All posts by Ralph Stuart

5 Key Safety Questions for Chemical Demonstrations

At the Spring, 2017 ACS national meeting, CHAS members Ralph Stuart and Sammye Sigmann made presentations in the Division of Chemical Education technical program on topics related to undergraduate research safety. Sammye’s  presentation was entitled:
Integrating Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment into Course-based Undergraduate Research (CURE)

Ralph’s (which Sammye co-authored) was entitled:
Providing laboratory safety education to REU audiences.

In addition, they co-authored a poster for Sci Mix. An overview of the poster and a link to it are provided below.
In 2016, the ACS Division of Chemical Education (CHED) updated their “Safety Guidelines for Chemical Demonstrations”. The Guidelines are available at the CHED web site. Look at DCHAS web site to see how these guidelines align with the “5 Key Questions”.

This poster provides a quick overview of the five key safety questions that anyone planning chemical demonstrations or experiments should ask and answer prior to work. It is also important to be aware that local jurisdictions may require more extensive planning for some demonstrations and so for everyone’s safety – check with the local Fire Department for help with planning your demonstration.

The Five Key Questions are:

  1. What specific chemical or physical reactivity hazards are associated with the way I’m using these chemicals?
  2. What type of ventilation do I need?
  3. What personal protective equipment do I need?
  4. What emergency response protocols will be needed if something goes wrong?
  5. What will I do with the waste?

Sigmann, S.; Stuart, R.

Assessing Risk: Five Key Questions for Safe Research and Demos. inChemistry Magazine, 2016, September/October, 6-9.

Five Chem Safety Questions poster

 

Update on Chemical Safety Information in PubChem

PubChem LCSS Update – March 2017

The PubChem database, hosted by the US National Library of Medicine, includes a wide variety of data on over 90 million chemical compounds. PubChem’s  goal  is to make this data accessible to chemists, chemical safety professionals, chemical educators and others working with laboratory chemicals. Data are reported from multiple sources, allowing users to compare and determine the best use of this data in their work. The data are also organized to facilitate downloading in a variety of formats as well via programmatic access for reuse in local software applications.

In addition to structural, physical and toxicological raw data, the PubChem collection includes chemical safety information from national and international agencies. For human browsers, this chemical safety information in PubChem is organized into a data view based on the Laboratory Chemical Safety Summary (LCSS) format described in “Prudent Practices in the Laboratory“.  This LCSS view chemical and physical properties and safety information for compounds that have Globally Harmonized System designations publicly available. The number of records with this chemical safety information has increased from 3000 in 2015 to more than 103,000 today. LCSS data provided by PubChem are intended to support, but not replacelaboratory risk assessments, Safety Data Sheets and institutional guidance for safe laboratory practices and procedures.

Notably, the data compiled by PubChem includes safety information beyond that generally provided by Safety Data Sheets. This additional information is found in sources such as the NIOSH Pocket Guide, CAMEO and European Chemicals Agency, among others. There are also specific incompatible reactions reported from the  Hazardous Substances Data Bank (HSDB), sourced from Sigma Aldrich Safety Center notes, the National Fire Protection Association Fire Protection Guide to Hazardous Materials, Sax’s Dangerous Properties of Industrial Materials, Bretherick’s Handbook of Reactive Chemical Hazards and others.

LCSS data can be viewed online, or downloaded either by individual compound or in bulk.  In this way, PubChem information can be used to support electronic safety tools such as institutional chemical inventory management systems or laboratory-specific personal protective equipment guidelines. More information about this feature can be found here.

Traffic to the safety information in PubChem has increased over 80% in the past year. The PubChem staff are interested in continuing to improve the usability and accessibility of this information to the laboratory community. To this end, representatives of the ACS Divisions of Chemical Information (CINF) and Chemical Health and Safety (CHAS) are working with the PubChem staff to identify additional sources and uses for health and safety data. Efforts are also underway to improve annotation of the data and enable more specific data retrieval options.  We welcome  ideas for organization and presentation of the data. To participate or provide comments, contact the CINF safety representative, Leah McEwen at lrm1@cornell.edu or the CHAS secretary, Ralph Stuart at ralph.stuart@keene.edu.

An exposure assessment of desktop 3D printing

The Editor’s Spotlight for the March / April 2017 issue of the Journal of Chemical Health and Safety is shining on:

An exposure assessment of desktop 3D printing by Tracy L. Zontek, Burton R. Ogle, John T. Jankovic, and Scott M. Hollenbeck

A preliminary hazard analysis of 3D printing included process monitoring in two working environments; a small well ventilated materials development laboratory with a Makerbot printer (polylactic acid filament) and a poorly ventilated lab, home-like in terms of room size and ventilation with a Da Vinci XYZ printer (acrylonitrile- butadiene-styrene).

Particle number, size and mass concentration were measured within the printer enclosures, breathing zone, and room simultaneously. Number concentrations were elevated above background typically in the 103 – 105 particles/cm3 range. During printing >99% of the aerosol number concentration was within the ultrafine particulate (UFP) and nanoscale size range. Condensed aerosol emissions from the Da Vinci XYZ printer was examined by Fourier infra-red spectroscopy and suggested isocyanic acid and n-decane as two possible chemical components. Light microscopy and transmission electron microscopy with energy dispersive analysis by X-ray identified individual and aggregated particles highly suggestive of combustion, accompanied by a variety of metallic elements.

Adverse health effects associated with 3D printing related to chemical vapor off-gassing in well ventilated space appears to be low. At this point the significance of ultrafine particle emission is under growing suspicion in its relationship to inflammatory, pulmonary, and cardiovascular effects. Preliminary recommendations for particulate control developed from this analysis are based on good industrial hygiene practice rather than compelling adverse health effects.

You can download the complete article here. An exposure assessment of desktop 3D printing

EPA Symposium on new RCRA Generator Requirements

On January 31 in Boston, EPA headquarters staff gave a 6 hour presentation on the new RCRA generator requirements promulgated last November with specific emphasis on how these changes might impact laboratory waste generators. The staff acknowledged that there were specific issues raised by these changes that might have different impacts on laboratory settings compared to other generators. For example, their presentation indicates that the average RCRA hazardous waste generator has between 1 and 5 waste streams that they typically generate.

Attendees at this meeting were from around the country and had many questions about how these rule changes would be applied in the laboratory setting. The answers to many of these questions will depend on how specific states choose to implement and enforce these changes.

A pdf version of the powerpoint file (169 slides) for this presentation can be downloaded here. The symposium was recorded; contact Ralph Stuart at secretary@dchas.org for more information about accessing this information.

Safety in the Chemistry Enterprise

In December, the American Chemical Society Board of Directors approved a ACS policy statement on “Safety in the Chemical Enterprise”. As described in the C&EN article at this link, The document outlines the ACS’ recommendations to government agencies in addressing public concerns about the safe use of chemicals in the economy. This statement will provide guidance to ACS staff and committees in developing information about these issues over the next three years.

Analysis of injury data to improve safety and training

The Editor’s Spotlight for the January / February 2017 issue of the Journal of Chemical Health and Safety is shining on:

Analysis of injury data to improve safety and training by Heather Simmons, Betsy Matos and Stephen Simpson of Iowa State University.

The article describes how they used injury data to evaluate trends in laboratory-related injuries there between 2001 and 2014. As a result, they are moving away from classroom-only training and are incorporating multiple learning methods into our training program. In addition, we are utilizing near misses, narratives, and anecdotes to enhance learning.

Their new approach focuses on moving from a compliance-centered culture to one in which we use data to drive the decision-making process and our communications with researchers.

Other technical articles in this issue include:

Low level noise analysis in laboratory fume hood
Kang Chen, Jinlong Yang, Hongbo Zhang, Wenjun Zhang

Evaluation of the ECETOC TRA model for workplace inhalation exposure to ethylbenzene in Japan
Satoko Ishii, Ritsuko Katagiri, Kimiyoshi Kitamura, Masaaki Shimojima, Takeharu Wada

Investigation of a light fixture fire
James D. Jurney, Michael E. Cournoyer, Stanley Trujillo, Stephen B. Schreiber

Exploding misconceptions: Developing a culture of safety through learner driven activities
Shayna Burchett, Annalise Pfaff, Jack Hayes, Klaus Woelk

DCHAS comments on ISEA eyewash & safety shower standard

DCHAS was invited by the ISEA to participate in its first round of discussions on the next revision of the standard for emergency eyewash and shower equipment. Summaries of this standard can be found at these locations:

To support their participation in this meeting, the Division conducted a poll of its membership, which 88 people participated in. You can find the results of the eyewash shower results here with a summary  report here. Comments referenced in the report about how this standard relates to ADA considerations is available here and here.

On December 2, 2016, the ISEA Shower and Eyewash Product Group met in a round table discussion seeking input from various stakeholders on the next revision of Z358.1 (anticipated for 2019). Sammye Sigmann and Mary Beth Koza represented the Division of Chemical Health and Safety of the American Chemical Society (DCHAS ACS). Their report can be downloaded here.

Another topic of discussion was the recommendation to rinse eyes for 30 minutes in case of exposures tor bases. Three links which suggest this are:

Questions and comments on this information can be directed to Sammye Sigmann <sigmannsb@appstate.edu> or Mary Beth Koza <MBKoza@ehs.unc.edu>

Safety Culture Education Discussion

At the September CSHEMA regional meeting, three DCHAS members (Gail Hall of Boston College, Zehra Schneider-Graham of the University of Massachusetts Boston, and Ralph Stuart of Keene State College) participated in a panel discussion about how Environmental Health and Safety Departments can best support laboratory safety culture through their safety training efforts. The presentations discussed the challenge of developing training programs that reflected the institutional culture while also addressing regulatory requirements.

Three key lessons from the Lab-XL project with the EPA were highlighted:

  • Each academic institution is unique
  • Connecting to the academic mission is necessary to motivate organizational change
  • Flexibility goes a long way in laboratory settings

In addition to describing approaches to this issue in the undergraduate and graduate laboratory settings, the panel presented the results of a DCHAS/CSHEMA survey of safety education efforts. PDF versions of the presentations and the survey results are provided here:

Developing Safety Culture Education at a PUI Campus, Ralph Stuart

Naming the Dead Cat in the Middle of the Table, Gail Hall

Survey on Lab Safety Culture Education on Campus, Zehra Schneider-Graham

Safety Culture Education Survey Results Data (in PDF) (if you are interested in these data in Excel format for further exploration, contact Ralph Stuart at ralph.stuart@keene.edu).

Also note this related article from the Journal of Chemical Education on Using the Universal Design for Learning Approach in Science Laboratories To Minimize Student Stress