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What’s needed… education/training of science teachers and a lab safety program that is enforced!

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On December 10, 2013 The Chemical Safety Board (CSB) released a video entitled “After the Rainbow” focused on potential dangers in high school chemistry laboratories. The video features, Calais Weber, a remarkable young person that on January 23, 2006 at the age of 15, saw many of her dreams and aspirations literally go up in flames. CSB Chairperson Rafael Moure-Eraso said, “This is a new kind of video safety message for the CSB.  Too often, chemical accident victims –survivors as well as fatalities -- are forgotten as time goes on. In this video, Ms. Weber tells a painful and poignant story that we hope resonates in high school and academic labs across the country.” 


Unfortunately, less than one month after the release of this video an accident occurred at Beacon High School in Manhattan burning  two 10th graders, one severely. It has been inferred that this involved the same methanol-based flame test experiment. News stories have not released the specifics of how the accident occurred, but headlines have included: “Beacon chemistry teacher faulted by safety expert after students burned in experiment” and

8 Violations for School in Wake of Lab Fire”from the FDNY.


The CSB has called the incident “yet another example of a preventable incident and a reminder of the need for exacting safety measures to protect students and school property.”


LSI does not advocate banning the rainbow demonstration or banning the use of Methanol in school science labs as has been suggested on some of the discussion lists. We do however, want  teachers and students to understand the hazardous properties of chemicals and be comfortable with their use . We need more lab safety education and training  for our teachers.


To meet this need, LSI offers  Lab Safety Courses across the country and around the globe, either pre-scheduled or onsite at your location to meet your needs. K-12 Teachers may receive 75% tuition  Scholarships for LSI lab safety courses.


And anyone can have access to free educational materials: download your copy of LSI’s  Lab Safety Guidelines, contact us for your free copy of “Science Demonstrations Safety and Liability” and “Suggestions for Instructions to Flame Test Demos.” Members can download these articles directly from our webstore  and nonmembers may request their copies via email to Your favorite professional organizations offer even more free educational materials:  National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) – Safety Portal , National Science Education Leadership Association (NSELA) -  Safe Science Series, National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT) - Position Statements, American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) – PDF Safety in Physics Education , Resources, Council of State Science Supervisors (CSSS)  - Science Education Safety , American Chemical Society – Portal to Classroom Science Safety


Lastly, let me share one more FREE item: our friends at BioRAFT are hosting yet another informative free live webinar: “Student Involvement in Improving the Culture of Safety in Academic Laboratories” on Wednesday, January 29, 2014 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EST. This webinar promises to help us learn how to build a student/postdoc-led safety organization within academia; understand drawbacks and advantages to having students/postdocs drive safety initiatives; and learn specific activities and initiatives that are effective in improving the culture of safety in academic laboratories. To learn more or  to register for this free event please do so through the BioRAFT Webinar Registration Page.


Please share this email with your colleagues and friends, particularly with your favorite science educator.

We thank you for helping us share our suggestions for improving laboratory safety, because we believe that having an understanding of inherent hazards and learning how to be safer and healthier should be an integral and important part of science education, work, and life!


Copies of:

Suggestions for Instructions to Flame Test Demos

Science Demonstrations Safety & Liability

Members can download these free in our webstore. Nonmembers please email Andrea Burgess to request.

for teachers

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