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Exposure in Labs (help)

Cynthia J. Gibas cjgg1584 at uxa.cso.uiuc.edu
Tue Jun 21 13:13:27 EST 1994

ebarak at NSF.GOV writes:

>This response (below) from "P. Ford" strikes me as highly 
>irresponsible, for a number of reasons.

>First:  Ford is not taking into account the possibility that in fact 
>there is no problem.  Is Ford aware of the fact that aqueous solutions 
>of phenol (also called carbolic acid) are used as topical antiseptics? 
>In fact, I've used throat lozenges that contain phenol.  Let's not 
>fuel hysteria here, please!  

In my undergraduate chemistry days I handled a lot of phenol, and in the
concentration that it's found in the lab it is not acceptable for topical 
application.  A mentor that would let a student get a bad sunburn from UV
exposure in the lab might easily forget to warn her about the dangers of
concentrated phenol too...I've noticed that some of the people that I work
with, especially older scientists who were probably trained in the days when
chemists worried less about exposure to bad stuff, tend to have a kind of
blase attitude about spilling stuff on themselves, pipetting organic solvents
by mouth (!) and other potentially dangerous practices.  That your boss is
willing to spill something on you DOES NOT mean that it's safe or in
a safe concentration! 


Cynthia Gibas                       4223 Beckman Institute 217-244-2894 
cgibas at wraightc3.life.uiuc.edu      162 PABL 217-333-8725
cgibas at silibio.ncsa.uiuc.edu        Univerity of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
"What we have in our hands is always enough" -- Paul Bowles _The_Sheltering_Sky

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