From: "Wilhelm, Monique" <mwilhelm**At_Symbol_Here**UMFLINT.EDU>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Lab Coat storage
Date: Thu, 25 May 2017 18:45:34 +0000
Reply-To: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**PRINCETON.EDU>
Message-ID: 1109037139E1524980CF9CBEB2476618010AEFC07A**At_Symbol_Here**

Hi Jeff,


I like that you mention this because we have another dept that wants us to supply lab coats and laundering to our students because they do not think they should ever leave the lab because they "might" be contaminated.  We are a small chemistry program with a very small budget and cannot afford this.  We don't even offer laundering for our faculty and staff!


Also, that is not how I see the lab coats in this situation.  We are not protecting our clothing by capturing contaminants every day in our chemistry labs. And, we do not have our undergrads work with anything especially toxic that would remain on a lab coat in trace quantities and be of concern.  In such cases, you would still need to be concerned about the areas not covered by the lab coat including shoes.  What we have them wear lab coats for is an extra barrier against spills and other accidents.  So, we only consider a "contaminated" lab coat to be one that has a visible spill on it of a hazardous material (corrosive, etc), in which case I do collect the lab coat and neutralize it before returning to the student or dispose of in a bucket as haz waste.  Non-contaminated lab coats go home with the students at the end of the semester and we recommend laundering in hot water.  For our biochem  labs, I do autoclave the lab coats before returning to the students for washing.  Silver Nitrate and Iodine spills are spot cleaned with a thiosulfate solution and returned.


So, we do require lab coats in our chem labs, we require them to keep them in the lab in a drawer with only their goggles for the whole semester so that they do not forget them, we do not wash them, we do not consider them contaminated unless there is a visible amount because we do not work with materials that would make us consider this, and we do recommend that they launder them themselves the end of each semester just for sanitary reasons.  In cases where they become contaminated, we take them and either neutralize or dispose as haz waste.


Maybe I am wrong in having it this way.  But, I know faculty who have had the same lab coats for 20 years and have never washed them.  If we can accept that, then we can consider student lab coats not to be contaminated until otherwise known to be so.  And, yes, I am the crazy woman who washed her lab coat with her other clothes.  Unless it is contaminated, then it gets treated or goes out as haz waste.





From: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**PRINCETON.EDU] On Behalf Of Jeffrey Lewin
Sent: Thursday, May 25, 2017 12:39 PM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Lab Coat storage


I think this is more common than many realize.  Build a nice lab and stock it with cool stuff but not think about lab coat, book bag, or winter coat storage.


In my previous life in biology, the Medical Laboratory Science lab had designated spots for all these items.  In the microbiology lab, lab coats were kept in large individual Ziplocs, a small area was carved out for coats, and book bags either got piled on the floor under the coats or out in the hallway (the hallway storage was the result of mixed interpretations about food and drink, in closed containers that were inside the backpacks, not being allowed in the laboratory).


As an extra precaution, at the end of the semester for both laboratories, the coats were autoclaved before returning them to the students.  


As an aside, I'm curious if anyone has a regular conversation with instructors that think "lab coats are worn to protect your street clothing during routine lab work" as opposed to providing a protective element in case of a spill or accident.  To me, the argument of keeping street clothes clean suggests potential routine hazard exposure;  alternately, maybe the lab coats should be regularly laundered (or you use disposable coats)?







On Thu, May 25, 2017 at 11:56 AM Zack Mansdorf <mansdorf**At_Symbol_Here**> wrote:

Wow.  You wear lab coats to prevent contamination of your clothing.  You should not wear lab coats outside of the labs to prevent spreading contamination (most labs have this rule).  It sounds like you need to closely re-evaluate your practices otherwise you could recontaminate your clothing. 


Get a high powered EHS consultant to talk with your management.


I am very surprised that you have new labs and this was not considered in the design.



S.Z. Mansdorf, PhD, CIH, CSP, QEP

Consultant in EHS and Sustainability

7184 Via Palomar

Boca Raton, FL  33433





From: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**PRINCETON.EDU] On Behalf Of Vivian L. Longacre
Sent: Thursday, May 25, 2017 11:19 AM
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Lab Coat storage


Goo morning,


For those campuses that require lab coats in their chemistry laboratories, how are you handling storage?   We have wall to wall fume hoods in our upper division organic labs and no place to put lab coats.   The Chemistry department has recently instituted a lab coat policy in upper division labs where the hazards warrant them.  We have a brand new beautiful building they are housed in, however no lab coat storage.  Upper administration does not want anything put in the hallways.  So far, they have come up with extra large ziploc bags in which to put their lab coats into and store in their glassware drawers. 


Any other ideas out there?


Vivian Longacre 

Safety Training Specialist, RSO

Environmental Health & Safety

Cal Poly State University

San Luis Obispo, CA


Direct 805.756.6628

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Jeff Lewin

Chemical Safety Officer

Compliance, Integrity, and Safety

Environmental Health and Safety

Michigan Technological University

Houghton, MI 49931


O 906-487.3153

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