#Chemsafety programming at #ACSPhilly
Aug18

#Chemsafety programming at #ACSPhilly

The 252nd ACS National Meeting starts on Sunday in Philadelphia. Here’s what’s planned for chemical and laboratory safety; the Division of Chemical Health & Safety has its usual CHAS-At-A-Glance ready for printing. You can also find CHAS and the Committee on Chemical Safety in the Expo at booth 727. Note: I did not have time to proofread this after putting it together. If there’s something that you want to see, double-check the time and location with the actual program! SUNDAY Morning Division of Chemical Health & Safety Executive Committee open meeting, here’s the agenda book; 8:00 AM-noon; Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Grand Ballroom Salon C Bringing Cheminformatics into the College Chemistry Classroom; 8:15 AM-12:05 PM; Pennsylvania Convention Center, Room 112B (CINF, CHED) Learning to find the right information: A survey of chemistry information literacy in the undergraduate classroom Co-developing chemical information management and laboratory safety skills Introducing SIVVU, a web-based program for modeling spectrophotometric titration data Integration of cheminformatics material into the STEMWiki hyperlibrary Holistic approach to cheminformatics in a liberal arts environment Cheminformatics education and research at home: The best way to teach graduate chemistry in the professional community Fall 2015 cheminformatics OLCC project based learning: Validation of Wikipedia Chembox hazard information Cheminformatics in the chemistry classroom Modern cheminformatics tools in the teaching laboratory: A practical exercise simulating a drug discovery project Afternoon Division of Chemical Health & Safety Awards; 1:30-4:10 PM; Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Independence III (CHAS, CHED) Evolutions of the collaboration between the Safety Office and the Department of Chemistry at Duke University Establishing a safety culture in a new research lab: Communication, repetition, and accountability Safety in undergraduate chemistry: It takes the whole department Reflections of a career: Where you end up when you don’t know where you are going Past, present and yet to be achieved: A personal chemical safety journey by a synthetic chemist Division of Chemical Education Safety Committee open meeting; 4:00-5:30 PM; Pennsylvania Convention Center, Room 102B MONDAY Morning Committee on Chemical Safety open meeting; 7:00 AM-noon; Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, Franklin 1/2 Understanding Nanomaterial Behavior: Breakthroughs & Challenges; 9:00 AM-noon; Loews Philadelphia Hotel, Congress B (ENVR) Nanotechnology environmental, health, and safety challenges: A National Nanotechnology Coordination Office perspective Nanotechnology environmental, health, and safety challenges, research, and opportunities panel Nanotechnology health implications research consortium Nanotechnology environmental, health, and safety challenges, research, and opportunities federal panel: NIST perspective Afternoon Chemistry of the People, by the People, for the People; 1:30-3:50 PM; Pennsylvania Convention Center, Room 201A (CHED, ANYL, CEI, MPPG) Fuels chemistry for the people – Energy & Fuels Division (ENFL) Energy for the people Nuclear chemistry’s role in the 21st century Chemistry of the...

Read More
Peroxide formation in 2-propanol
Aug16

Peroxide formation in 2-propanol

C&EN ran a safety letter a couple of weeks ago regarding peroxide formation in 2-propanol: Two years ago we experienced an explosion in our lab at the end of 2-propanol distillation. Luckily, it was a small-scale distillation. To elucidate what happened, we prepared several samples of 2-propanol and kept them on a shelf away from direct sunlight at room temperature. … Prior to this incident, we were not aware that primary and secondary alcohols are peroxidizable. We hope this report is a reminder to the chemistry community that they are and that distillation procedures should take the hazard into account. For more information, see the 7th edition of “Bretherick’s Handbook of Reactive Chemical Hazards”; Chem. Health Saf. 2001, DOI: 10.1016/s1074-9098(01)00247-7; and J. Chem. Educ. 1988, DOI: 10.1021/ed065pa226. For more, go read the...

Read More
“They appear confident that what happened to other people won’t happen to them”
Jul21

“They appear confident that what happened to other people won’t happen to them”

Looking at this story about a particular bluff in Oregon’s Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area, is there an analogy to be made about research lab safety? The “Pedestal Rock” is on a notorious sandstone bluff at Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area, which is fenced off and bordered by signs warning people not to go there. Seven people have died in the area since 2009. Six fatal falls have taken place during the past two years. Rescue efforts by the local fire district and U.S. Coast Guard cost upward of $21,000 per hour, often topping out near $106,000. Yet people continue to flood past the fence and signs. Adults, teenagers, grandparents, photographers and even parents with small children disregard the warnings. “We’re not seeing much confusion about what the current signs and fence mean,” said Chris Havel, spokesman for the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. “Even people who are aware of the deaths walk right past the fence and signs into that area. They appear confident that what happened to other people won’t happen to them.” … Starting last month, [Park Ranger Lisa Stevenson] patrols the fence at Cape Kiwanda. Leading with friendliness and facts, she looks to start a dialogue rather than a confrontation, even when people don’t want to hear it. h/t...

Read More
NAS releases report on “Health Risks of Indoor Exposure to Particulate Matter”
Jul14

NAS releases report on “Health Risks of Indoor Exposure to Particulate Matter”

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine this week released a report from a workshop focusing on the “Health Risks of Indoor Exposure to Particulate Matter.” From the description: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines PM as a mixture of extremely small particles and liquid droplets comprising a number of components, including “acids (such as nitrates and sulfates), organic chemicals, metals, soil or dust particles, and allergens (such as fragments of pollen and mold spores)”. The health effects of outdoor exposure to particulate matter (PM) are the subject of both research attention and regulatory action. Although much less studied to date, indoor exposure to PM is gaining attention as a potential source of adverse health effects. Indoor PM can originate from outdoor particles and also from various indoor sources, including heating, cooking, and smoking. Levels of indoor PM have the potential to exceed outdoor PM levels. Understanding the major features and subtleties of indoor exposures to particles of outdoor origin can improve our understanding of the exposure–response relationship on which ambient air pollutant standards are based. The EPA’s Indoor Environments Division commissioned the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to hold a workshop examining the issue of indoor exposure to PM more comprehensively and considering both the health risks and possible intervention strategies. Participants discussed the ailments that are most affected by particulate matter and the attributes of the exposures that are of greatest concern, exposure modifiers, vulnerable populations, exposure assessment, risk management, and gaps in the science. This report summarizes the presentations and discussions from the workshop. I don’t see anything in it that specifically addresses articulate matter exposure in laboratories, but some of the ways to mitigate particulate exposure might work in lab...

Read More
Gas cylinder storage at the University of Hawaii
Jul13

Gas cylinder storage at the University of Hawaii

When C&EN published my story about the fire department investigation into the explosion at the University of Hawaii (UH) that cost postdoc Thea Ekins-Coward one of her arms, we got many comments about whether or how the gas cylinders were secured. The fire department report and photos had little information about that issue. The University of California Center for Laboratory Safety (UCCLS) report released on July 1, however, devotes a section of its recommendations to how gas cylinder safety could be improved at UH. Note that Honolulu is not at high risk for earthquakes–according to the U.S. Geological Survey, it’s roughly equivalent to Sacramento or Las Vegas. Consequently, things that Coastal California scientists might need to do, such as double-strapping cylinders, are not required. That said, there was still room to do better. This group of ten cylinders, for example, which included hydrogen, carbon dioxide, helium, and carbon monoxide: Was secured as: Comments UCCLS: The typical gas cylinder clamp with cloth strap is only designed to support a single cylinder. Thus, a cluster of ten cylinders should be in a dedicated gas rack. Second, only cylinders of similar size should be secured together. Securing large and small cylinders together results in one cylinder size being secured at the wrong height. (Technical report, page 9) As for the two oxygen cylinders: UCCLS says: ● Both oxygen cylinders were strapped to the biosafety cabinet with a safety strap as required by OSHA and CGA P-1. However, the safety straps of both cylinders loosened as a result of the force of the explosion. Although not required by HIOSH, chaining gas cylinders presents a safer option. ● One of the oxygen cylinders was open when the explosion occurred and vented its gas content into the laboratory. However, it did not cause an oxygen enriched fire which would have led to more damage and possibly cause the adjacent oxygen cylinder that was closed to vent through the CG-1 (Rupture disk) pressure relief device. (Technical report, page 30) In another lab, UCCLS found this one, captioned “Gas cylinder attached to an adjustable shelf in a bookcase.” I don’t know which lab this was in, but judging from the mess on the floor and exposed insulation at the back, I’m guessing it was one of the labs adjacent to the one in which the explosion happened. The report notes that for two adjacent labs, cabinets were blown off the walls. UCCLS’s overall guidance on gas cylinder storage and use (Recommendations report, pages 7 to 10): Gas cylinders should be restrained by chains secured to a wall with Unistrut steel bars. In earthquake areas there should be...

Read More