Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Coronavirus Advice from the World of Laboratory Safety

 

My job is laboratory safety. I work with a wild range of various labs that have a cornucopia of crazy chemicals and a plethora of pathogens. I take part in over 100 laboratory inspections per year, along with responding to questions and acting as an in-house consultant for my institution. There is a surprising amount of you can use from the laboratory safety world in normal life where you make crispy garlic bread rather than CRISPR/Cas9 lentivirus vectors.

Wash Your Hands

There is a reason people mention handwashing as part of nCoV-2019 preparedness, and it is a recurring theme in all of our safety courses. Washing your hands thoroughly is a reliable way to remove pathogens and toxic chemicals. Disinfectant handwashes are not needed — a good scrubbing will physically remove far more contaminants than a disinfectant will kill. I actually prefer a good industrial hand cleaner (STOKO Solopol is a personal favorite) after cleaning or using the bathroom. Scrubbing your hands is actually less harmful to non-harmful bacteria on your skin, as they typically are adapted to stick tightly to your skin’s micro-scale environment. I’ve never heard from someone practically involved in safety you does not recommend handwashing.

As a side note, if you do need to disinfect a surface, use bleach if possible. The stuff is cheap and extremely effective, especially if you clean the surface first to remove obvious dirt. The only things resistant to bleach are mad cow disease and certain microbial toxins — if you are worried about those agents, call the CDC and the FBI, not me..

Understand the Hazards Present

Regardless of where you work, you cannot protect yourself from hazards if you do not recognize that they are there. If you use a chemical, read the label to see what it contains and what safety precautions need to be observed. Modern chemical labels will tell you a lot of info on proper use — for pesticides and disinfectants, this is magnified. Pesticide labels actually state that it is a violation of federal law to use them out of accord with their labeling. If you have a bunch of cleaning chemicals, it’s probably a good idea to write up an inventory list of just what you have, so that you can keep some awareness of what is on site. This goes double if you have kids of the age when they like to sample everything. Lots of chemicals only mildly irritate the skin, but are very nasty internally. (fabric softener and disinfectants are very unpleasant to ingest) You can get a lot of chemical safety information from the manufacturer — all hazardous consumer products are required to have a phone number you can call for info.

Use and Maintain Engineered Controls

The best way to control a hazard is stop it at the source. It is better to quiet a machine down rather than hand out ear plugs to everyone. Mechanical engineering controls work as long as they get occasional maintenance — that’s why you can have a natural gas combustion chamber hooked to a pressure vessel, a contained high output klystron, and a contained diode laser array (a.k.a., a gas water heater, a microwave, and a CD/DVD/BluRay player) in your house. Generally, unless you know what you are doing, it’s a bad idea to crack open the case, especially when the panels and such are not designed to be easily removed.

Now, for your own engineering controls, the main ones are ventilation and shielding. Any area where you plan to paint, stain, or otherwise work with volatile liquids (ones that easily evaporate and you can smell easily) should have an exhaust fan or be outside for easy air movement. This will protect you from the chemical vapors building up to toxic or flammable levels. This goes triple for anything that burns fuel — give it a clear stack or exhaust, or you will get carbon monoxide poisoning. I know someone who died with her entire family from carbon monoxide poisoning. (If you don’t have a carbon monoxide detector, stop reading this article and buy one) Shielding is also vital — I had a chemistry demonstration go horribly wrong (my desk was on fire), but no one was injured because I was using a shield between the demonstration and the class. Anytime you are working with something that could fly apart or go out of control, have a nice plexiglass shield between you and the work.

Use and Understand Your Personal Protective Equipment

If you are working with strong disinfectants, bleach, oven cleaner, drain opener, toilet cleaner, rust remover, paint thinner/stripper, heavy-duty degreaser, etc (they will say “Danger! Corrosive!” on the container, most likely) you should use proper personal protective equipment (PPE) PPE is a layer of protection between you and the chemical. The most common PPE is hand and eye protection, although a good heavy rubber apron doesn’t hurt. For gloves, I recommend only nitrile or neoprene rubber gloves for household use. Latex is not as protective or durable, and butyl rubber is overkill. Nitrile is very resistant to abrasion, with neoprene is more flexible. (I like these thick grippy gloves, and use them at work) Make sure to practice removing gloves safely — if you want a fun challenge, rub shaving cream all over the outside of the glove and try to keep it off your hands! Getting heavier duty, reusable gloves are more complicated — let me know what you work with and I can make recommendations.

For eye protection, you need to think about the hazard. Safety glasses with shields can be inexpensive — I buy tinted safety glasses instead of sunglasses as they are cheaper- and they work great against flying debris like when using power tools. For solid protection against chemical splash, you need splash goggles. Here, you get what you pay for. A $20 pair of goggles will be much more comfortable and easy to use than the cheapest pair, generally. They make goggles that fit over glasses and full-face shields. If possible, see if you can try on the goggles before buying them.

You may note that I did not mention respiratory protection. That is deliberate. It is almost always better to change the environment or workplace rather than have people wear respirators. A good dust mask is easier to breathe through than a respirator, cheaper, and helps deal with more minor hazards. It also reduces the chance of carrying something nasty to your nose or mouth by accident.

Store Chemicals Safely

One of the most common findings in lab inspections is incompatible chemicals stored next to each other. Acids (like many rust removers, descalers, and toilet bowl cleaners) should not be stored next to bases/caustics (like many but not all drain openers, oven cleaners, degreasers, and dishwashing detergents. If you do need to store them close by, have them in separate tubs/bins. Bleach should really be kept by itself — its violent reactions with ammonia and acids are well known. (I once caused a bleach/ammonia reaction while cleaning an old bathroom. Urine breaks down to ammonia after exposure to the air and bacteria.)

The best place to store flammable chemicals is a specialized flammable storage cabinet. Unfortunately, those tend to be expensive. The second best location is a steel cabinet in a well-ventilated area well away from open flames or direct sunlight. Have the flammable liquids/paints/etc. in trays to keep spills under control.

As a side note, I think the gas can regulations are really stupid and dangerous. Pouring gasoline out of an unvented can will cause sloshing as air rushes into the can through the gasoline. This causes static electricity buildup and could cause a spark to jump to the can. A spark plus a well-mixed air-fuel mixture equals a fire. I would recommend a vented can with a self-closing lid, a check valve/flame arrestor screen on the vent, and metal components so that you can safety ground any static electricity in dry conditions. I used to pour and bulk highly flammable solvent waste using similar safety cans. The CARB regulations making filling more dangerous out of some misguided concern over gasoline vapors. Sadly, they cannot keep the unintended consequences from escaping their containers.

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  1. OmegaPaladin Moderator
    OmegaPaladin

    If you have specific chemical, biological, laser, or radiological safety questions, or want help setting your budding mad scientist lab, please ask in the comments. 


    This conversation is part of our Group Writing Series under the February 2020 Group Writing Theme: “Advice.” Stop by soon, our schedule and sign-up sheet awaits.

    Interested in Group Writing topics that came before? See the handy compendium of monthly themes. Check out links in the Group Writing Group. You can also join the group to get a notification when a new monthly theme is posted.

    • #1
    • February 13, 2020, at 3:48 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  2. Mark Camp Member

    Outstanding article.

    • #2
    • February 13, 2020, at 3:59 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  3. Juliana Member

    You probably don’t want to visit my basement. I have most of those household chemicals and paint within a couple of feet of our wood-burning boiler. Maybe I should re-think my storage options. Thanks for the tip.

    • #3
    • February 13, 2020, at 5:34 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  4. Vectorman Thatcher

    OmegaPaladin: As a side note, I think the gas can regulations are really stupid and dangerous. Pouring gasoline out of an unvented can will cause sloshing as air rushes into the can through the gasoline. This causes static electricity buildup, and could cause a spark to jump to the can. A spark plus a well-mixed air-fuel mixture equals a fire.

    Sometimes I think Washington D.C. wants to kill us deplorables here in flyover country. I’m keeping all of my vented gas cans.

    • #4
    • February 13, 2020, at 5:50 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  5. Acook Member

    I worked in medical labs my whole career and a lot of this is familiar to me. Now I do some volunteer work at a horse rescue place and one of the things that bugs me about the place are some of the obvious safety violations. For example, there are lots of things stored in unlabeled containers! Drives me nuts. “We all know what that is.” Something like that would shut a medical lab down practically on the spot. 

    • #5
    • February 13, 2020, at 7:55 AM PST
    • 9 likes
  6. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher

    Well put. Regarding chemical storage, many years ago I was involved in a study of air quality in residential basements triggered by concern that contaminants in groundwater passing under a neighborhood might be seeping into basements. Turned out the groundwater was not a problem but in one of the poorly ventilated basements we found high levels of volatile organic chemicals from the large amount of solvents and thinners stored there. We advised the homeowner to trim his inventory and either move it or improve the ventilation.

    • #6
    • February 13, 2020, at 8:02 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  7. Hugh Member

    Copied this article into a word file. A couple of small edits and it is up on the company safety bulletin board.

    • #7
    • February 13, 2020, at 8:12 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  8. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    What about the problem of lack of exposure leading to more severe allergies? I’ve read about this in children, especially with respect to peanut allergies. Does the same apply to ordinary household cleanliness? Would excessive use of disinfectant prevent children from developing strong immune systems?

    I’m also skeptical of the use of PPE, though obviously not in all cases. I’m not going to put on safety goggles every time I pour bleach into a load of whites.

    • #8
    • February 13, 2020, at 8:43 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  9. Kozak Member
    Kozak Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    OmegaPaladin: Bleach should really be kept by itself — its violent reactions with ammonia and acids are well known. (I once caused a bleach/ammonia reaction while cleaning an old bathroom. Urine breaks down to ammonia after exposure to the air and bacteria.)

    One of the more common exposures I see in the ER is when someone really wants to clean and mix bleach and ammonia cleaner.

    That generates Chloramine gas and they can really irritate their lungs quickly. My mom did that to herself and I almost had to take her to the ER myself.

    Any question of a toxic exposure of poisoning the place to start is poison control

    1-800-222-1222

    Online Help

     

    • #9
    • February 13, 2020, at 11:25 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  10. Lilly B Coolidge

    Your point about carbon monoxide is well-taken. I read a book a few years ago about how various chemicals were used as poisons in the early twentieth century. It includes the tale of how one would-be murder victim endured various chemical and physical assaults until finally succumbing to carbon monoxide poisoning in less than five minutes. (If anyone is interested, check out The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York.) 

    • #10
    • February 13, 2020, at 12:14 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  11. MarciN Member

    Kozak (View Comment):

    OmegaPaladin: Bleach should really be kept by itself — its violent reactions with ammonia and acids are well known. (I once caused a bleach/ammonia reaction while cleaning an old bathroom. Urine breaks down to ammonia after exposure to the air and bacteria.)

    One of the more common exposures I see in the ER is when someone really wants to clean and mix bleach and ammonia cleaner.

    That generates Chloramine gas and they can really irritate their lungs quickly. My mom did that to herself and I almost had to take her to the ER myself.

    Any question of a toxic exposure of poisoning the place to start is poison control

    1-800-222-1222

    Online Help

    I did this too when my husband and I were first married. I combined bleach and ammonia to clean out our fixer-upper’s old bathroom. Each was great alone–they’d be amazing together. Right? :-) I passed out! :-) :-)

    Another time, I used one of his cans of white paint to paint a enclosed closet-cabinet in our old kitchen. The fumes knocked me right over. Turned out it was sealing paint to use on old plaster ceilings, and it was designed to dry quickly and so was formulated with ether! :-)

    • #11
    • February 13, 2020, at 1:04 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  12. MarciN Member

    I have always had a problem with painful eczema on my hands in the wintertime. By January it hurts to even think about water. I use gloves, but I’ve always wondered about the food safety of the hand sanitizers which are easier on my hands than water. I like the idea of the chemical sanitizers, but I don’t want to use them around food. 

    I’m not alone in this problem. I once watched a documentary about a hospital in Australia that decided to crack down on hospital-transmitted infections. It instituted a stepped-up hand-washing protocol. The program’s producers interviewed a few nurses who said they had problem with painful eczema on their hands. 

    I think the disposable gloves are the best answer for a lot of people. 

    • #12
    • February 13, 2020, at 1:09 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  13. Mark Camp Member

    MarciN (View Comment):

    Kozak (View Comment):

    OmegaPaladin: Bleach should really be kept by itself — its violent reactions with ammonia and acids are well known. (I once caused a bleach/ammonia reaction while cleaning an old bathroom. Urine breaks down to ammonia after exposure to the air and bacteria.)

    One of the more common exposures I see in the ER is when someone really wants to clean and mix bleach and ammonia cleaner.

    That generates Chloramine gas and they can really irritate their lungs quickly. My mom did that to herself and I almost had to take her to the ER myself.

    Any question of a toxic exposure of poisoning the place to start is poison control

    1-800-222-1222

    Online Help

     

    I did this too when my husband and I were first married. I combined bleach and ammonia to clean out fixer-upper’s old bathroom. Each was great alone–they’d be amazing together. Right? :-) I passed out! :-) :-)

    Another time, I used one of his cans of white paint to paint a enclosed closet-cabinet in our old kitchen. The fumes knocked me right over. Turned out it was sealing paint to use on old plaster ceilings, and it was designed to dry quickly and so was formulated with ether! :-)

     

    Thanks for sharing, Marci. It explains so much. You should talk to our young people, turning your unfortunate experience into a positive.

    (You do know I am kidding, right?)

     

    • #13
    • February 13, 2020, at 2:37 PM PST
    • 1 like
  14. MichaelKennedy Coolidge

    One thing I have read about is the hazard of Swiffer use around dogs. Apparently the Swiffer solution contains ethylene glycol and dogs that lick the floor can get a lethal dose of ethylene glycol. One person lost two dogs to renal failure for the floor licking.

    • #14
    • February 13, 2020, at 4:16 PM PST
    • 1 like
  15. MichaelKennedy Coolidge

    Mark Camp (View Comment):
    Thanks for sharing, Marci. It explains so much. You should talk to our young people, turning your unfortunate experience into a positive.

    Another funny story about hazards. Years ago, I saw a young man with severe thrombocytopenic purpura that was resistant to the usual treatment. I’m not a hematologist. I saw him as a referral for splenectomy. It doesn’t always work but the alternative was death. Fortunately, it worked and his platelet count came up. A month or so later, his wife was referred. What the hell was this about ? She had the same thombocytopenic purpura. It turned out they had been rehabbing an old house in Laguna Beach with lots of lead paint. Does lead cause thrombocytopenic purpura ? I just looked and there is no reference that says so. They sold the house and recovered. Who knows ?

    https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196%2811%2962768-7/fulltext

    No mention of lead.

    • #15
    • February 13, 2020, at 4:27 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  16. Mark Camp Member

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    Another funny story about hazards. Years ago, I saw a young man with severe thrombocytopenic purpura that was resistant to the usual treatment. I’m not a hematologist. I saw him as a referral for splenectomy. It doesn’t always work but the alternative was death. Fortunately, it worked and his platelet count came up. A month or so later, his wife was referred. What the hell was this about ? She had the same thombocytopenic purpura. It turned out they had been rehabbing an old house in Laguna Beach with lots of lead paint. Does lead cause thrombocytopenic purpura ? I just looked and there is no reference that says so. They sold the house and recovered. Who knows ?

    https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196%2811%2962768-7/fulltext

    No mention of lead.

    Interesting. (I didn’t know lead paint was a risk except when ingested. Is it? What is the form of exposure?)

    • #16
    • February 13, 2020, at 5:29 PM PST
    • Like
  17. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Omega,

    I love a practical guy (or girl). My father had a biochemistry laboratory and a bunch of graduate students doing pure research. I would go down to the lab with him once in a while. When I was only 7 or 8, he took me aside and asked me, “Jim, what’s poisonous in a biochemistry laboratory”. I looked perplexed so he told me the answer, “everything”. “All of the chemical reagents react with your body and that’s why they are in a biochemistry laboratory. The definition of a poison is something that reacts strongly with your body.”

    I have a little advice on handwashing but I’d like your opinion. People tend to scrub too hard and finish quickly. What’s important is to hit all of the surfaces including under your nails. A light soap scrubbing is fine. However, it is important to do it at least twice. If you suspect something really dangerous go for the third time. Hitting every surface on your hand is important on all three scrubs. A biochemist is conscious of trace amounts. The repetition will reduce trace amounts.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #17
    • February 13, 2020, at 5:32 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  18. Clifford A. Brown Contributor

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):

    If you have specific chemical, biological, laser, or radiological safety questions, or want help setting your budding mad scientist lab, please ask in the comments.


    This conversation is part of our Group Writing Series under the February 2020 Group Writing Theme: “Advice.” Stop by soon, our schedule and sign-up sheet awaits.

    Interested in Group Writing topics that came before? See the handy compendium of monthly themes. Check out links in the Group Writing Group. You can also join the group to get a notification when a new monthly theme is posted.

    Extremely timely and yet evergreen advice… including the part about signing up to offer your own 2 cents worth!

    • #18
    • February 13, 2020, at 5:49 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  19. Ontheleftcoast Member

    Excellent.

    Real world practices have change for the better a lot in my lifetime. 45 years ago, I worked in a university research lab in which the vacuum pump attached to the rotary evaporator lived in, and outgassed into, the lab. Pyridine, IIRC DMSO, maybe toluene. For sure toluene and benzene were in partially covered beakers on the lab bench, not in the fume hood. I spent a couple of days in a closet calibrating a strongly ozone emitting fluorescence spectrophotometer.

    Years before that, a supply room geyser of 3N sulfuric acid. That was the TA’s fault. She cranked the air pressure up when it didn’t dispense right away. I was lucky. It cost me my clothing, which fell apart in the wash. My eyes were OK.

    • #19
    • February 13, 2020, at 6:26 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  20. Ontheleftcoast Member

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    Mark Camp (View Comment):
    Thanks for sharing, Marci. It explains so much. You should talk to our young people, turning your unfortunate experience into a positive.

    Another funny story about hazards. Years ago, I saw a young man with severe thrombocytopenic purpura that was resistant to the usual treatment. I’m not a hematologist. I saw him as a referral for splenectomy. It doesn’t always work but the alternative was death. Fortunately, it worked and his platelet count came up. A month or so later, his wife was referred. What the hell was this about ? She had the same thombocytopenic purpura. It turned out they had been rehabbing an old house in Laguna Beach with lots of lead paint. Does lead cause thrombocytopenic purpura ? I just looked and there is no reference that says so. They sold the house and recovered. Who knows ?

    https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196%2811%2962768-7/fulltext

    No mention of lead.

    Could have been the paint stripper. Methylene chloride, methyl ethyl ketone, acetone, other nasty stuff. MEK can potentiate other solvent effects. 

    • #20
    • February 13, 2020, at 6:32 PM PST
    • 1 like
  21. cirby Member

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    Another funny story about hazards. Years ago, I saw a young man with severe thrombocytopenic purpura that was resistant to the usual treatment. I’m not a hematologist. I saw him as a referral for splenectomy. It doesn’t always work but the alternative was death. Fortunately, it worked and his platelet count came up. A month or so later, his wife was referred. What the hell was this about ? She had the same thombocytopenic purpura. It turned out they had been rehabbing an old house in Laguna Beach with lots of lead paint. Does lead cause thrombocytopenic purpura ? I just looked and there is no reference that says so. They sold the house and recovered. Who knows ?

    https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196%2811%2962768-7/fulltext

    Old house, in Laguna Beach?

    I’d bet more on a fungus that they disturbed when they were doing the work, or whatever it was they were using to strip that lead paint.

     

    • #21
    • February 13, 2020, at 6:35 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  22. Ontheleftcoast Member

    In the Pipeline is an excellent and informative drug development blog from Derek Lowe. I mostly read it for his occasional features, “Things I Won’t Work With” and “Things I’m Glad I Don’t Do” which are about chemistry as an extreme sport; as for most of his readers, the vicarious thrill is more than enough for me.

    The posts on FDA inspections under the rubric “How Not to Do It” are also hair raising for more than one reason.

    For example, 

    On October 24, 2018, our investigator observed torn documents of stability study data, analytical testing sheets, analysis calculations, and release forms that were placed into clear trash bags. Stability study documents for three batches of (b)(4) mg tablets were salvaged from the trash and compared to the official and approved records. Out-of-specification (OOS) results were among the data found, however the official results were recorded as within specification. Additionally, it was observed that blank stability study forms were prepared, pre-signed, and approved by the quality unit before recording the test data.

    Um. That is not how you’re supposed to do QC. Heck, that’s not even how you’re supposed to cheat. Clear trash bags full of torn-up evidence of doctored stability studies? That you didn’t even bother to finish throwing away? Pre-signed, pre-approved forms waiting for someone to fill in the numbers? Never fear, though, there is always a good explanation for such behavior:

    In your response, you acknowledged the multiple trash bags containing torn quality control documents and the practice of signing documents before recording the data. You stated the torn documents were from scale-up batches in which you tore the documents so as “not to create confusion in the mind of the investigator.” Your response was inadequate. . .

    Just a bit. How people get things like that out with a straight face is always a mystery to me; I’d think anyone with a sense of the ridiculous would find it betraying them at that point. The letter goes on to detail numerous other violations – such as the computers for the HPLC systems used for purity analysis sharing the same user name and password between the QC technicians and company executives, with that set to a high enough level that data could be deleted or modified. And that’s not the only piece of hardware with problems:

    . . .our investigator observed (an apparatus) identified as “cleaned.” However, this. . .was found to have visible product build-up. . .Furthermore, the air filter of the equipment was damaged with multiple holes. This equipment was used to manufacture finished drug products shipped to the United States . . . Additionally, a memo provided during the inspection stated these cleaning and equipment maintenance deficiencies were because of a shortage in manpower related to a nine-day dancing festival and government holiday.

    Really hair raising: In 2019, the FDA employed 200 foreign inspectors, including 12 based overseas. China slow rolls visas for new ones.

    • #22
    • February 13, 2020, at 6:53 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  23. Mark Wilson Member
    Mark Wilson Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    OmegaPaladin:

    As a side note, I think the gas can regulations are really stupid and dangerous. Pouring gasoline out of an unvented can will cause sloshing as air rushes into the can through the gasoline. This causes static electricity buildup and could cause a spark to jump to the can. A spark plus a well-mixed air-fuel mixture equals a fire. I would recommend a vented can with a self-closing lid, a check valve/flame arrestor screen on the vent, and metal components so that you can safety ground any static electricity in dry conditions. I used to pour and bulk highly flammable solvent waste using similar safety cans. The CARB regulations making filling more dangerous out of some misguided concern over gasoline vapors. Sadly, they cannot keep the unintended consequences from escaping their containers.

    I mowed the lawn at my parents’ house my entire adolescence until I moved away to college. Then when I bought my own house with a yard, I spilled more gasoline the first time I used the new CARB-compliant can than I did my entire life up to that point. And there’s no chance of getting those idiotic regulations fixed because they were made by unaccountable civil servant bureaucrats. This is Deep State stuff.

    • #23
    • February 13, 2020, at 8:50 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  24. Katie Koppelman Member

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    What about the problem of lack of exposure leading to more severe allergies? I’ve read about this in children, especially with respect to peanut allergies. Does the same apply to ordinary household cleanliness? Would excessive use of disinfectant prevent children from developing strong immune systems?

    There is evidence to support the allergen exposure concept, I think it’s one of the Scandinavian countries where there is a very popular peanut based toddler snack, and peanut allergies are essentially unheard of there.

    As to the excessive disinfectant use common now, the same applies. Look at the generations who grew up before hand sanitizer was everywhere, and they are/were generally healthier than kids today. Let your kids eat dirt once in a while, it will stimulate their immune systems.

    I’m also skeptical of the use of PPE, though obviously not in all cases. I’m not going to put on safety goggles every time I pour bleach into a load of whites.

    Don’t say you weren’t warned about getting bleach in your eyes or on your skin…

    • #24
    • February 13, 2020, at 9:01 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  25. The Reticulator Member

    Mark Wilson (View Comment):
    I mowed the lawn at my parents’ house my entire adolescence until I moved away to college. Then when I bought my own house with a yard, I spilled more gasoline the first time I used the new CARB-compliant can than I did my entire life up to that point. And there’s no chance of getting those idiotic regulations fixed because they were made by unaccountable civil servant bureaucrats. This is Deep State stuff.

    I got one of those and quickly got rid of it before there was a bad accident. I decided I should cherish my old gas cans, and also bought a five-gallon can at Lowes that doesn’t use those dangerous things. It has a spring loaded lid, and pours into an attached funnel. Works fine. I don’t know if they’re still sold.

    OK, I checked and see that you can buy them at Uline for about the same price. It’s the Type I, but the Uline one doesn’t have the plastic funnel that slips over the spout. Not sure how well I’d like one without that. Here is one that’s almost like mine.

    My government is trying to kill me with those safety regulations, but I outfoxed them.

    • #25
    • February 13, 2020, at 9:21 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  26. Katie Koppelman Member

    OmegaPaladin:

    My job is laboratory safety. I work with a wild range of various labs that have a cornucopia of crazy chemicals and a plethora of pathogens. I take part in over 100 laboratory inspections per year, along with responding to questions and acting as an in-house consultant for my institution. There is a surprising amount of you can use from the laboratory safety world in normal life where you make crispy garlic bread rather than CRISPR/Cas9 lentivirus vectors.

    You’re speaking my language. I transform bacteria by introducing plasmids supplied by our clients, then grow it in large quantities. CRISPR-Cas9 is an Aldevron made product, and many of our clients use lentivirus (and other virus) vectors to introduce the DNA products we made into the patients.

    Wash Your Hands

    There is a reason people mention handwashing as part of nCoV-2019 preparedness, and it is a recurring theme in all of our safety courses. Washing your hands thoroughly is a reliable way to remove pathogens and toxic chemicals. Disinfectant handwashes are not needed — a good scrubbing will physically remove far more contaminants than a disinfectant will kill. I actually prefer a good industrial hand cleaner (STOKO Solopol is a personal favorite) after cleaning or using the bathroom. Scrubbing your hands is actually less harmful to non-harmful bacteria on your skin, as they typically are adapted to stick tightly to your skin’s micro-scale environment. I’ve never heard from someone practically involved in safety you does not recommend handwashing.

    As a side note, if you do need to disinfect a surface, use bleach if possible. The stuff is cheap and extremely effective, especially if you clean the surface first to remove obvious dirt. The only things resistant to bleach are mad cow disease and certain microbial toxins — if you are worried about those agents, call the CDC and the FBI, not me..

    Good hand washing is essential weather you’re in the lab, in food service, and just for the health of yourself and those around you. I’ve worked in biological labs/clinics for the last ten years, but the job where I washed my hands the most was a retail candy store because every time we handled money, we then had to wash our hands. The owner-manager used to joke that he felt like he was scrubbing in for surgery, I would always reply that doctors scrub to the wrist (like we did) while surgeons scrubbed to the elbow. ;)

     

    • #26
    • February 13, 2020, at 9:58 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  27. cirby Member

    Does anyone else use the “Jeopardy Rule” for washing hands?

    Start washing, then hum (or think of) the Final Jeopardy song while washing. Don’t stop until you finish the song.

    Then rinse.

    (I’ve also heard it as “sing Happy Birthday twice”)

     

    • #27
    • February 14, 2020, at 1:58 PM PST
    • 1 like