>Many of the people in these lines of work are not really into chemistry, certainly not very curious about the interesting stuff, and want the job to be as straight-forward as possible.
Another element that I‰??m observed in these situations, and that is well-illustrated by yesterday‰??s event (as well as the Ebola responses last year) is that the victim‰??s welfare is not the top priority in many of these events - the community‰??s emotional concern about a buzzword hazard such as mercury can trump that. This can lead to a significantly traumatizing experiences for people who call for help (washing a kid for 2.5 hours for a Hg spill?) and I have seen the social impact of that when witnesses to a lab event swear that they would never call for help themselves in case of a lab spill.
This is becoming an increasingly tricky element for the lab EHS community to address as the public becomes increasingly concerned about bio and meth labs that they don‰??t understand...
Ralph Stuart, CIH, CCHO
Chemical Hygiene Officer
Keene State College
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