Enhancing eye protection and livening lab coats

Artist Freddy Sicoli airbrushes lab coats at Pittcon 2012 in Orlando, Fla. Credit: Matheson

Artist Freddy Sicoli airbrushed lab coats at Pittcon 2012 in Orlando, Fla. Credit: Matheson

Paul Bracher posted yesterday at Chembark about trying to make eye protection more appealing to young scientists:

I thought we needed to do a better job of making eye protection cool/fun, so first, we ordered them some safety glasses like “real scientists” wear (for general use) in lab. I bought three varieties of glasses from my favorite safety company. Each pair was only about $2—well worth the investment. At the next club meeting, we let the students choose what model and color they wanted. (To my surprise, the boys all wanted red frames while the girls opted for the black or clear frames.) Finally, in order to let the kids establish a personal connection to their PPE, we brought some knickknacks to let them personalize their glasses. These included rolls of colored tape and packets of jewel stickers that the kids could use to “bling out” their frames. This model had particularly wide frames that gave the kids a bunch of space to decorate.

Right after the decoration activity, we performed our most demanding (and fun) activity to date: making glow sticks from scratch. I don’t think I saw a single kid remove his/her glasses during the experiment. We’ll keep monitoring the situation in the future, but I think we’ve made some headway.

Chemjobber followed up with his own post in favor of the idea, even for older researchers. But one Chemjobber commenter was concerned:

Adding some things to your PPE is going to decrease effectiveness… especially with flammability or reactivity.

I’m not sure that’s a big worry. While I’d hesitate to mess with a flame-resistant lab coat, I don’t see that tie-dying or airbrushing a standard one would render it ineffective. The same goes for adding a bit of bling to eye protection, although you’d want to be careful not to hinder sight. Readers who disagree are welcome to do so in the comments, as always!

If anyone has personalized their safety gear, I’d love to see it! Feel free to post photos in the comments or e-mail them to me at j_kemsley@acs.orgj_kemsley@acs.org.

Author: Jyllian Kemsley

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  1. Letraset dry transfer lettering could be applied to the lenses of safety glasses or goggles. If the word “DIESEL” was used, you would have the PPE equivalent of the glasses worn by Katy Perry in the video “Hot N Cold’.

  2. I wonder what kind of lab coat Dylan Stiles (aka Tenderbutton) is wearing these days. Hope it’s still a black one. Always thought that’d be sweet.