From: Monona Rossol <actsnyc**At_Symbol_Here**>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Thought question: Chemical safety for biologists
Date: Tue, 22 Mar 2016 15:18:49 -0400
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: 1539fc3e326-324d-c04f**At_Symbol_Here**

Formaldehyde is not just an animal carcinogen.  It is now IARC-1, NTP-K, OSHA-Ca, NIOSH-Ca, and EPA-B1.    So that's a known human carcinogen.

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: Alan Hall <ahalltoxic**At_Symbol_Here**GMAIL.COM>
Sent: Tue, Mar 22, 2016 3:00 pm
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Thought question: Chemical safety for biologists


I'd start with thinking about whether such students work on biology lab specimens with the usual 70% formaldehyde/30% methanol preservative (Formalin).

These are both systemic toxicants (including formaldehyde being an animal carcinogen). Subsitution would be a good option here.

Foralin can also be a skin sensitizer with resultant allergic contact dermatitis with subsequent exposures. 

A list of chemicals intended to be used in such courses and provided to the members of this listserve would be of great assistance in providing appropriate feedback.

As to glove selection, the compounds such students may come into contact with should be compared against available charts from manufactrurers and others for breakthrough times and penetration rates (breakthrough time = when the first molecule penetrates through the glove material; penetration rate:  how fast the compound passes through the glove material after the breakthrough time)..

Issues such as eye protection, wearing of protective aprons and lab coats, ventialtion, and potential doing some work in properly functioning fume hoods should be addressed.  And certainly the proper use of decontamination eyewashes/showwers should both be taught and demonstrated.
Some inital thoughts.

Alan H. Hall, M.D.
Medical Toxicologist

On Tue, Mar 22, 2016 at 12:29 PM, Stuart, Ralph <Ralph.Stuart**At_Symbol_Here**> wrote:
I have a question that I'd like input from the DCHAS community on:
The quick version is:
What information about chemical safety do biologists need to know?

The longer version of the question is that I'm working with the KSC undergrad biology lab coordinator to develop introductory lab safety training for biology research students who work with a relatively limited suite of chemicals, some of which are flammables, others of which are significantly toxic, many of which are neither.
- For example, do these students need to hear about all of the GHS hazard classes in the 1.5 hours available for the training?
- What kind of information do they need about chemical resistance of lab gloves?
- How much detail do they need to understand best practices for chemical storage cabinets and use of other lab ventilation devices?

Thanks for any help with thinking this through.

- Ralph

Ralph Stuart, CIH, CCHO
Chemical Hygiene Officer
Keene State College


Previous post   |  Top of Page   |   Next post

The content of this page reflects the personal opinion(s) of the author(s) only, not the American Chemical Society, ILPI, Safety Emporium, or any other party. Use of any information on this page is at the reader's own risk. Unauthorized reproduction of these materials is prohibited. Send questions/comments about the archive to
The maintenance and hosting of the DCHAS-L archive is provided through the generous support of Safety Emporium.