From: Margaret Rakas <mrakas**At_Symbol_Here**SMITH.EDU>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Thought question: Chemical safety for biologists
Date: Tue, 22 Mar 2016 16:39:22 -0400
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: CAAszpkxT6+unY2s-aucM2w7iUOj2P-QWueEE138zsydRZO3gOg**At_Symbol_Here**
In-Reply-To <1539fc3e326-324d-c04f**At_Symbol_Here**>

Many biological samples now come in non-formaldehyde solutions--basically they are propylene glycol. Not harmless, but much better than formaldehyde...

If it's an intro course, I would focus on the chemicals they are using in that class--especially if there is a toxic or highly toxic chemical. Pull the MSDS (I like to be old-fashioned) and have them go through it. Goodness knows the Hazard and Risk statements can be difficult to read, so take them through the tox section as well as transportation (6.1, anyone?!)

Make sure they are aware of 'flash back' from vapors, particularly if they are using the ethanol/bunsen burner spreader sterilization technique.

I would focus on the GHS symbols they are going to see for the chemicals in that class. If you want to provide a handout or wall chart for all of them, fine, but I would prefer they REALLY RETAIN what they will need for that course, along with an idea that "if I see something like this and don't know what it means, here is where I can look it up".

Same deal with may be that one type will work with everything--they need to know that not all glove materials protect from all chemicals; these gloves are made from a material that IS effective against everything they're working with....and how to get info when they work with something new in their research lab (hint; call EHS--make it easy for them).

If they aren't using gas cylinders in that particular course, all I'd do is show them the Mythbusters video--it's just a minute or so--and say "If you ever need to use one of these, you need training--call EHS/ask your advisor"...

My point is, they are more likely to retain and use the information if it is tailored to what their experience will be. Yes, we'd like to be really thorough but if they aren't going to use the info during the semester, they likely won't retain it. Better they understand when to use a fume hood and when to use a biosafety cabinet (and how to work in either properly).

my two cents, my personal opinion only--

On Tue, Mar 22, 2016 at 3:18 PM, Monona Rossol <actsnyc**At_Symbol_Here**> wrote:
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


Margaret A. Rakas, Ph.D.
Manager, Inventory & Regulatory Affairs
Clark Science Center
413-585-3877 (p)

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