Teaching laboratory chemical safety
Apr02

Teaching laboratory chemical safety

A guest post by Ralph Stuart, secretary of the ACS Division of Chemical Health & Safety. Last week’s DCHAS symposium on Safety in Undergraduate Teaching included several interesting presentations on effective ways of teaching lab safety, particularly chemical risk assessment, for both undergraduates and incoming graduate students. It was heartening to hear about class safety efforts that went beyond a focus on personal protective...

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If you’re tempted to brush your teeth at the lab sink…
Mar18

If you’re tempted to brush your teeth at the lab sink…

Don’t. Just don’t. That goes double for PIs. I would really like to know why on earth this one thinks it’s a good idea.

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Safety Madness at UT Austin
Mar04

Safety Madness at UT Austin

March is fast approaching and with it March Madness, also known as the NCAA Division I Basketball Tournament (go Cardinal!). The chemistry department at the University of Texas, Austin, took a page out of the basketball book last year and created a “Safety Madness” tournament—complete with brackets–for its department. Lab groups divided into the “makers” (organic and inorganic divisions) and “measurers” (analytical and physical...

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Waste explosion at Texas Tech
Feb26

Waste explosion at Texas Tech

On Feb. 2, a glass waste bottle exploded in a Texas Tech University teaching laboratory, injuring three undergraduate students and a graduate teaching assistant. TTU has nowposted its investigation results online. In short, a nitric acid wash step was eliminated from the lab but the written instructions were not revised (I don’t know how this was communicated–with a verbal “skip step X”?). Nitric acid waste...

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Piranha solution explosions
Jan16

Piranha solution explosions

From the C&EN archives, but I believe still relevant today: April 23, 1990, page 2 SIR: We wish to report two violent explosions experienced with a sample of “piranha solution” used routinely in many laboratories to clean badly soiled glass frits and other surfaces. At Berkeley an explosion occurred in a bottle of this mixture that had been stored for several days. In this case, the solution was prepared by carefully...

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Solvent stills and fire repercussions
Dec16

Solvent stills and fire repercussions

I recently came across this 2002 letter regarding still safety and lab emergency preparation from William J. Evans of the University of California, Irvine. I thought it was worth sharing again for its lessons learned: As described in the article “Putting Safety First,” my laboratory suffered major losses on July 23, 2001, as a result of a fire originating with the malfunction of a solvent still (C&EN, May 20, page 43)....

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