Suppliers of laboratory chemicals and plastics are already beginning to feel the pinch from rising crude oil prices in the wake of the worldwide embargo of Iraqi oil. But it's not clear when-or if-scientists will have to pay more for those products.

Officials at some companies, like J.T. Baker Chemical Inc. of Phillipsburg, N.J., one of the country's largest suppliers of laboratory solvents and other chemicals, say they plan to pass the cost increases onto their distributors, who could try to recoup their higher costs from customers. Others, like Sigma Chemical Co. of St. Louis and Fisher Scientific of Pittsburgh, say they will swallow the costs themselves, at least for now.

No one expects scientists to be paying more for essential chemicals and equipment anytime soon. And many company executives noted that the cost of oil is a minor component of the price tag for most products used in the...

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