From: McGrath Edward J <Edward.McGrath**At_Symbol_Here**REDCLAY.K12.DE.US>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Chemistry classroom fire injures 6
Date: Mon, 2 Nov 2015 13:41:20 +0000
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: CY1PR0301MB1225A2C578CB11074EF430A2962C0**At_Symbol_Here**CY1PR0301MB1225.namprd03.prod.outlook.com
In-Reply-To <150c8660500-1fac-136b1**At_Symbol_Here**webprd-m74.mail.aol.com>


I have to say, Monona, that scares me.  Fortunately, our local affiliate of NEA fully supports safety training of teachers.  Maybe it's because the association president is a former chemistry student of mine!

 

I find our biggest lift regarding safety training is administrators.  It's not even that they resist; it's more like they don't realize that safety training of teachers is their responsibility.  I have to say, we have made progress with this (annual safety training of science teachers has been safeguarded for over ten years, and has included fire extinguisher training) but we have a long way to go.  This incident will probably result in heightened awareness for some months; unfortunately, it rarely lasts.

 

Eddie McGrath

 

Edward J. McGrath

Supervisor of Science

Red Clay Consolidated School District

1502 Spruce Avenue

Wilmington DE  19805

 

(302) 552-3768

 

We did not inherit the Earth from our ancestors.  We borrowed it from our children.

 

 

From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**med.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of Monona Rossol
Sent: Monday, November 02, 2015 8:32 AM
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Chemistry classroom fire injures 6

 

Well, good luck on getting the unions involved.  Here in NY is it the teacher's union that doesn't want to get behind even the required state OSHA (PESH) hazcom and lab standard training of teachers.  The teachers find it boring so the union supports their not going to training which the schools aren't doing anyway.  I go into schools where the art teachers have absolutely no knowledge of these regulations.  And their classrooms look like it.

 

And this is coming from a rah-rah union supporter and employee.  There good 'uns and bad 'uns.

 

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

actsnyc**At_Symbol_Here**cs.com   www.artscraftstheatersafety.org


 

 

-----Original Message-----
From: Michael D Ahler <mahler**At_Symbol_Here**HANCOCKCOLLEGE.EDU>
To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Sent: Mon, Nov 2, 2015 5:09 am
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Chemistry classroom fire injures 6

All,

 

How to Get a Message to All School Teachers:

 

To get a message about the dangers of the methanol "rainbow" demo to a large, distributed group such as "all middle school and high school teachers" I think it would be useful to find a common denominator that already exists among them.  Counting on the media, or congressional hearings or other sources that have access to a national stage are good ideas.     But along with broadcasting a message at a national level through Frontline or 60 Minutes news programs, I suggest using a communication network that already exists and that has ties specifically to teachers everywhere in the country.   There are one or two organizations that communicate with "all" classroom teachers routinely and often.   I think someone should approach the NEA and the AFT with a request to distribute to their members information of arguable value - "how to continue doing this popular chemistry demo without setting your students on fire any more".

 

 Sometimes I get carried away. 

 

I suggest a letter to NEA and AFT that says something along the lines of:

 

"For a number of years safety professionals and others in the American Chemical Society have noticed an alarming frequency of incidents in middle schools and high schools where students are being injured by the popular classroom science demonstration involving burning methyl alcohol and "rainbow" colors.   Every year there are a handful of news reports of students being taken to hospital emergency rooms with serious, sometimes life-threatening burns sustained from this specific procedure.    We believe this is due to widespread unfamiliarity among classroom teachers with the hazards of the materials used in this demonstration.     We are suggesting that you communicate with your members, especially middle school and high school science teachers, and provide them with information about the historical consequences of this procedure and detailed guidelines for performing it safely.    We are offering to provide technical guidance in crafting such guidelines with the hope that it reach as many class room teachers as possible who might choose to perform this demonstration.

This demonstration can be and has been performed many times without mishap, but the edge between fascination and disaster is very thin for this procedure.   Many science teachers, especially in K -12 education seem to be unaware of the dangers that come with it.

If you wish to participate in such an effort please contact "

 

When it comes to offering technical guidance, I can see including the decision to not do the demonstration as one of the guideline options.

 

If my Google searching results are correct, there are about 3 million school teachers in the US and there are about 3 million members of NEA and AFT.  The totals I found are actually larger.  I suspect dual membership in these organizations.  In any case, I hypothesize that "all" K-12 school teachers can be efficiently reached through their unions.

Perhaps the offer could be contained in a letter written by the President of ACS.

 

Thanks for listening.

 

Michael Ahler

Part-Time Faculty Member

LPS (Chemistry)

Allan Hancock College

and Retired  CHO

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo


From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**med.cornell.edu] on behalf of Laurence Doemeny [ldoemeny**At_Symbol_Here**COX.NET]
Sent: Sunday, November 01, 2015 9:53 AM
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Chemistry classroom fire injures 6

Rob et al.,

The thing about Frontline and 60 Minutes is they cover a larger issue than just one demonstration.  These past few years educational institutions from primary schools through to graduate schools have experienced significant debilitating incidents and deaths.  The ACS through its committees and divisions have addressed the subject and distributed the information but to a limited audience.  Local media, with the help of local sections, is one approach to get some of the information to the general public but the investigative reporting is a compressive approach to the problems.  Assistance from the NSF, NIH and the Department of Education should be considered in the campaign for safer science education.

 

Here is how to contact Frontline and 60 Minutes:

 

Story Editor
FRONTLINE/WGBH
One Guest Street
Boston, MA 02135

FRONTLINE welcomes suggestions from our viewers, and we review all letters and ideas. We are producing 27 programs this season and each year receive roughly 500 program suggestions and proposals.

 

60 Minutes
524 West 57th St.
New York, NY 10019

EMAIL: 60m**At_Symbol_Here**cbsnews.com


PHONE: (212) 975-3247 (CBS Audience Services)

 

Laurence Doemeny

From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**med.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of ILPI Support
Sent: Saturday, October 31, 2015 10:37 AM
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Chemistry classroom fire injures 6

 

I'm already rolling on that.  I started work last night to get a group of people together who would be the go-to folks for the segment to comment on camera, outline the issue/history of it, etc.   Basically prepackaging all the background footwork done that someone would need to do *exactly* that.   I possibly have a media contact or two through some other channels.   Anyone who wants to help compile the case histories etc. should contact me off list.

 

It is quite clear that we can't solve the issue our normal way - it is going to take some media attention so that administrators and parents push it.   A limited email I sent out last night for initial feelers was titled "Let's get to the end of this rainbow once and for all".    It makes a great story; I can imagine the tag lines now "invisible danger in the classroom", "your child at risk" etc.

 

The only question is the scope/scale.  We obviously need to address all methanol/flame demos, but do we move beyond what has already been called for and go for an outright ban on using methanol etc.

 

Rob Toreki

 

On Oct 31, 2015, at 1:04 PM, Laurence Doemeny <ldoemeny**At_Symbol_Here**COX.NET> wrote:

 

While training is helpful the real need is getting the information about the hazard to the teachers and administrators.  Apparently some instructors don't know there is a problem.

 

My suggestion is for the ACS and teacher organizations to jointly contact local and national news media to have a segment on the dangers of some of these demonstrations and how to perform them safely.  That should get parent and school administrators attention.  This would make a nice PBS Frontline or 60 Minutes segment.

 

The Chemical Safety Board makes outstanding videos and excellent reports but their reach appears limited.

 

Laurence Doemeny

 

 

From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**med.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of Casadonte, Dominick
Sent: Friday, October 30, 2015 1:42 PM
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Chemistry classroom fire injures 6

 

This continues to beg for training for demonstrators... 

 

From: DCHAS-L Discussion List <dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**med.cornell.edu> on behalf of "'sigmannsb**At_Symbol_Here**appstate. edu'" <sigmannsb**At_Symbol_Here**appstate.edu>
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Date: Friday, October 30, 2015 at 3:18 PM
To: "DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU" <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Chemistry classroom fire injures 6

 

I just showed the CSB video to our preteachers this week!
S-

On 10/30/2015 4:00 PM, Harry J. Elston wrote:

Bang Head Here --->  (Rainbow Experiment)

 

Harry

 

On Fri, Oct 30, 2015 at 2:13 PM, Jyllian Kemsley <jyllian.kemsley**At_Symbol_Here**gmail.com> wrote:

"She was demonstrating the experiment ... with the different elements causing the fire to change color, and as the fire was dying down she added more alcohol"

 

 

On Fri, Oct 30, 2015 at 9:25 AM, ILPI Support <info**At_Symbol_Here**ilpi.com> wrote:

Figured this one couldn't wait for Monday's headlines:

 

 

Two are in serious condition (presumably with burns).  No chemistry details yet.   I think we all have a good guess at what was involved based on unfortunate past experiences, but let's sit tight until there is confirmation.

 

Rob Toreki

 

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Samuella B. Sigmann, NRCC-CHO

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