From: "Kennedy, Sheila" <s1kennedy**At_Symbol_Here**>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Question about lab policy for "medical condition"
Date: Fri, 28 Feb 2014 23:39:47 +0000
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: FA001EE30BA70F4D926117C13DAFFFDF43728120**At_Symbol_Here**XMAIL-MBX-AT1.AD.UCSD.EDU

From the picky definitions to the broad sweep of ideas and on to the Friday humor, I think of this list as my on-going graduate education.

Thank you all!


Sheila Kennedy, C.H.O.

Safety Coordinator | Teaching Laboratories

UCSD Chemistry & Biochemistry |MC 0303

s1kennedy**At_Symbol_Here** |

Office: (858) 534-0221 | Fax: (858) 534-7687


From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU] On Behalf Of Alan Hall
Sent: Thursday, February 27, 2014 8:23 AM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Question about lab policy for "medical condition"




In the picayunish strict sense, a "toxin" is a peptide or protein-based toxic substance elaborated by a living biological organism; a "toxicant" is any substance that is poisonous.  


And so much for being "picky".


I don't know if ATSDR has yet finalized the Reproductive and Developmental Case Study in Environmental Medicine that boith I and a Cecile B. DeMille Intrernational Cast of Thousands worked on not it the far too distant past, but it had a really thorough literature search behind it.  Might be worth looking at their website to see what's there.



Alan H. Hall, M.D.

Medical Toxicologist


On Thu, Feb 27, 2014 at 8:42 AM, Samuella Sigmann <sigmannsb**At_Symbol_Here**> wrote:

Hi Monona - When I teach the first lab I always go into the details of this policy.  I usually mention that male students might also want to think about this policy carefully as well.  They probably think I am nuts.  I also mention that pregnant woman are advised not to pump gas or eat lots of tuna to relate this to real life comparisons.  We have a ton of lab instructors so I don't know for sure how carefully they present the material, but it is in our training.   On the positive side, all of our labs are taught by faculty because we don't have a grad program.

I think that I want to change "toxins" to "toxicants"

On 2/27/2014 9:54 AM, Monona Rossol wrote:

NOT BAD!    I will steal some of that excellent statement, thank you muchly.   This will work as long as the school has documentation that their Lab Standard training includes the information on pregnancy risks that the teachers will need to fairly present these issues to students. Then you have it nailed except for teachers who have some kind of bias.  That is always the weak link that cannot be made perfect with any policy or training.

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: Samuella Sigmann <sigmannsb**At_Symbol_Here**APPSTATE.EDU>
Sent: Thu, Feb 27, 2014 7:29 am
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’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





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