you said - send them to their doctor with the SDSs.  Some opt to drop lab.  For those who don't, we have dry labs established for the experiments where there might really be an elevated risk - FPD with p-xylene, MW by Vapor - to name a few.

Allergies we handle on a case by case basis, but we did just come up with a statement this semester.  

"Be aware that some individuals might be sensitive or allergic to chemicals used in lab.  If you have a known allergy and would like to know if you should take precautions for this, please speak with your instructor at a convenient time." 

We then mention some of the common things we have seen - nickel, sulfur, salicylic acid.

Department of Chemistry Pregnancy Policy

Pregnancy introduces a special set of variables into the consideration of hazards in laboratory. While the exposure levels to chemicals commonly encountered in a university laboratory setting pose no or low risk to an adult, they can pose a significantly higher level of hazard to the unborn fetus. Many of these hazards are not well studied, and it is not known what exposure level is safe for an unborn child. It is therefore prudent for pregnant women to limit the unnecessary exposure of a fetus to any chemicals. This is especially true if the chemicals are mutagenic (causes damage to chromosomes) or teratogenic (causes birth defects and/or fetal death).
If you have recently become pregnant or you are anticipating becoming pregnant while you are taking laboratory courses, you should discuss the possible ramifications that working in a chemistry laboratory might have on the fetus with your instructor and your physician. Your instructor can inform you of the specific chemicals that you will be using that are known or suspected to be reproductive toxins and your discussions will be held in strict confidence.

On 2/26/2014 9:19 PM, David C. Finster wrote:
CHAS folks,
I recently got an email from a colleague asking:
"Our department is looking for model policies for students with medical conditions which might limit their participation in the laboratory (such as asthma, pregnancy, allergies, etc.). We=E2=80™re getting a suggestion from "on high" to have a caveat emptor policy where we just refer students to the SDS's and tell them that they have to make their own decisions in consultation with their physician.
Do you know of any models we might look at for review, consideration, and/or adoption?"
David C. Finster
Professor, Department of Chemistry
University Chemical Hygiene Officer
Wittenberg University


Vivian Longacre
Instructional Support Technician
Chemistry & Biochemistry
Cal Poly State University
San Luis Obispo, CA

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