Category Archives: Technical presentations

Making Chemistry Greener and Safer

A Symposium of the 23rd Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference and 9th International Conference on Green and Sustainable Chemistry

Organizers: Peter Reinhardt (Presider: peter.reinhardt@yale.edu), Ralph Stuart

How major incidents can drive safety, sustainability and profitability: Lessons from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board,

Kristen Kulinowski, U.S. Chemical Safety Board

For 20 years, the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) has investigated more than 100 major incidents where the accidental release of hazardous substances resulted in harm to people, property and the environment. Our investigations aim to understand and communicate the root and contributing causes of these incidents so they can be prevented in the future for a safer and more productive industry. As a non-regulatory, investigative Federal agency, the CSB issues recommendations for changes to industry practices, standards, and regulations and advocates for these changes to be propagated throughout the industry.

While major incidents are always disruptive, and often tragic, they can present opportunities for facility management and employees to take stock of the facility’s overall operational efficiency and make improvements to the process that meet the twin goals of safety and sustainability. A facility that experienced a major incident may be motivated in the aftermath to assess and address other unrelated safety hazards as well as longstanding inefficiencies in plant operations. When equipment has been damaged or destroyed, the feasibility of redesigning a process to make it inherently safer and more sustainable can be assessed as part of the rebuilding or repair phase.

This talk will present cases in which a major incident resulted in changes to processes that made them both safer and greener. One recent case, in particular, involved a top-to-bottom assessment of a facility’s operations that resulted in the complete phaseout of one hazardous chemical and ongoing efforts to drive toward more sustainable operations across the plant, even in areas that were uninvolved in the incident. The company reports that these changes have resulted in a streamlining of operations that is enhancing their bottom line. By talking with its peers about the incident and its post-incident improvements, this company is amplifying the message that safety, sustainability and profitability can be mutually supportive goals.

Paradigm shift in approach to safety through green chemistry,

Jane Wissinger, University of Minnesota

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)’s Hierarchy of Controls pyramid pictorially illustrates that the most effective method to improve safety is through elimination or substitution of the hazards. Yet, many research labs still choose to use old protocols, with, for example hazardous solvents and procedures, without considering recent green chemistry innovations demonstrating safer alternatives.

This presentation will assert that green chemistry education is key to creating a paradigm shift that prioritizes minimizing the hazard for reducing risk instead of seeking ways to minimize exposure. More specifically, intersection exists between RAMP, the stepwise student learning tool developed by Hill and Finster, and the goals of green chemistry. Green chemistry metrics can be applied for Recognizing and Assessing the risk and, the increased abundance of green chemistry/safer alternatives resource guides and hazard assessment online tools can offer mechanisms to Minimize the risk. Initiatives by the green chemistry community to provide educational tools for teaching basic chemical toxicology informing safer chemical design and processes can also be impactful.

Overall, applying green chemistry principles to chemical safety provides a unique opportunity for the chemical enterprise to meet our responsibilities to safeguard human health and the environment sustainably.

Incorporating chemical safety into green chemistry graduate research and undergraduate curriculum

Kendra Denlinger, Xavier University

Green chemistry and chemical safety considerations connect in many different places in academic chemistry work. Two of these connections in both the graduate research laboratory and undergraduate curriculum will be discussed. Recently, an online green chemistry course for undergraduate students was introduced into the curriculum at the University of Cincinnati. This course, designed by 5 chemistry graduate students, walks participants through various aspects of green chemistry: history, solvent use, green chemistry metrics, various green methodologies, and community engagement.

The incorporation of chemical safety into this course is discussed, along with proposed areas of improvement. Several examples of incorporating chemical safety into a graduate research setting are also discussed. These examples include using a near-miss incident and a green chemistry metric to improve the safety, as well as the greenness, of the research.

Enhancing laboratory safety: Principles of safe synthetic chemistry,

Craig Merlic, UCLA

The twelve principles of green chemistry established in 1998 by Paul Anastas and John Warner elegantly prescribe ways to conduct chemical research and production in order to minimize hazardous effects on human health and the environment. As these principles address hazardous chemicals they also then directly impact safety in the conduct of chemical research and production. However, there is more to conducting safe synthetic chemistry than just these principles. This talk will outline the principles of safe synthetic chemistry that can broadly impact the chemical enterprise with concepts and examples relevant to both organic and inorganic synthesis.

An active collaboration between faculty and research safety to evaluate green chemistry and safety from the bench to the institutional level

Christopher Weber, Clemson University

Green chemistry methods in academic teaching laboratories are widely acknowledged as being inherently safer than traditional organic synthetic methods, however, this may not always be the case when viewed from the broader institutional perspective. A green synthesis may provide greater safety for the student in the lab but may present unforeseen challenges at the university level in terms of waste disposal, chemical storage, and cost. The Clemson University organic teaching laboratories serve over 1,000 students per academic semester presenting the challenge of designing a green chemistry curriculum which is both green and safer at the bench and institutional levels. To address this challenge, a collaborative effort was made between the organic lab teaching faculty and the university’s Office of Research Safety to design a lab module which is greener and safer at both levels while providing the necessary chemical knowledge to the students.

We have designed a 2-week laboratory module for chemical engineering students in which groups compare a new green synthesis of crystal violet with the traditional synthetic route. The methods are compared in terms of green chemistry principles and safety from the perspective of the bench chemist and the university safety professional. This approach provides the students with the requisite chemical and analytical knowledge as well as providing the Office of Research Safety and teaching staff valuable data with which further course improvements can be made in keeping with Clemson’s ongoing commitment to education, safety, and environmental stewardship.

Suggested enhancements of green chemistry assessment tools crowdsourced from the ACS Committee on Chemical Safety

Peter Reinhardt, Yale University

Assessment tools have been developed to determine the relative “greenness” of chemical reactions, processes and products. These tools often overlook key safety factors that could render the “greenest” alternative impractical or unusable. In many cases, researchers and engineers assume that safety risks that may arise during green chemistry can be addressed with administrative and engineering controls, rather than averting safety risks altogether through experimental or production design.

In August 2018, the American Chemical Society’s Committee on Chemical Safety reviewed two green chemistry assessment tools—EcoScale and Green Star. Multiple suggestions were made to improve the tools. By incorporating safety factors, the tools could be useful in choosing alternatives that optimize both greenness and safety. This paper will review the Committee’s suggested additions, explain the consequences of not considering safety, and recommend some reasonable changes so the tools can be more versatile and usable in the real world.

JCHAS Editor’s Spotlight: Impact of a pilot laboratory safety team workshop

The JCHAS Editor’s Spotlight for the May / June 2019 issue of the Journal of Chemical Health and Safety is shining on:

Impact of a pilot laboratory safety team workshop
by Kali A. Miller and Kaitlin I. Tyler

This issue includes several articles related to the 2018 CHAS Presidential Symposium on Safety in the Chemistry Laboratory, including a Foreword by 2018 ACS President Peter Dorhout. The table of contents for this issue is:

This issue includes several articles related to the 2018 CHAS Presidential Symposium on Safety in the Chemistry Laboratory, including a Foreword by 2018 ACS President Peter Dorhout. The table of contents for this issue is:

  • Recognizing and understanding hazards — The key first step to safety by Robert H. Hill Jr.
  • A step in the right direction by Dawn C. Mason
  • Bringing Safety to Chemistry for Life by Ralph Stuart, Joseph M. Pickel
  • Impact of a pilot laboratory safety team workshop by Kali A. Miller, Kaitlin I. Tyler
  • Promoting safety culture: An overview of collaborative chemical safety information initiatives by Carmen I. Nitsche

CHAS members can access this issue at https://www.sciencedirect.com/journal/journal-of-chemical-health-and-safety?dgcid=raven_sd_via_email


JCHAS Editor’s Spotlight: Catching Up With Runaway Hot Plates

The JCHAS Editor’s Spotlight for the March / April 2019 issue of the Journal of Chemical Health and Safety is shining on:

Catching up with Runaway Hot Plates, by Joseph M. Pickel, Mark Mathews, and Kimberly Brown

In recent years, there have been numerous reports of “runaway hot plates”. This is to say, hot plates that heat uncontrollably regardless of the temperature setting or whether the controls are in the off position. Some of these events have resulted in injuries to laboratory personnel and damage to research facilities. Investigations into the cause of several of these events have determined that failure of a non-mechanical switch, a “triac”, in the hot plate can result in the circuit failing open, causing uncontrolled heating. The number of events in recent years has led to greater awareness of the issue; however, in spite of this, devices utilizing this technology continue to be sold and used in research laboratories without additional controls to ensure their safety.

You can download the paper here:

Other articles in this issue of JCHAS include:

An evaluation of engineered nanomaterial safety data sheets for safety and health information post implementation of the revised hazard communication standard
Laura Hodson, Adrienne Eastlake, Richard Herbers

Evaluation of emissions and exposures at workplaces using desktop 3-dimensional printers
A.B. Stefaniak, A.R. Johnson, S. du Preez, D.R. Hammond, J.R. Wells, J.E. Ham, R.F. LeBouf, K.W. Menchaca, S.B. Martin, M.G. Duling, L.N. Bowers, A.K. Knepp, F.C. Su, D.J. de Beer, J.L. du Plessis

A retrospective analysis of compensable injuries in university research laboratories and the possible prevention of future incidents
Abha Gosavi, Markus Schaufele, Michael Blayney

Safe plunge freezing
Robert C. Klein, Brent Lewchik, Simon White

Fancy Nails in the Lab

A colleague from Mexico recently wrote to the DCHAS-L list:

Hello everyone,

We have seen that some students and teachers use quite long fancy nails while working in the lab. This topic was the object of a discussion in UNISON (University of Sonora). The arguments included the respect of the person to use that type of nails. However, it was also commented that it is a risk for those who use those fantasy nails and also for those who are working around them in the lab.

What is your opinion about it? Have you implemented any policy in this regard? Best regards,

Rossy
Dra. Clara Rosalía Álvarez Chávez
Profesora de Tiempo Completo
Universidad de Sonora Hermosillo, Son. México

Dra. Clara Rosalía Álvarez Chávez collected the responses to inquiry as well as key literature references into a Powerpoint report for her colleagues in Mexico and also shared the results with us.

You can download her report here :

Periodic Table of the elements of safety

Note: the August, 2019 version of the Periodic Table of the Elements of Safety is available at https://dchas.org/2019/08/19/periodic-table-of-safety-elements-updated/

In celebration of the International Year of the Periodic Table, the Department of Environmental Health and Safety of Princeton University, led by Jim Sturdivant and Chelsea McDonnell (pictured above) and the ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety developed a “Periodic Table of the Elements of Safety” to share with the chemistry community.

We believe that this layout of key lab hazards and safety management techniques in a familiar Periodic Table format can be an important teaching and reference tool for people as they conduct hazard assessments in the laboratory. It provides an overview of many of the elements these assessments should consider in an “at a glance” format.

This table also recognizes the elements of a chemical laboratory safety culture by identifying key innovators, leaders and victims of laboratory chemistry work over the history of laboratory science. We believe that an ongoing reminder that laboratory safety is both a technical and cultural challenge supports a generative safety culture described in the National Academy of Sciences report on Safe Science.

You can also explore the different sections of the table with this interactive “hot spot” graphic.

We realize that you may have questions, comments or ideas for improving our first version of this table. Please let us know what you think at membership@dchas.org

Explosive precursor safety: An application of the Deming Cycle for continuous improvement

The Editor’s Spotlight for the January / February 2019 issue of the Journal of Chemical Health and Safety is shining on: Explosive precursor safety: An application of the Deming Cycle for continuous improvement by Hugo Schmidt who is affiliated with Cambridge CARES in Singapore.

The abstract for this article is:
General safety regulations need to follow a ‘one size fits all’ model, which may lead them to inadequately address challenges posed by different individual use scenarios. Hence, the regulatory requirements are best regarded as an essential minimum level of safety; further improvement essential. Discussed here is a model for developing an explosive precursor safety system. With the Singapore legal requirements for an explosive precursor as the minimum, the Deming Cycle for continuous improvement was used to develop a fully mature safety program, across two Plan-Do-Check-Act cycles that incorporated feedback and observation of continuous practice.

You can access this article at the link below and other articles from
the JCHAS web page

A note on chemical storage cabinets

While talking with our chemistry lab coordinator about the best approach to organizing their chemical storage cabinets, I made an interesting observation that might be of interest to other laboratory workers and safety professionals.

Our laboratory building was renovated in the 2004 and the labs were newly constructed then. So the cabinetry is about 14 years old, which I consider relatively new for laboratory architecture and casework.

The chemical storage provided under the fume hoods in our teaching labs consist of two wooden cabinets – one for storage of corrosive chemicals, which is ventilated, and the other for storage of flammable cabinets, which is not (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: Fume hoods and storage cabinets; ventilated corrosives cabinet on left and unventilated flammables cabinet on right

One particular cabinet has been used for long term storage (i.e. more than one year) of a variety of concentrated acids. While we were looking inside that cabinet, we noticed that the hinges had corroded in an interesting way (see Figure 2).

Figure 2: Upper hinges of the acid storage cabinet were significantly more corroded than the lower hinges. See graphic at top of the page for a close-up view of the various hinges. From left to right is the upper hinge and lower hinge of the acid storage cabinet; the third hinge was in an adjacent corrosives cabinet.

Figure 3: On closer inspection, we realized that the ventilation provided for the cabinet only served the lower shelf. While both shelves stored similar amounts of acids, the ventilation provided was not serving the top shelf well. And 10 or so years of acid storage had taken a toll on the cabinet’s hardware.

I learned three things from this observation:

  • Air moves where it wants to, not where you think it will (see, for example, the presentation on air flow in flammable storage cabinets done at NIOSH and presented at the CHAS fall meeting in 2017).
  • Volatile chemicals don’t stay in their containers as long as you think they might. A Sigma-Aldrich representative once told me that they expected their caps to contain volatile chemicals for about a year.
  • Planning your long term chemical storage involves a variety of considerations beyond chemical compatibility – air flow patterns among them.

I’d be interested to hear if from people have similar war stories or other practical observations related to chemical storage in labs.

Ralph Stuart, Chemical Hygiene Officer
Keene State College
ralph.stuart@keene.edu

Creating a Lab Safety Culture for Industry and Academia

Thursday, October 11, 2018 2:00 – 3:00 pm ET

How can you develop your safety skills and support a safe lab to work in everyday whether you are in industry or academia? In 2018, the American Chemical Society recognized that chemical safety as an integral part of its strategic mission. During this free interactive webinar, join ACS President Dr. Peter Dorhout as well as three experts in a lively discussion of how this initiative influences their roles as educators, industry and graduate students as well as the valuable new ACS lab safety resources for both the teaching and research chemistry laboratory.

Webinar poster
Click on the image to download a printable poster

YOU WILL LEARN…

  • What safety knowledge, skills, and attitude does industry expect of the chemists it hires
  • How graduate students can impact the safety conditions and programs in their research labs
  • What faculty members can do to model safe practices in the teaching and research labs

Register at  http://bit.ly/ACSlabsafetyculture

Nanosafety and Awards Presentations at Boston National Meeting

Nanomaterials: Applications, Safety Considerations, & Implications for Human Health & the Environment

Role of the National Nanotechnology Initiative in the Safe and Responsible Development of Nanotechnology.
M. Meador

Nanotechnology: Where is it Today and is EHS a Part of Successful Commercialization.
C. Geraci

Back from the future: What nanotechnology can teach us about chemical safety today.
K. Kulinowski

CHAS Awards Symposium

Looking forward: Fifty years experience in chemical safety.
N. Langerman

Zooming out: The future of chemical-research health and safety through a wide-angle lens.
K. Brown

Innovation transforming lives through the power of clean water.
D. Schmidt

Yale’s Safety Advisor Model for Supporting and Integrating Safety into Research. P. Reinhardt

Fostering a culture of safety at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. C. Brennan, N. Eskew

Dow Lab Safety Academy: Lessons Learned & Future Opportunities.
L. Seiler