From: George Walton <georgewalton**At_Symbol_Here**REACTIVES.COM>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] DCHAS-L Digest - 4 Feb 2015 to 5 Feb 2015 (#2015-16) Eye protection education
Date: Sat, 7 Feb 2015 20:24:27 -0500
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: 003301d0433d$fb216440$f1642cc0$**At_Symbol_Here**

Around 1980 -- 81, Dow Chemical supplied a video to their customers using a
cow's eye in a petri dish. The immediate result was the gasps previously
reported. The second response was a plethora of maintenance requests for
new installation or relocation of eyewashes and safety showers.

George C. Walton, CHMM
Reactives Management Corporation
1025 Executive Blvd., Suite 101
Chesapeake, VA 23320
(757) 436-1033

-----Original Message-----
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU] On Behalf Of
Stephen Stepenuck
Sent: Saturday, February 7, 2015 4:45 PM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] DCHAS-L Digest - 4 Feb 2015 to 5 Feb 2015 (#2015-16)
Eye protection education

1. Re Mel Charlton's post about the eye protection video, I agree with
David Katz, et al. that it was most likely Norman Quam's production, where
they painted mannequin heads with solutions of Fe(III) or thiocyanate, and
exploded flasks containing the other reactant, causing red spots/blotches
wherever the eye/face protection had failed, or not covered. Someone should
certainly resurrect and reproduce that video, rather than "reinvent the
wheel," as Mel says [if only for the safety implications].
2. Re the suggestion of using NaOH in a Petri dish as a demo, I haven't
seen anyone mention a variant that I have found to be strikingly effective
when trying to "reach" people [young academic, or older industrial types] to
wear their eye protection *all* the time: It was not my idea, and I can't
remember where I first saw it to give the inventor credit, but: separating
the white of an egg, telling the students that that is similar to [some]
tissue in the eye, then putting that in a Petri dish on an overhead
projector [if you can find one that works] then asking the class to count
the time before my added drop of concentrated HCl [i.e. not base] coagulated
the previously transparent egg white, frequently yielded outright gasps from
the audience. Of course, the "instant cataract" projects black on the
screen. Then all the instructor need do was ask "Could YOU see through
that?" and/or "Could you beat that to the eye/face wash?" and the point was
made. I had much less trouble enforcing eye protection after that demo.
Suggestion: I would NOT tell them what the chemical was, except that it
was a very common one that they had all probably used, nor that this type of
damage might be repairable by eye surgery, whereas that from a base would be
much more difficult, if even possible, to repair.


Stephen J. Stepenuck, Ph.D.
Professor of chemistry emeritus
Keene State College
Keene NH 03435-2001

Previous post   |  Top of Page   |   Next post

The content of this page reflects the personal opinion(s) of the author(s) only, not the American Chemical Society, ILPI, Safety Emporium, or any other party. Use of any information on this page is at the reader's own risk. Unauthorized reproduction of these materials is prohibited. Send questions/comments about the archive to
The maintenance and hosting of the DCHAS-L archive is provided through the generous support of Safety Emporium.