.... > >Please remember, I am not a toxicologist, and only toxicologist can interpret toxicological data. (Tilak)
Is this true? I often see toxicological data on Safety Data Sheets, which have a much broader audience than toxicologists. (Ralph) ...
This raises a vexing question, and one that I discuss with my students when introducing the variety of toxicological data that are present in SDSs and elsewhere: What do you DO with this information? An LD50? A PEL? We can come up with general guidelines about "lower values" being more hazardous than "higher values", but students (and chemists) need to make decisions about lab behaviors in practical and prudent fashions. "Should I work with this chemical only in a hood? Should I wear gloves? If ingestion seems nearly impossible in most lab situations, of what value is an LD50?" Of course, the best answer is to be prudent: Wear appropriate PPE, handle chemicals prudently, and use a hood except in situations where the risk is negligibly low. But now we have moved from hazard identification to risk assessment. And, sadly, MSDSs and SDSs are notoriously "overly precautious" and often contain statements that, to "reasonable practitioners", seem ridiculous. The !
GHS at least gives a first-order clue of the hazard level with either "warning" or "danger."
And, of course Monona would remind us: How do we assess the hazard and risk of chemicals for which there is no toxicological data? What do we assume? How do we behave in the absence of hazard information?
So, Tilak may be correct that only a toxicologist can (authoritatively) interpret toxicological data, but Ralph points out that the rest of us who are in the lab must decide how to interpret these data. I do see the GHS as a useful system for the bench chemist - but the vast numbers of scientists who use chemicals but don't think of themselves as chemists. All teachers who teach general chemistry (where these issues must be discussed...) know that the vast majority of our students are biology majors - some of whom will someday work with chemicals on a daily basis and may or may not develop the kind of safety awareness that we seek to provide in undergraduate and graduate chemistry programs.
The educational challenges here are considerable in scope and depth.
David C. Finster
Professor, Department of Chemistry
University Chemical Hygiene Officer
From: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**PRINCETON.EDU] On Behalf Of Stuart, Ralph
Sent: Wednesday, October 11, 2017 7:50 AM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Grassroots lab safety examples?
>Replacement of hexanes with pentane. The neurological effects of
>n-hexanes are well known since 1960 through occupational studies
Good example. Another example of this discovery was related to auto mechanics in California.
> >Please remember, I am not a toxicologist, and only toxicologist can interpret toxicological data.
Is this true? I often see toxicological data on Safety Data Sheets, which have a much broader audience than toxicologists.
Ralph Stuart, CIH, CCHO
Environmental Safety Manager
Keene State College
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