From: Debbie M. Decker <dmdecker**At_Symbol_Here**UCDAVIS.EDU>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Use of fire resistant lab coat
Date: Fri, 18 Jul 2014 17:16:24 +0000
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: daf484352b2a4ccf96089786bac4520d**At_Symbol_Here**
In-Reply-To <98E95547-1463-4D9F-9213-C50999AF6F3F**At_Symbol_Here**>

The Nomex fabric is intrinsically fire resistant - it isn't an applied coating. For the 100% cotton fire resistant coats we're using in teaching - the textile thread itself is treated but the garment isn't treated once manufactured.

We require undergraduates to purchase 100% cotton lab coats to be worn in the teaching labs. It was difficult to pick out our Teaching Assistants in the sea of white lab coats and they requested a different color coat. The only 100% cotton coat available in a color (light blue) was flame retardant. They've been happily wearing them for a year.

There is a time and place to wear an FR coat and that's working with pyrophoric/water reactive materials or high volumes of flammable solvents in the presence of an ignition source. FR coats are not appropriate to be worn when working with corrosives or biological materials. You could also make a case, I think, that if use of pyrophoric/water reactive materials occurs in a glove box, the glove box is the engineering control and additional PPE isn't indicated.

We've also found the durability of a Nomex lab coat leaves something to be desired.

It's important to wear the proper PPE to mitigate the hazards for the task at hand. Blanket requirements without regard to actual hazards serves no purpose and undermines our credibility as health and safety professionals.

"Just wrapping people up in a lab coat doesn't automatically make them safe."

Debbie M. Decker, CCHO
Safety Manager
Department of Chemistry
University of California, Davis
122 Chemistry
1 Shields Ave.
Davis, CA 95616

Birkett's hypothesis: "Any chemical reaction
that proceeds smoothly under normal conditions,
can proceed violently in the presence of an idiot."

-----Original Message-----
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU] On Behalf Of Ken Simolo
Sent: Friday, July 18, 2014 9:36 AM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Use of fire resistant lab coat

Some have concerns regarding the health impacts of some of the chemicals used to provide the fire resistance.


On Jul 18, 2014, at 12:23 PM, Ralph B. Stuart wrote:

> A question I'm wondering about as we as a professional community consider the aftermath of the UCLA lab fire and its legal follow up is whether there is a reason beyond finances to not use fire resistant lab coats in the lab setting. I recognize that both the initial and maintenance costs associated with fire resistant coats are significantly higher than alternatives, but I wonder if there are other disadvantages associated with their use.
> Thanks for any information about this.
> - Ralph
> Ralph Stuart, CIH CCHO
> Chemical Hygiene Officer
> Department of Environmental Health and Safety Cornell University
> Ithaca, NY 14850
> rstuart**At_Symbol_Here**

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