I have a researcher who wears the hijab (and blue jeans - go figure!). I happened to catch her in the hall one afternoon, wearing a gorgeous, synthetic hijab, with lovely flowing ends. It was a great opportunity to engage her in conversation about her concerns and my concerns and how she thought it best to mitigate the risk. She makes sure it's all tucked into her lab coat and that it's a natural fiber. About the best we can do.
Debbie M. Decker, CCHO, ACS Fellow
Chair, Division of Chemical Health and Safety
University of California, Davis
Birkett's hypothesis: "Any chemical reaction
that proceeds smoothly under normal conditions,
can proceed violently in the presence of an idiot."
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU]On Behalf Of Eileen Mason
Sent: Tuesday, December 08, 2015 7:39 AM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Synthetic Hijabs in Labs
What about talking with the student who suffered the near miss and ask for her input? She is in a position to understand both the safety and religious aspects of the situation. Those who wear the hijab will know best what is available and acceptable to their requirements.
Respectfully involving those directly affected will be culturally sensitive.
On Tue, Dec 8, 2015 at 8:56 AM, Wilhelm, Monique <mwilhelm**At_Symbol_Here**umflint.edu> wrote:
The wearing of synthetic hijabs in labs is a growing concern in my dept and we want to be sure to address the issue in a culturally sensitive manner. However, none of us is Muslim and so we are seeking input. We ask students not to wear synthetic clothing to lab. Some still do and we don't really have a means to monitor and aren't very concerned because we require a lab coat with at least 35% cotton that happens to cover the clothing in case of a spill or fire. But, the lab coat does not cover any head covering.
We recently had a fire in our organic lab and had a student who should have been right near the fire who was wearing a synthetic hijab that day. She immediately realized how devastating it would have been had she been at her hood when her partner's materials caught fire. And, we all agree.
So, I am looking to others to determine how you address this issue. We don't want to suggest in any way that they don't wear a hijab (they have enough pressures from society in this regard as of late)....just that they wear a cotton one or if there is something available to cover it like the lab coat covers the shirts.
I appreciate any and all input you may have, especially if you are one with experience wearing a hijab in a lab setting.
Laboratory Supervisor/Adjunct Lecturer/Chem Club Co-Advisor
Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
University of Michigan-Flint
Flint, MI 48502
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