From: Monona Rossol <actsnyc**At_Symbol_Here**>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Waiver Form - Bad Idea
Date: Sat, 29 Aug 2015 15:33:01 -0400
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: 14f7af2dec4-4478-422a**At_Symbol_Here**
In-Reply-To <4F21A5F3A002444D8B4F5E4B767431E5AB5E3060**At_Symbol_Here**EXMBX2010-7.campus.MCGILL.CA>

Yes, well..... while birth defects can only occur during the first trimester, a large number of suits now are about brain development issues and learning difficulties that can be caused by neurotoxiciants all the way through pregnancy and even in the breast feeding infant.  Solvents and lead are the most common issues.  I wouldn't be too quick to stop worrying at any time during pregnancy.  

And I disagree with much of the waiver discussion here because the wording in the one I saw only provided the warning about the risks.  This kind of waiver in court can be used to establish contributory negligence by showing the Plaintiff chose to do the job anyway.

As for removing all risks from jobs involving chemicals, lots of luck.  Even if the TLVs are not exceeded, they are not set to protect the fetus.  Only most healthy adults are considered. And it is clear that amounts of chemicals that provoke no symptoms or even awareness of exposure in adults can be harmful to the fetus.  So there always is a risk here..

Monona Rossol, M.S., M.F.A., Industrial Hygienist
President:  Arts, Crafts & Theater Safety, Inc.
Safety Officer: Local USA829, IATSE
181 Thompson St., #23
New York, NY 10012     212-777-0062


-----Original Message-----
From: Wayne Wood <wayne.wood**At_Symbol_Here**MCGILL.CA>
Sent: Fri, Aug 28, 2015 4:47 pm
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Waiver Form - Bad Idea

An important point that we cannot overlook is the fact that many reproductive
hazards are most potent during the first trimester at a time when the expectant
mother may not even realize she is pregnant. So by the time she informs anyone
the damage may already be done and that waiver won't be worth the paper it is
written on. 

We need to focus on making the labs so safe that it will not
matter if someone is pregnant. If we don't we can get sued anyway.

Have a
great weekend.


 Wayne Wood | Director, Environmental Health and Safety
- Directeur, Sante´, securite´ et environnement| McGill University | 3610 rue
McTavish Street, 4th floor | Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H3A 1Y2 | Tel: (514)

-----Original Message-----
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List
[mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**] On Behalf Of Neil Edwards
Sent: Friday, August
28, 2015 2:04 PM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Waiver
Form - Bad Idea

Jim Kaufman, I have to disagree with you on this. I hope that
none of us here would support the use of a waiver form as a substitute for
diligently trying to minimize laboratory hazards. I don't think that is the
point here.

For me, the pregnancy issue was the driving force behind the
development of the waiver form here. I had been suggesting for years that we do
something about protecting both mother and fetus in these situations. I
repeatedly made the same point that Ben Reukberg made in his post on this
subject. At some time in the not-too-distant future, there is going to be a
lawsuit by someone acting on behalf of a young child with health issues, trying
to blame it on a university that allowed the pregnant mother to be exposed to
certain chemicals in a lab course. Do we have an obligation to the unborn child
even if the mother is willing to take the risk? Can we prohibit the mother from
taking the lab course? As Dr. Reukberg said, it is a Catch 22. The waiver is of
course just a piece of paper; but taken along with other measures, I believe it
has value.

I have seen pregnant women who insist on taking Organic Chem, and
who should clearly be avoiding a lot of the chemicals that are typically used in
the labs. They sometimes seem more concerned with getting their coursework
completed and out of the way, and less concerned with the possible health
implications. The waiver is just one of the weapons in our arsenal. By getting
the pregnant student to read it, we are at least forcing her to think a bit more
about the issues involved. That alone is worth the effort.

Now that we have
reading and signing this document as part of our first-day procedures, we make
sure that everyone signs it - male or female. It could apply just as well to a
student with asthma or other respiratory or allergy issues. So with whatever
else we are doing to make labs safer, I think the use of this form takes it a
step further, even though in some cases it might not help.

Laboratory Manager
Adjunct Professor
Department of Chemistry
720 Northern Boulevard
Brookville, NY 11548-1300

From: Jim Kaufman
Date: Fri, 28
Aug 2015 13:15:21 -0400
Subject: Re:
[DCHAS-L] Waiver Form - Bad Idea

Clearly, this is an area of real and
important concern.  Having the opportunity to share and think about various
points of view is what makes this discussion list so valuable .

After the
institution has taken all reasonable and prudent precautions, do we still need
to use waivers?

1,2-Dibromo-3-chloropropane causes irreversible sterility in
males.  What other lab chemicals may do the same?  Do mutated sperm cause birth

Should we ask all the males to sign a waiver and talk with their
doctor about whether it is safe enough to take chemistry?

Do college athletic
departments ask their students to sign waivers?  Ask me sometime about a student
injured playing HS football in Connecticut.

James A. Kaufman,
The Laboratory Safety Institute (LSI)
A Nonprofit
Educational Organization for Safety in Science, Industry, and Education

Worcester Street, Natick, MA 01760-2252
508-647-1900  Fax: 508-647-0062
508-574-6264  Res: 781-237-1335
Skype: labsafe;

ICASE Committee on Safety in Science Education International Council for
Associations of Science Education<>

We thank you for printing this e-mail only if it is necessary

DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**] On Behalf Of Ben
Sent: Friday, August 28, 2015 8:31 AM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L]
Waiver Form Example

                The problem of waiver forms has long been
of interest to me.  I will admit that I hold a minority opinion, at least at my
school.  Nonetheless, I would like to offer my opinion for consideration and
only ask that those who disagree please refrain from excessively harsh
                I think that Dr. Wood is correct that it is the
schools responsibility to do due diligence and I think that such due diligence
is illustrated in Dr. Edwards' response.
                While Dr. Kaufman's
suggestion, "adequate protection," is the ideal, I feel it is not truly
practical.  While I am not a fan of the ALARA principle of the nuclear industry,
I feel that represents a compromise to which universities must aspire.  The
reason for this is that it is impossible to know all of the as-yet-undiscovered
properties of laboratory materials (individually, let alone, in combination)
will be.  [Please, forgive the tautology.]  The best example that comes to mind
is 1,3-butadiene, which was long thought to be relatively harmless, is now
believed to be a mutagen and carcinogen.  One might also consider aspirin.  I
don't know when it was discovered that taking aspirin taken in the third
trimester of pregnancy could lead to birth defects, but I suspect that it was a
long, long time after aspirin came on the market.  All of the due diligence in
the world cannot prevent careless or inappropriate behavior on the part of
classmates.  (Do Federal pr!
 ohibitions of discrimination against the mentally
ill, prevent their exclusion from a laboratory class?  I don't know, but a
person with imperfect impulse control or grasp on reality could certainly
represent a problem.) While the problem of adequate protection is challenging
for general chemistry laboratories, it becomes much more so in advanced
laboratories where meaningful content may require newer or more exotic
materials, equipment, and procedures.  Adding to the challenge is that, of
necessity, laboratories must often be taught by graduate students (and
sometimes, even undergraduates) whose command of proper procedures, despite the
best efforts of faculty and safety officers, may be imperfect.  Even if the
instructor's knowledge were perfect, that is no guarantee of successful
transmission of that knowledge to the uninterested and inattentive students..  In
summary, there are too many things that a school cannot control to insure
"adequate protection" if wet chemistry !
 is to be done.
would go further in regard to pregnant students.  Should the student's offspring
exhibit birth defects after the student's taking a laboratory, relatives (other
than the student) can still sue on the child's behalf.  I, therefore, suggest
that instead of signing a waiver that merely absolves the university, staff and
faculty of responsibility, said waiver should specify that the student takes
upon herself full responsibility (for consulting a physician and) for any and
all consequences of participation in the laboratory. [Note to the politically
correct: the pronoun, she, was used because the vast majority of pregnant people
are female.]  A similar assumption of responsibility should be taken by persons
with medical conditions that might be exacerbated by (or, as in the case of
epilepsy, result in) chemical exposure.
                Perhaps my most radical
opinion in the matter of pregnancy is that, while taking care of a healthy child
is a burden, the significantly greater burden of caring for an unhealthy child
would justify (to me, at least, were I pregnant) delaying taking a chemistry lab
until the child was born.  The school should make every effort to accommodate
this option so that the student is in no way penalized.
you very much,

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