This story is based on a presentation that Dr. Sangji gave at the DCHAS technical sessions on Monday.
The American Chemical Society (ACS) and its members are being pressed to speak out against poor safety conditions in US academic labs, and to lobby the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to consider researchers' safety records when allocating funding. The call comes from the sister of the late Sheri Sangji, a 23-year-old research assistant at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) who died in January 2009 from injuries sustained during a dangerous lab experiment.
Sangji was a new hire who suffered third-degree burns to almost half of her body when working unsupervised with t-butyl lithium in the organic chemistry lab of Patrick Harran. She had been using a 60ml plastic syringe with a 1.5 inch needle on the end that was too short to reach to the bottom of the bottle containing the pyrophoric solution, and there was an open flask of hexanes nearby. The material caught fire when the plunger somehow came out of the barrel, and Sangji was not wearing a lab coat. Her family argued that she had received improper training, equipment, and supervision, and that she was carrying out Harran‰??s irresponsible orders.
‰??Notably absent from this diverse group asking for justice and change are the academic scientists,‰?? the victim‰??s sister, medical doctor Naveen Sangji, told a session at the 250th ACS National Meeting & Exposition at Boston, US on 17 August.
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