Hazard Plan: A Necessity for Working in a Lab

Jordan Hewes felt lucky. She had begun a series of experiments staining cell junctions when she discovered the hazardous and toxic properties of silver nitrate, the staining agent she was using. "I was very upset when I learned about the hazardous properties of silver nitrate," Hewes explained. "Besides being toxic, it ... reacts explosively with ethanol. I could have blown myself up. I was disappointed that my supervisor failed to warn me about the hazards before I started this project." "In

Michael Brush
Jan 3, 1999

Jordan Hewes felt lucky. She had begun a series of experiments staining cell junctions when she discovered the hazardous and toxic properties of silver nitrate, the staining agent she was using. "I was very upset when I learned about the hazardous properties of silver nitrate," Hewes explained. "Besides being toxic, it ... reacts explosively with ethanol. I could have blown myself up. I was disappointed that my supervisor failed to warn me about the hazards before I started this project."


"Information that saves lives and prevents injury should be freely available to all."

--Robert Toreki


While Hewes suffered no ill effects from this episode, her experience demonstrates the importance of a sensible hazardous-risk assessment plan for the use of toxic chemicals. In the above example, not only should the appropriate data about silver nitrate have been easily accessible to Hewes, she should have been trained how to locate the information...

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