I teach introductory microbiology at a community college, and have this problem. I do tell them at the beginning that if culture spills on their device, it will have to be autoclaved, and that most phones don’t even survive a trip through the washing machine—I know from experience.
Since many of them are returning students (it is an evening class), I tell them they are welcome to step outside of the lab to call or text, after removing PPE and washing their hands. It hasn’t come up with me either, but I’m prepared to tell them that the alternative to autoclaving is that they carry the microorganisms around with them. There is a large clock with a second hand for anything that requires timing.
Edward J. McGrath
Supervisor of Science
Red Clay Consolidated School District
1502 Spruce Avenue
Wilmington DE 19805
We did not inherit the Earth from our ancestors. We borrowed it from our children.
It’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep undergraduates from using their electronic devices in the teaching lab. We disclaim that any damage is not the responsibility of the institution.
Here’s the question: What if something hazardous is spilled on the device and it can’t be decontaminated? Does the device become hazardous waste at that point? What if the owner isn’t willing to give up the device for disposal?
This scenario hasn’t presented itself – yet!
Debbie M. Decker, CCHO, ACS Fellow
Department of Chemistry
University of California, Davis
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."
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