Lab security is not just for the big guys
Jul03

Lab security is not just for the big guys

In catching up with my reading of the Journal of Chemical Health & Safety, I was struck by the paper “Lions, tigers, and bears: Managing research security in academia,” by Maureen Kotlas, director of environmental health and safety at the University of Missouri, Columbia. I was particularly interested in the various regulatory requirements for development of security plans for laboratories, and it occurred to me that...

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Reflecting on #chemsafety at #ACSPhilly
Aug22

Reflecting on #chemsafety at #ACSPhilly

There’s been a whirlwind of safety activity at the ACS meeting this week! The safety culture symposium was very well attended, and the speakers continually came up with new and effective approaches for the attendees to consider. For my part, I realized that I need to change one aspect of my chemical hygiene officer training. I’ve regularly used the combination of engineering controls, administrative controls, and personal...

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A case study: Possible hydrogen fluoride exposure
Aug01

A case study: Possible hydrogen fluoride exposure

How would you have handled this situation? Three chemists in a small laboratory were moving some old chemicals to a staging area prior to disposal. Many of the chemicals were simply unopened expired reagents, while others had been previously opened and used. After perhaps a half hour of moving chemicals, one of the workers complained of a severe burning sensation on the palm of his hand. When he removed his latex glove, his hand had...

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My favorite toxic chemical is: Osmium (and its tetroxide)
May21

My favorite toxic chemical is: Osmium (and its tetroxide)

Osmium is the densest of all natural elements and certainly one of the rarest, with worldwide production of about 545 kilograms annually. It’s incredibly expensive stuff, and yet, look at all the varied uses!  Osmium is used by itself or as an alloy for fingerprint detection and in fountain pen tips, pacemakers, light filaments, and jewelry. And it’s reacted with oxygen to form osmium tetroxide. The word osmium actually comes...

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Moving forward at UCLA
May03

Moving forward at UCLA

With the news last month that the Los Angeles County Superior Court has once again delayed the arraignment of the University of California, Los Angeles, and chemistry professor Patrick Harran on felony charges for labor code violations, it seemed appropriate to take a closer look at what the university is doing to move forward. In response to the death of UCLA laboratory researcher Sheharbano (Sheri) Sangji, the university instituted...

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