Vernier Science Education - June 2024
 

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General Science and Teaching

Procuring Lab Chemicals

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Julia McCarthy Julia 165 Points

Hello all, I just read the following blog post; https://www.nsta.org/blog/procuring-lab-chemicals-cradle-grave-safety-issue and I was fascinated by the opening story. To sum it up, a newly hired chemistry teacher was preparing their lab 2 weeks before school started and came across an awful discovery. She found 'two large cabinets in the back of the laboratory filled with a myriad of what seemed to be old chemical bottles. There were no dates on about 40 of the chemical containers, and some had decomposing labels along with crystals growing on the caps.' Following this, a chemical waste removal company was hired to remove the hazardous chemical from the school but turns out they didn't remove it very far- they proceeded to dump the chemicals on the school soccer field. This story unfortunately really happened and it is a strong reminder to how important it is to follow proper protocol when it comes to lab chemcials. This article provides ways to ensure a safer teaching/learning laboratory environment. To begin with, the procurement of hazardous chemicals needs to involve “cradle to grave” planning based on legal safety standards and better professional safety practices. The planning must start before the activity is approved and implemented in the course of study, lesson plans, or classroom. Proper planning includes considering the purchasing, storage, use, cleanup, and disposal, with standard operating procedures implemented before procurement takes place. I highly recommend reading the linked blog post!

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