From: Kirk Hunter <kphunter**At_Symbol_Here**TSTC.EDU>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Flaming Snowballs @ ACS
Date: Wed, 12 Apr 2017 11:04:35 -0500
Reply-To: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**PRINCETON.EDU>
Message-ID: CAADjF__8rn8_ybJ0rF-L80vrJUCpwQr3bb=oWE5d3aBH91OQ6g**At_Symbol_Here**
In-Reply-To <1109037139E1524980CF9CBEB2476618010AE886EF**At_Symbol_Here**>

Hello All,

Enjoyed seeing many of you in San Francisco.

Here's what I know about the Chem Demo Exchange (CDE). One of my ACS volunteer hats is that I serve on the Undergraduate Programming Advisory Board (UPAB) which is under SOCED and plans activities at national meetings for undergrads. One of my "assignments" was to serve as one of the safety monitors for the CDE event. So, here is what I know.

It is my understanding that the student chapters submit their plans for the demos and they are reviewed and approved in the ACS Undergrad Office. I am not involved in this review process, but I think they are supposed to follow NCW guidelines for demo safety and use only household chemicals. I will get more info on this.

I know the group that you are referring to, but I don't recall the school. I do know that The Flaming Snowball demo was NOT done at the CDE. The group only showed videos. As I recall, all of their demos were combustion related. The group expressed to me some dismay at not being able to actually do these demos at the event. I did not watch all of the videos and I don't recall the "Flaming Snowball" one, so I can't comment about the appropriate use of PPE in them. However, this is something the reviewers should take into consideration.

I have seen the ACS organizers of this event take comments and recommendations very seriously and make changes.. For example, the way solid and liquid wastes are collected and segregated is a vast improvement from what is was done a few years ago. Starting with this meeting, the "safety enforcers" or monitors will now wear orange or green vests making the job easier as an event "official." (I wanted a metal star badge, white cowboy hat, mirrored sunglasses and holster, but I was over-ruled.) For what it's worth - our biggest fight during the CDE is having folks (especially faculty!!) wear eye protection when they are in the "hot zone" near the tables.

The ChemDemo Exchange is fun and interesting. It can be chaotic, too! The bottom line is that all of the demos must be very low risk. Yes, many are bland, but some of the demos are quite ingenious and engaging. There were several chapters from Puerto Rico who always had a crowd at their tables and golly, were they enthusiastic! That type of enthusiasm is better than any explosion demo in attracting students to chemistry!

The questions you bring up are good ones and things that should be examined. I will included these comments, along with some of my own, in my report to the UPAB committee. If you have suggestions that would improve the event and lower the risks and hazards, please pass them on!

Kirk Hunter
Kirk Hunter
Department Chair
Chemical/Environment Laboratory Technology and
Pharmacy Technician Program
Texas State Technical College
3801 Campus Drive
Waco, Texas 76705
(254) 867-4859 (o)
email: kirk.hunter**At_Symbol_Here**

On Mon, Apr 10, 2017 at 11:51 PM, Wilhelm, Monique <mwilhelm**At_Symbol_Here**> wrote:
Hello Safe Ones,

I have a question related to the recent ACS meeting: Are live demos performed at ACS meetings reviewed for safety before they are approved to be done? I know there was an approval process for the Demo Exchange this year, but do not know if safety was part of it.

I ask because this is the second year in a row where my students have come back to tell me the horror they felt seeing what others were doing. Last year it was liquid nitrogen explosions with only safety glasses as PPE during a workshop. This year it was a video of "Flaming Snowballs" being presented as a demo at the Demo Exchange. I do not have the exact video or know what chapter was showing it. You can see an example of these Flaming Snowballs here: I have not personally seen the exact video that was shown at this year's meeting. However, my students did specifically point out lack of PPE, even though my bigger concern was throwing a flaming ball around. I am glad that my students can identify the problems with such things, but do worry about the influence on other students who may not have as much safety knowledge (especially considering I will have a new group of chemists in training to take with me when my current gr!
oup graduates next year).

Has anyone else seen these demos being done or shared these concerns?

Monique Wilhelm
Laboratory Manager/Adjunct Lecturer/Chem Club Co-Advisor
Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
University of Michigan-Flint
Flint, MI 48502

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