From: Monona Rossol <0000030664c37427-dmarc-request**At_Symbol_Here**LISTS.PRINCETON.EDU>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Query about eye protection policy in academia
Date: Fri, 8 Nov 2019 21:24:24 +0000
Reply-To: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**PRINCETON.EDU>
Message-ID: 1608112653.1788565.1573248264265**At_Symbol_Here**

I'm confused.  Safety glasses are for impact.  Chemical splash goggles are for chemical splash.  While you can get chemical splash googles in which the eye piece is also rated for impact, safety glasses provide no protection from chemical splash. 

Safety glasses cannot be used as the default when eye hazard chemicals are being used.  And that's that.


-----Original Message-----
From: Yaritza Brinker <YBrinker**At_Symbol_Here**FELE.COM>
Sent: Fri, Nov 8, 2019 3:32 pm
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Query about eye protection policy in academia

I have been splashed waist-up by a sulfuric acid volcano which erupted while pouring left over acid in the designated waste bottle. The bottle had been "tampered" with by another student who mistakenly put zinc metal in said bottle. I wore goggles by departmental policy.
It is true that safety glasses are default in many industrial settings, but goggles are still required when needed. I support the idea of having students buy both and having them learn when to choose each one. However, you would have to ensure the experiments are truly suitable for safety glasses. I can=E2=80™t recall a single college chem experiment that would have been suitable for safety glasses. However, I do recall several physics experiments that should have required safety glasses.
So, maybe the answer lies in getting together with other disciplines and ensuring PPE is congruent across campus.. If all departments enforce it, then it will become second nature for the students.
The  NSTA has a good article about eye PPE selection
Selection tools are also available at
Thank you,
Yaritza Brinker
From: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**PRINCETON.EDU> On Behalf Of David C. Finster
Sent: Thursday, November 7, 2019 11:15 AM
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Query about eye protection policy in academia
** External Email **
I would like to query the group about eye protection.  As I understand it, the current and long-standing position taken by the ACS is the recommendation for the use of splash goggles and that using safety glasses is discouraged. 
As a starter, Prudent Practices (2011) states:
"Researchers should assess the risks associated with an experiment and use the appropriate level of eye protection:
• Safety glasses with side shields provide the mini =ADmum protection acceptable for regular use. They must meet the American National Standards Insti =ADtute (ANSI) Z87.1-2003 Standard for Occupational and Educational Eye and Face Protection, which specifies minimum lens thickness and impact resistance requirements.
• Chemical splash goggles are more appropriate than regular safety glasses to protect against haz =ADards such as projectiles, as well as when working with glassware under reduced or elevated pres =ADsures (e.g., sealed tube reactions), when handling potentially explosive compounds (particularly during distillations), and when using glassware in high-temperature operations.
• Chemical splash goggles or face shields should be worn when there is a risk of splashing hazardous materials or flying particles."
I have always interpreted the ACS position to intend to apply to (at least) academic labs where:
  1. It is desirable to require student to purchase only one kind of eye protection, and, therefore
  2. Splash goggles are required since they will necessarily protect in "all labs" whereas safety glasses would protect <100% of the time since they would not provide adequate protection in the presence of liquid chemicals.
As a note in prelude to the rest of this email, I'll observe that at my college we have required safety goggles for at least the past 38 years.  The main argument rests on the two statements above.
I make the following assertions:
  1. Students must wear some form of eye protection in all labs that use chemicals. 
  2. If we wish to teach students how to use any form of PPE, they should be taught how to identify hazards and judge the level of risk.
  3. In our general chemistry program, there are perhaps 1-2 experiments where, in a worst-case scenario it would be advisable to wear splash goggles instead of safety glasses.
  4. Having taught general chemistry for 38 years, I can think of no episode where safety glasses would not have provided the necessary level of eye protection.   Otherwise stated, in general chemistry we have never experienced a "splash episode" that threatened the face at large.   (Frankly, I can think of no episode where any eye protection was actually "used" in the sense of protecting eye contact by a lab chemical - but I am surely not inclined to recommend "no eye protection".)
  5. Wearing goggles is less comfortable than wearing safety glasses.  "Comfort" does not trump "safety" but, particularly in light of the desire to wear "appropriate PPE" (based on a risk assessment,) it seems inappropriate to have students wear unnecessary PPE (ie, splash goggles).
  6. While I know of no hard data in this matter, conversations with colleagues and the examination of websites suggests that wearing safety glasses is commonplace at many colleges and universities.  Further, conversations with former students who went to graduate school and/or into industry suggest that safety glasses are much more common in these environments (despite the widely held view that "industry is safer than academia").  Thus, it seems that the ACS recommendation that is widely ignored.
Given these assumptions, I am considering a new recommended policy (that the ACS may wish to consider) that posits that student should purchase both safety glasses and splash goggles and then wear the appropriate eye protection during each lab.  The choice of eye protection can follow an appropriate hazard and risk assessment for each experiment.  There is a financial cost (to the student) for this recommendation, but since most students will progress on to organic chemistry (where the need for splash goggles in likely higher) the cost can be spread out over other parts of the curriculum. The clear advantage to this recommendation is that it fosters the use of RAMP on a regular basis and students are wearing appropriate eye protection all the time as determined by a needed risk assessment that minimizes the risks of hazards.
(The cost issue is not catastrophic:  I found the splash goggles that we use online at $13 and the safety glasses look like about $7.   Interestingly, our bookstore charges $24 for the goggles!)
Of course, any campus can adopt this policy irrespective of ACS recommendations.  And, some campuses may decide that safety glasses are appropriate at all times (but this seems unwise to me).
I welcome the wisdom of the group on this matter.
David C. Finster
Professor Emeritus, Department of Chemistry
Wittenberg University
--- For more information about the DCHAS-L e-mail list, contact the Divisional membership chair at membership**At_Symbol_Here** Follow us on Twitter **At_Symbol_Here**acsdchas

Electronic Transmission Confidentiality Notice
The information contained in this electronic transmission is private, confidential, the property of the sender, and intended for the use of the recipient(s), only. If you are not the addressee, any disclosure, copying, distribution or use of this information for any purpose is strictly prohibited. If you have received this information in error, please notify the sender, YBrinker**At_Symbol_Here**, immediately by e-mail and then delete this message. Thank you.
--- For more information about the DCHAS-L e-mail list, contact the Divisional membership chair at membership**At_Symbol_Here** Follow us on Twitter **At_Symbol_Here**acsdchas
--- For more information about the DCHAS-L e-mail list, contact the Divisional membership chair at membership**At_Symbol_Here** Follow us on Twitter **At_Symbol_Here**acsdchas

Previous post   |  Top of Page   |   Next post

The content of this page reflects the personal opinion(s) of the author(s) only, not the American Chemical Society, ILPI, Safety Emporium, or any other party. Use of any information on this page is at the reader's own risk. Unauthorized reproduction of these materials is prohibited. Send questions/comments about the archive to
The maintenance and hosting of the DCHAS-L archive is provided through the generous support of Safety Emporium.