From: Katheen Fisher <fisherk.ehs**At_Symbol_Here**GMAIL.COM>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] 20th century lab safety heroes
Date: Wed, 8 Nov 2017 19:48:23 -0800
Reply-To: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**PRINCETON.EDU>
Message-ID: CAOXRQ=kDjcFbwoGDL6eKNybqve2iFZ9n2zPbaew-bdGkjhjgVg**At_Symbol_Here**
In-Reply-To <1505305326.5678944.1510167697233**At_Symbol_Here**>

Dear all,

Include Frances Perkins with her Bachelor of Arts degree in chemistry and physics in 1902 from Mount Holyoke College. She was the first woman to hold a cabinet position and did much for all workers to improve work conditions and hours. She played a critical role in the adopting of social security, unemployment insurance, federal laws regulating child labor, and federal minimum wage.

In 1936, she spoke about silicosis ( and famously said that it can be prevented, not another death should occur from that disease. Today lab workers are still exposed through silica gels, geotechnical work, and the like.

Thanks, all. Kathleen

On 11/8/17 11:01 AM, Roger McClellan wrote:
I urge you to include Glenn Seaborg. He had a key role in ensuring that early radiation protection standards for the Manhattan project were science based. Soon after he isolated a measurable quantity of Pu-239 he directed that a portion of it be made available for use in animal toxicity studies. He did that knowing it was important to characterize the potential hazards of this new material to set appropriate work place standards. As is well known , the initial standards for Pu-239 were set using a ratio of the toxicity of Ra-226 and Pu-239 in laboratory animals and the known human toxicity of Ra-226 from the dial painters studies and estimation of the human Pu-239 hazard.

Following WWII he was one of the advocates of further testing of the long term studies of Pu-239 and Ra-226 in dogs studies at the University of Utah and UC-Davis. Later in the absence of any solid human data on cancer hazards from USA Pu workers, inhalation studies were conducted in dogs at the Lovelace Inhalation Toxicology Institute in Albuquerque and the Hanford Laboratories using well-characterized aerosols of both Pu-239 and Pu-238. The former is of interest because of its use in weapons and presence in nuclear reactor. The latter is of interest because of its role as a thermal electric power source for space missions. When the cold war was over , data became available on the Russian Pu workers at Mayak. Many cancers of lung , liver and bone were found in excess of the expected background level. This was predicted from the dog study data, however, initially it appeared the dog data under estimated human hazard. However, when the smoking and alcohol consumption of the Russian workers was taken in to account the dog data and human data were in solid agreement. I had the pleasure of discussing this work with Professor Seaborg on several occasions starting in 1965 when I was on a special assignment to the US Atomic Energy Commission and Seaborg headed the AEC. Later we had a great extended discussion when he visited the Lovelace Lab in NM. Yet later, we had a great discussion at half time of a University of California -Washington State University football game in Tokoyo. That is yet another story. Unfortunately, Seaborg passed away before the final results comparing the dog and human data were in hand.

Anyone interested in more details on radionuclide toxicity work should send me a private e-mail and I will send them a book chapter I recently authored.

Without question it is challenging to prepare a list. For example, I have the greatest of respect for the Scientific contributions of the Curies. However, there is clear evidence that they did not practice the best protective practices. I suggest you make clear the criteria being used in listing names.I look forward to seeing a final compilation of names.

On Wednesday, November 8, 2017 8:33 AM, "Battles, Paul" <pmb024**At_Symbol_Here**SHSU.EDU> wrote:

This may not be what you are looking for, but having a background in organic chemistry I always appreciated, Melvin Spencer Newman.


-----Original Message-----
From: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**PRINCETON.EDU] On Behalf Of Stuart, Ralph
Sent: Wednesday, November 8, 2017 8:38 AM
Subject: [DCHAS-L] 20th century lab safety heroes

I'm preparing for a presentation about safety story telling later this week at SERMACS and a question has arisen that the list might be able to help with:

If you asked today's undergraduate science student to name 3 to 5 laboratory scientists (as opposed to general scientists) from the 20th Century, who are they most likely to name? Which are the similar names from the 21st Century?

The names that spring to my Google-aided mind are Marie Curie, Watson and Crick (and Franklin), and Fermi. Glenn Seaborg is important, but I don't know if anyone today would know why...

Are there others?

Thanks for any thoughts on this.

- Ralph

Ralph Stuart, CIH, CCHO
Environmental Safety Manager
Keene State College
603 358-2859


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