From: Harry J. Elston <helston**At_Symbol_Here**MIDWESTCHEMSAFETY.COM>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] High School Lab Safety
Date: Sat, 16 Aug 2014 07:44:26 -0500
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
"Best management practices" of the college/university setting are generally not in place in the K-12 setting. Purchases are often made with the best unit price in mind (read that - largest bottle size), with little or no EH&S input and with little or no training on the part of the instructor. I'm not saying this to be derisive, I am merely stating the facts as I have observed over the last 30+ years. Remember that in the vast majority of states, the HS chemistry teachers are not chemistry majors - they are education majors. For more information, I point you to my JCHAS editorial that appeared in the March/April 2014 issue.
Storage is regulated (or not regulated) generally by the fire marshal.
Additional regulation is not necessary - we already have too much of that in every aspect of our lives. What is needed is education and training. Realistically, that training should begin at the College/University Level and incorporated into the chemistry curriculum. Additionally, states should require their science teachers to have a full major in the science that they teach, not a watered-down version - but that is wishful thinking.
The Division is reaching out, as allowed, though ACS regional meetings by incorporating a session of Ask Dr. Safety during the Regional Meeting's Teacher Day. Additionally, the ACS Committee on Chemical Safety has many resources for secondary school educators.
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