Did Sheri Sangji Die in Vain?

August 4th, 2012

I was away last week, and I’m still processing all of the recent developments in the Patrick Harran case. Harran, a chemistry professor at UCLA, is facing three felony charges in the wake of the death of Sheri Sangji in a lab accident involving t-butyllithum. Last week, the Los Angeles district attorney dropped charges against UCLA in exchange for its acceptance of responsibility for the safety conditions in the Harran lab and the establishment of an improved safety program. The agreement does not immediately affect the case against Harran, whose legal team filed a seperate motion to quash the charges against him because the state safety investigator allegedly committed murder as a juvenile (WTF?!). The court will rule on the motion next month.

I started drafting this post by jotting down a list of thoughts on the case, but they were too muddled to be of value. The situation is a mess, and what trumps my frustration in our legal system is my frustration in the culture of our profession.

You’d have hoped that the academic community would have straightened up in the wake of such a tragic accident. The circumstances of how Sangji died are horrifying: the fire covered 50% of her body in burns; the flesh in her hands burned off leaving exposed tendons; her abdominal wall was destroyed; she took 18 agonizing days to die. It was brutal:

If you watch that video, produced by California Watch and The Center for Public Integrity, you’ll find this statement from Jim Kaufman of The Laboratory Safety Institute:

This was a tsunami throughout academia that criminal charges were being filed against the university. I think that good things are going to come as a result of this and that Sheri Sangji’s death will not be in vain.

Allow me to preface my next statement by apologizing to the Sangji family for my lack of tact, but I am afraid that Sheri did die in vain. Harran can be punished to the fullest extent of the law and UCLA can throw all sorts of money at safety initiatives, but those actions are not solutions to the underlying problem here. The most important issue is that thousands of young, inexperienced researchers in university labs are performing chemical research with a gross lack of understanding of the hazards of their work. And, to me, it appears that the Sangji story has done little to change that.

Earlier this week, I took an informal survey of some of my colleagues by posing the following question:

t-butyllithium reacts violently with air. The guy in the hood next to you spills a solution of it on himself and catches on fire. What should you do?

The majority of people I asked responded they should find a fire blanket and smother the flames. (Recall, this is roughly what the first labmate to treat Sangji did.) If a person said to “use the safety shower”, in about half of cases I could knock them off this (correct) idea by saying “but tBuLi reacts violently with water.” Just a couple of people had the confidence to insist that while it might seem counter-intuitive, the shower is the best option because the tBuLi will react quickly (probably before you even reach the shower) and the large volume of water will suppress the fire and dissipate the heat.

The extent of our systemic ignorance floored me given the relatively high level of news coverage devoted to Sangji’s accident. I realized that while I (personally) have been exposed to a lot of information about the case through paying attention to C&EN and blogs, the majority of people around here seem to know little or nothing about the accident. In spite of the extensive news coverage and publicity, we (as a community) have largely failed to effectively incorporate any “lessons learned” from the accident into our training.

We’ve got a lot of work to do to fix the culture of safety in academia. It’s a shame we never seized the opportunity presented by Sheri Sangji’s death.


47 Responses to “Did Sheri Sangji Die in Vain?”

  1. Paul Says:

    I couldn’t approve more.

  2. Curious Wavefunction Says:

    The answer is a question: “Is this surprising”? Sad.

  3. Chemjobber Says:

    I think synthetic organic chemists as a profession need to get over their discomfort with the safety shower. I’ve never once used one, and when I think about it, I think about the 2 hours of mopping I’m going to do afterwards.

    That’s obviously the incorrect cost/benefit analysis, and I’d like to think that I know myself well enough that I’ve hacked my own brain and know my (some of) my own unconscious biases.

    But I think it speaks to the idea that the safety shower is the last resort, not the first one.

  4. Paul Says:

    @Chemjobber: I agree, but how many times have you heard a professor or high-level department administrator bemoan the damage of a lab flood? I think I’ve heard it over seven times, including at least one instance at each of the three institutions in which I’ve worked.

    Now, how many times have I heard a professor or department admin tell me or another student not to worry about flood damage secondary to use of the safety shower? Once? Twice, maybe?

    The message is clear, even if it is not the correct message or even the intended message. Any victim is going to have to make a quick judgment call based on what seems reasonable, but the cloud of fear is probably shifting the gray area of when to use the shower much closer to “just run down the hallway to the bathroom” than common sense would otherwise dictate.

  5. See Arr Oh Says:

    Academia Horror Story – Once upon a time, a person working in the next lab over had a distillation explode in his face. Surprised, but aware, he (correctly) ran to the safety shower and pulled the lever, only to find that the shower didn’t work. Next, he ran down the hall to the next shower, and pulled, to have muddy grey water spill out on him.

    Third time was the charm. Remembering that story, our facility tests showers and eyewashes religiously, every week, running them minimum of 15 seconds.

  6. Paul Says:

    I made it a point to run the eye washes in my undergrad and grad labs at least once every two weeks. It was always disconcerting to see the color of the first 15-30 seconds of water. Unfortunately, this can’t be done as easily here because the eye wash basins drain onto the floor.

  7. Matt Says:

    While in the “new” lab in Harry’s group, I had a need for the eye wash. The eye wash ran for all of 20 seconds before it ran out of water. Ridiculous.

    I’m starting to think that it may be worth it to completely switch over to only low-hazard chemistry. The risk is too high. And, in all honesty, what are the real benefits of the research that demands high hazard risks. How often is this chemistry actually useful?

  8. Matt B. Says:

    Paul: Could you just stick a bucket under the drain?

    Matt: Of course hazards should be avoided where possible within reason but pyrophorics can be handled safely. Concentrated n-BuLi and trimethyl aluminum are both used in industrial polymerizations

  9. Paul Says:

    @Matt B: Exactly..that’s what they do to test it and why I said “as easily”. I could do the ones in my old labs while chatting in the hallway. The ones here require a big bucket and elbow grease. At least the school checks them regularly.

    @Matt: While I am not ready to ban the use of tBuLi in academic labs, it has been noted that its use by Sangji was unnecessary. She could have made her product, albeit in lower yield, using Grignard chemistry. But, of course, the synthesis people love to squeeze out every % yield they can.

  10. Chemjobber Says:

    @Paul: In defense of us synthesis types, I believe it was a relatively early step in the sequence. That said, no one wants to die for 10% better yield (and no one has to.) t-BuLi can be used safely in an academic lab; that said, we are now all aware that the bare minimum of PPE and safe technique typically used *just isn’t enough.*

    Also, Paul, check out this hilarious stolen version of this post: http://potablechemicals.com/did-sheri-sangji-die-in-vain/

  11. Matt B. Says:

    Chemjobber: Isn’t a slightly lower yield more tolerable early in a synthesis as long as it doesn’t cause purification problems? Towards the end you have invested a lot of time and money in the material.

  12. Anon Says:

    I agree that safety is a big issue but I think it is mixed up with an issue that affects more aspects of the lives of PhD students and postdocs.

    Academics (professors) are given a lot of leeway to run their groups as personal fiefdoms. There are many areas of their job where their performance is little-questioned. For example, the quality of their mentoring, or the quality of the training the students get, or their expectations regarding a healthy personal/work life balance for their students/postdocs. Safety is just another aspect of this. and since most profs aren’t that interested in safety, it comes low their priority list.

    Perhaps academics need to be held more responsible for the way they run their groups by their departments… (i.e. we need more quality control)

  13. Chemjobber Says:

    @Matt B.: I suppose so. But that means that you’re tossing that much more, and scaling your early steps that much more to make up for it.

  14. Nick Says:

    I find it nauseating that the “hard-charging” Harran is relying on the Cal/OSHA inspector’s juvenile record in order to slither his way out of jail.

    “My favorite part of the story was the way that Ms. Sangji rose from the grave upon hearing that the OSHA investigator had done something wrong 27 years ago.”

    RB Woodweird, In The Pipeline, Aug 2.

  15. Chemjobber Says:

    Nick, I’m glad that I’m not the only one who saw that gem.

  16. Harry Elston Says:

    I’m going to take the “wait-and-see” approach on my decision if Sheri’s death was in vain. I never anticipated for a moment that the Academy would change their ways overnight after the death or the indictments. I have said since the charges were filed that the proverbial Rubicon has been crossed. Regulatory bodies have now said – with emphasis – that supervisors in the Academy will be held to the same standards as their counterparts in industry. That action alone SHOULD cause a monumental paradigm shift in PIs’ attitude toward safety. Will it? I don’t know, but academic researchers and their host institutions have new motivation to change.

    People (and institutions) change when the pain of change is less than the pain of staying the same. Pain here is defined not so much as physical pain, but the loss of reputation and respect of your peers, as well as obvious financial pain caused by hiring the attorneys that charge by the microsecond. Only time will tell if change will both occur and stick.

    Stay tuned…

  17. Stephen Says:

    Whether she died in vain depends on if anyone learns anything and teaches that to those who need to know. As such there is an important educational aspect to this. Here is my perspective as a ChemEd person.

    What will NOT help is more Power Point lectures. The research base suggests that most people do not pay attention during lectures or, at the very least they are frequently distracted.

    Safety curricula based on moderated small group discussions of best practices for safety wil be necessary. These should contain real lab scenarios that are complex enough to have people initially draw the wrong conclusion (see above).

    Those discussions also have to apply what’s learned to the students own lab. That application is key both to learning the safety lessons and internalizing the ideas so they are in your mins when you need them.

    My fear here is that UC will just approach this the way they usually approach teaching, which is with a very thorough but ultimately useless lectures.

  18. Special Guest Lecturer Says:

    Anon (8/5/12, 3:32am) wrote: “Academics (professors) are given a lot of leeway to run their groups as personal fiefdoms. There are many areas of their job where their performance is little-questioned. For example, the quality of their mentoring, or the quality of the training the students get, or their expectations regarding a healthy personal/work life balance for their students/postdocs. Safety is just another aspect of this. and since most profs aren’t that interested in safety, it comes low their priority list.”

    A gross generalization, mostly incorrect. Most PIs care about all of the above – quality of mentoring and training, and even more than that care deeply about safety. Contrary to what you might believe, we are not all paper-hungry monsters that don’t give a damn about our students. In my opinion, the single most rewarding aspect about being a professor is helping young graduate students and early-stage postdocs improve their technical and communication skills to prepare themselves for the next stage of their careers. For me, the satisfaction of that process outweighs putting a paper in Science, getting a grant funded, or winning awards. I know I am not particularly unique in this regard.

    The work/life balance comment, while unrelated to the safety discussion, deserves its own comment. What do I tell a student whose goal is to earn a competitive position (high-level academia or other)? “Work 40-50 hours a week, develop a healthy work-life balance, and wait for employers to beat a path to your door”? That would be incredibly bad advice, as well as poor preparation for these jobs.

    Furthermore, academics at all levels seem to be obsessed with the number of hours they work, yet young medical doctors, lawyers, consultants, financial analysts, entrepreneurs, and many others go through highly intense training periods at the early stages of their careers no different (and for some, more intense) than the hours that graduate students and postdocs log. I (happily) work more hours as a PI than I ever did as a graduate student, and I know I’m not unique in this regard, either.

    The common theme is that each of these professions offers the possibility of emotional satisfaction associated with high intellectual freedom or creativity, nearly unlimited upside for the very best performers, and a huge difference in outcome for the top 10% (and top 1%) than the median performers and below. My job as a mentor to younger scientists with aggressive career goals is to open their eyes to this reality and help them achieve off-scale success necessary to compete at the highest levels.

  19. Andre Says:

    One of the most important lessons from this whole ordeal may be that we as a community cannot leave change up to those we view as “in charge”. If PI’s (or administration) will not change their ways (and let’s face it, many of them find the idea of actively instructing their charges on safety completely alien) then it is up to those most vulnerable to start the dialog within their institution with all levels.

    As a researcher in the lab, I am at risk if I am using something without the proper knowledge of or respect for the dangers associated with it. I am also at risk if those around me are a potential danger.

    After the Sangji tragedy, the lab I was working in, led not by a PI but by an active in-lab researcher, instituted new policies on pyrophoric materials along with practical training for everyone in the lab. By the time I left, the practices had been refined and the safety culture was better than it was when I got there.

    The point is, grad students, post docs, and researchers have agency. Those who are knowledgeable about the Sangji case have the ability to inform others and make sure she did not die in vain. Do not leave it up to those PI’s who suffer from cultural inertia to do nothing.

  20. mass_speccer Says:

    I think that the best bit of safety training I had was a fire extinguisher training course where we all went outside and put out real fires with real fire extinguishers. Obviously there was some talking about which type of extinguisher to use for each fire etc. but actually using them and seeing others use them made the whole thing much more informative (and a lot more fun).

    I know that this sort of training would be difficult to apply to everything, but with a bit of imagination something better than lectures can surely be found. The best way to learn anything is certainly to do it, not listen to someone talk about it (some talking is necessary of course!)

    With regards to making PIs more respnsible, I think this is a good idea but I would worry that the pressure to get results may lead to some academics making sure they tick the right boxes but doing little else. I think that safety officers (with no job other than being a safety officer) also need to play a better role – particularly with policing things like adherence to PPE rules.

  21. Safety in Academic Labs « chembites Says:

    […] precautions are not taken, people are not trained well, and tragedies can occur.  ChemBark made a post this weekend about what is currently happening in the Sangji case and how the chemical community is […]

  22. Matt Says:

    @chemjobber and @MattB,
    So what about the yield. She (and others like her) are in an academic environment making novel compounds. She’s not a process chemist and she didn’t work in industry. Who cares about %yields. It was not her job to care about yield. It was her job to make an “interesting” compound. Look at the whole cost/benefit. Does the molecule that you are making justify the hazard you must manage in order to make it? For many chemists, I’d say no 95% of the time that REAL hazardous reagents must be used. That hazard level NEEDS to be decreased. PI’s have very little working knowledge of how to do this.

  23. bad wolf Says:

    When I worked at an industrial site before grad school a worker came around each week with a plastic garbage bin to collect the water, and pulled the safety shower cord to make sure they worked.

    Matt has a point. If PIs can take into account such abstract ideals as ‘atom economy’ or ‘greenness’ then ‘minimizing reagent hazards’ shouldn’t be impossible.

  24. David P Says:

    Thanks for writing this. I was thinking the same thing and you wrote it very eloquently.

  25. Andre Says:

    @Matt-

    The main issue here, I think, is that the use of the chemical in this case did not have to be a hazard. It’s only the way that is was used (or misused) that caused it to be deadly. Part of any chemistry education or training is (or should be) in the safe use of potentially hazardous chemicals. A non-chemist may find the use of potassium metal as extremely hazardous while an experienced chemist can use sodium-potassium amalgam safely if treated with respect.

    A chemist, properly trained in air-sensitive reaction techniques, should be able to use large amount of most pyrophoric materials without presenting a hazard. However, that “properly” adjective is the difficult part.

  26. Chemjobber Says:

    @Matt:

    Check out the pic (and structures within) of the fatal reaction. (http://pubs.acs.org/cen/science/87/8731sci1.html) It’s apparent (to me, anyway) that this was the first of many steps in a sequence. In that case, yields do matter, especially if you’re trying to obtain gram quantities of whatever interesting molecule that you make.

    With the benefit of hindsight, I think we all agree that it would have been better for Ms. Sangji and Prof. Harran if vinylMgBr would have been used by the UCLA team.

    Matt, are you arguing for a hard policy (Never again will tBuLi be used in academic laboratories!) or a general culture change in synthetic organic types (i.e. please balance %yield against hazard)?

  27. Matt Says:

    @CJ
    I think it’s a little of both.

    In re the latter argument: PIs should balance hazard vs % yield vs WTF are we actually using this molecule for. I think it’s the WTF that bothers me the most. Screw % yields. We ask a lot of our students. Is it really enough to ask them to risk their well-being for a single manuscript? What is the end result of the research?

    Think of it like this, a canyon is separated by 300 ft. The hight of the canyon is 1,000 feet. A rope bridge connects the two sides of the canyon. Crossing the canyon can be safe if you follow the right protocol. Is it justifiable for me to ask a student to cross the canyon for the reward of getting their name in the newspaper? What if I needed the student to carry medicine across it to help an injured person? This is a silly comparison, I know. But I think that it is a telling comparison. We ask a lot of our students and their safety for very little REAL reward. I need this data for a paper doesn’t necessarily fly with me as the reason for expecting grad students to deal with chemicals where the margin for error is so slim. Most chemists who read this may find my point of view laughable. But, isn’t that really part of the problem too? The whole: “We’re chemists and this is what we do” attitude doesn’t really hold when you try to balance the REAL benefits of a project with the REAL rewards of the same project. As a PI, if you can’t properly explain not only how to use a chemical, but also describe how using that chemical can go BAD along with margins of error, you shouldn’t use that chemical and your students shouldn’t be using that chemical.

    I think that my opinion is that we are really overly cavalier with risk for such a minor real-world reward (%yield, publication, etc). I think that’s what maddens me the most.

    (Sorry that this comment is so inarticulate …)

  28. Anon Says:

    First in response to Matt…as a graduate student, I have been using tBuLi repeatedly for the past 3 months, and not had so much as a puff of smoke. I use tBuLi because nBuLi simply does not work for some of the transformations I am doing (I did try), and Grignard reagents are not even an option. You need to be aware and be careful, but it can be done safely.

    Second, I suggest that the whole Sangji incident was not completely lost on the academic community. Many people I have talked to and worked with wear lab coats, citing Sheri’s accident as the reason. Several PIs I know have become more proactive about seeing that students have and actually wear PPE. Certainly, this always should have been the case, but in the examples that I can think of, it was Sheri’s death that sparked the increased awareness, and that interest in lab safety has not diminished, at least in the labs that I have in mind.

  29. Paul Says:

    @Chemjobber: I am honored that someone finds the content on this blog worthy of being stolen.

  30. Anonymous(i.e. Untenured Prof) Says:

    Matt,

    A little off the topic of safety, but I would take issue with the risk vs. reward argument you have been describing. It would seem that you are trying to determine the hazard that is worth accepting as a function of the “real benefits” of a project… how does one determine what the “real benefits” are? Is it simply that this may be a novel anti-cancer drug? What about an inorganic chemist that wants to make a novel coordination complex just to get a nice crystal structure of a previously unknown type of bonding arrangement – not worth the risk? How about if the complex turned out to be a new type of room temperature superconductor… worth it then? I’d be extremely hesitant to start putting a value on the worth of basic research to society. This is what happens every year with shrinking budgets at funding agencies and as scientists we should be more willing to stand up for basic science and research.

    Back on topic however, I do agree that if there are safer routes that also work then there is no reason not to use them.

  31. Matt Says:

    @anon7:43

    You’re back on the topic point, I think, is the one I’m getting at. If there are safer routes, use them. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t make a molecule because we don’t know what it will be good for. Science is science and you have to discover. And we have no real idea if what we are going to make is (in the end) useful or not.
    But, why then, wouldn’t we almost ALWAYS caution to non-hazardous materials. There are an infinite number of different kinds of molecules that can be made. If the only way some professors can think of making these molecules use hazardous materials with small margins of error, then they need to be a little more creative.

  32. Matt Says:

    Sorry to belabor … but part of my point is the following …
    You and I and everyone else reading this blog are probably active chemists. Using tBuLi is an activity that we know to be cautious with and that we need to treat it with respect. But … how does this look to a non-chemist? What they are going to see are PIs who expect their charges to use harsh chemicals. And they are also going to see that the payoff for doing this is very minimal. I don’t expect a lot of forgiveness from the non-chemistry folks out there when bad things happen.

  33. Yavuz Says:

    I suppose Sheri did help a few. For example, we are now overly cautious about any potentially hazardous chemical. I tell my people that I’d rather loose whatever benefit that risky reaction would give us than taking a gamble on our health. I think the chemical companies should be mandated to report the purchase of these kinds of chemicals to the university safety officials so that they can monitor the use and storage of them.

  34. Troggy Says:

    @ Matt et al.

    I would argue that cost/benefit analysis is very difficult to apply to a training exercise (i.e. graduate school). I would also argue that training with pyrophoric materials has great value and should be implemented even at an advanced undergraduate level. Certainly by the time an organic chemist is in the lab, minimally supervised, during a PhD, they should be competent with chemicals like t-BuLi. There are many industrial and “academic” procedures which produce products of great “value” which require a variety of dangerous materials. Everything from polymerizations, to catalyst design, to drug manufacture. Chemistry is an inherently dangerous field, as it does involve close contact with many chemicals. However, the accidental death rate is not especially high, because unlike logging or fisheries (for example), the risks can be well managed, and mostly chemists are well trained.

    The idea that someone would abandon a project because they needed a commodity chemical with well defined hazards and a well established protocol for use, simply because the did not wish to correctly train a student, is abhorrent to me. If tert-BuLi cannot be used safely, it would not, and should not be sold. But it can, and has been used thousands (millions?) of times without incident around the world. It is not an uncommon chemical. If a PI requires it fro a project, and is unable to train a student/lab correctly, he should find/hire someone who can.

    There were many, many things wrong with the Sangji situation, but the use of “hazardous chemicals” is not one of them. I would agree that the use of vinyl-Li, when vinyl-MgBr is commercially available (or easily made), suggests that this project was poorly planned (though there may have been a good reason (e.g. easier purification).

    However, the real issues here are very clearly the lack of appropriate training, safety gear, and supervision, combined with a unsafe working environment.

    If everyone had been properly equipped, trained, and if Miss Sangji had a “spotter” beside her during the reaction, it is certain that this reaction would simply have been another page in her lab notebook. Even if there had been an incident, it would have been a controlled fire, in an empty fumehood, easily controlled by standard procedure. Barely an incident worth filling out a report. Like cars, guns, and all other “dangerous” equipment, the fault lies with the poor policy, training, and attitudes of the people involved.

  35. Andre Says:

    To kind of expand on Troggy’s point: there will always be a “most dangerous” commonly used chemical. If it’s not t-butyl lithium, it will be phenyl lithium, or it will be OsO4, or it will be concentrated nitric acid, or liquid nitrogen.

    Lab heads, whether is industry, academia, or wherever need to understand that workers in their labs may not know all the significant risks associated with chemicals or the proper safety procedures. How many BA or BS chemists have worked with pyrophoric materials? How many can do actual air- or moisture-free transfers? How many are taught proper technique for handling cryogenics and asphyxiants? How many have actually read and comprehended an MSDS?

  36. MS chemist Says:

    Apparently, there are PhD’s that also fit the bill, Andre. Degrees don’t make you any more qualified than anyone else.

  37. Matt Says:

    I’m not really on an anti-hazardous run here. I think dealing with hazardous reagents and determining safe working parameters should be a part of EVERY undergraduate curriculum. The ACS should require it for degree certification and they should play a lead in designing a curriculum. In fact, UCLA should probably be part of that process too. Every undergraduate chemist should know the safe working conditions of some really nasty stuff as well as being able to determine the hazard issues of reactions that they are unfamiliar with.

  38. Rebecca Says:

    I work at a government research lab, where the safety culture is much closer to industry practices. Not long after Sheri’s death, we interviewed an academic department chair for a rather senior management position in our institution. I asked the candidate how the recent events including Sheri’s death and the Texas Tech fire had impacted him personally, and what if any changes he had initiated in his department as a result. While I can’t recall his exact words, his reply was somewhere in the vicinity of “There but for the grace of God…” It seems not to have occurred to him that a Department Chair might have any responsbility for safety leadership.

  39. Andrew Says:

    Can you buy disposable plastic syringes which have “devices” which prevent the plunger being pulled all teh way out?

    Else intuition should say for such reagents it is good to use a syringe way bigger than the volume of solution needed, and in such way the plunger does not get to that risky “end zone” near maximum capacity.

  40. Special Guest Lecturer Says:

    or don’t use a syringe at all – cannula transfer.

  41. Chemjobber Says:

    Many disposable plastic syringes have a little ridge/narrowing that makes it somewhat difficult for the plunger to come out. You can definitely feel the resistance at that point; once you get past that ridge, though, the plunger is much less tightly held.

    I agree that cannula transfer (and doing it safely) is probably the best method. It’s probably a lot more difficult to teach, though.

  42. Andrew Says:

    I have had some incidences with cannula transfers when the springy cannula needle has sprung out of one septum and acted like a flame thrower.

    They are very useful for Grignards (where needle blockages are a pain in the butt), though I am less convinced for *small scale* (one syringe’s worth, say <25-50 ml) of RLi if they are done carefully – i.e. bottle properly clamped with crown cap lid inches away from "receiving" septum inlet.

  43. Curious Wavefunction Says:

    Is there a a series of YouTube videos demonstrating all these important safety techniques? If not, wouldn’t it make sense to have them somewhere online at a single location?

  44. Chemjobber Says:

    If by that you mean “YouTube”, then yes, more or less.

  45. jb Says:

    Sadly, I have to agree that nothing changed after what had happened. We had a safety meeting to discuss the repercussions of that incident as there are new safety guidelines that will be coming. Not being a research prof, I mainly listened to the discussion. The overall concern was how to meet the documentation requirements, and to say everybody did not want to do so is not an exaggeration. Words like “tedious”, “no time”, “how do you expect us to do this?” were what I heard. No mention of how to avoid similar type of incidents.

  46. Shaking off the Jet Lag « Chemical Space Says:

    […] have written over my absence would have been about the Sheri Sangji case, but some sterling work by ChemBark, ChemJobber and, especially, Jyllian Kemsley (surely that should be Chemsley?) covered all bases […]

  47. David Collum Says:

    If it’s any consolation, I think changes have been (and are being) made because of this accident. In the very least, it has elevated lab coats to the status of safety goggles (and rightfully so). I have read all comments on the blogs about this particular case to try to understand different perspectives. Keep chatting, and I’ll keep reading.


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